APIs: Making Customer Engagement Easier than Ever

Experience

APIs: Making Customer Engagement Easier than Ever

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  August 25, 2016

When Ytel recently launched its message360° API that would allow the integration of voice, text, email, and even direct main communication into any web-based applications, it did so with the intent of not only increasing opportunities for its customers but, frankly, to also make its own developers’ lives easier.

Having its own SIP infrastructure, Ytel had been receiving an increasing number of requests for custom dialing, SMS, and other add-ons from its contact center customers and, to help facilitate the development of those custom features, created an API its developers could leverage to make their work easier and more efficient.

However, as requests increase, the burden on developers grows, even with the API. These custom one-off projects, however, take their toll and quickly begin weighing down a development team, acknowledged Ytel CTO Matt Grofsky, when I spoke with him at the All About the API conference. The result was a need to make decisions on which projects to take on and which to discard – and no vendor wants to tell its customers no.

So, having created this API to help its developers become more agile, the next logical step was to release what is now message360° to customers so its customers can build many of these integrations on their own, more quickly, and cost effectively than if they engaged the Ytel development team. As for Ytel, it frees its internal team to work on broader projects that are less specialized and can be rolled out to its entire customer base.

“The API infrastructure allows our developers to build new features, but it also allows clients to hook into the platform to complete many of those one-off projects on their own,” explained Grofsky. “It’s been growing, and people are latching on more and more.”

For Ytel and its customers, that really delivers the best of both worlds: Each is able to innovate with new features and applications, but more efficiently. Instead of an expensive per-hour cost for Ytel’s professional services group, message360° uses a transaction model.

Drips.com, for instance, which is one of the early message360° adopters, was seeking a platform that would deliver both the technology and support to power its marketing platform. Ytel’s API has allowed it to leverage multiple forms of communications within the Drips.com environment as needed.

“If Drips.com is the perfect Drip marketing machine gun, message360° undoubtedly provides the bullets,” said AC Evans, Drips.com CEO. “When Drips.com sends out follow-up attempts (Drips) to our customer’s leads, those text messages, phone calls, emails, etc. are all coming from message360°. We choose our targets, aim, pull the trigger, and message360° fires.”

The open message360° API allowed Drips.com developers to control which forms of communication they leverage within their services, which Grofsky said is a key to the rapid adoption of the platform in a service-centric global IT environment. It also takes off the so-called blinders that vendors tend to wear, because customers are able to create services and applications that are way outside the box, but allow them to differentiate in ways that provide strategic advantage.

Ytel’s open message360° API, combined with its established SIP infrastructure and voice capabilities (Ytel is also a registered telco) and ongoing personalized support provide a combination of self- and vendor-delivered service that allows customers to maximize how they are able to build communications into their websites.

“The economy is changing from a service industry to a very IT and programming-centric world where a customer may not understand how a SIP network works, for instance,” he said. “But, they do understand APIs, which is why it’s important for your APIs to be open, so you can maximize how customers are able to leverage them; you don’t want to force people into doing very limited things in limited ways.”




Edited by Alicia Young
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