Adding Texting Functionality to a CRM: Is it Better to Buy or DIY?

A young business man looks at whiteboard while thinking

Zipwhip spent millions creating Texting for Business software with advanced features so that you don’t have to.

Before you spend time (and money) programming text messages and automation features into your software from scratch, ask yourself this question: should I build off an API and do it myself, or buy an API and software platform to integrate programmatic and two-way texting?

Raine Bergstrom, Zipwhip’s senior vice president of product, is here to help you determine the best API development path for your business.

In this video, he talks about:

  • How texting offers value to customers (and potential profit for businesses)
  • How an independent software vendor can start small and then scale up our API
  • What developers should consider when thinking about the future of texting

Click play to watch this episode of ZipTV (and see Raine rock a cowboy hat) below!

Video Transcript:

Keith: I need to get you with the hat on.

Raine: Ok…

Keith: Yeah.

Keith: Hello, and welcome to another episode of ZipTV. I’m Keith and with me today is one of our resident Textperts.

Raine: I am Raine.

Keith: if you’re a CRM of workflow vendor, you’re probably thinking about adding texting functionality. Can a company actually build that on their own?

Raine: We’ve done it at Zipwhip.

Keith: Yeah.

Raine: (Laughs) And we spent millions of dollars doing it. What we found is a lot of the CRM and workflow vendors, they come in just thinking about one-way blast messaging, which there is value in that—

Keith: Yeah.

Raine: But invariably their customers want to have a conversation. Three out of four customers are frustrated when they can’t respond back. And 60% of people have tried to text back somebody who called them, but they couldn’t take the call right then. So, that whole conversational side of texting, that’s where Zipwhip really excels.

Keith: What are a couple examples of the ways that customers are wanting to do conversational texting?

Raine: Oh, there’s a million of them. There is the couch delivery. Your couch is going to be there at 2 o’clock and you’re saying, “I’m going to be 30 minutes late,” right? You need to let them know that.

We have a lot of sports teams that work with selling VIP tickets and they want to blast something out to a bunch of people saying, “We have courtside seats,” and now they can just respond saying, “I’ll take two.”

Keith: So, Raine, what’s the development path that you generally recommend for this?

Raine: Zipwhip does have this full solution, continuum solution. We’ve made it very simple. Obviously, to you know the APIs to begin with, are just sending and receiving.

But we’ve taken a lot of time to build this embeddable widget that can be put into any software product with just a few lines of code and then that can actually be launched out into our full software suite.

Keith: Let’s talk about the costs for an ISV.

Raine: Sending text messages does cost money. When you’re adding a little bit of value blasting out a text message it’s hard for you to charge that to your end customer. But once you start adding more value around conversational texting, and your customer starts seeing the value of them talking to their customers, you can charge for that.

And so, you can – when you embed it – you can have an add-on fee. Or you can actually start reselling Zipwhip and make a lot more money when people want to have that full conversational experience.

Keith: Interesting. So, we’re talking about actually— instead of paying money—you’re actually making money from the texting endeavor.

Raine: Exactly.

Keith: Okay, summarize this for me, Raine. Why would an ISV buy versus DIY?

Raine: They’d buy because in the end, if you believe that your customers want to talk to their consumers via text, it’s very complex to have that conversational texting.

And so, however, we also know that a lot of vendors want to start small. And so, we do allow them to DIY and build some things with our API in the beginning. But then we make it very easy to embed the conversational texting into their software.

So, we provide both. You can DIY and upgrade into our buy solution with our software, and other vendors don’t provide that.

Keith: Looking out five to 10 years, what other things should developers be thinking about?

Raine: At Zipwhip, what we’re thinking about is the future of texting. So payments, Apple Business Chat, Google’s RCS, these are all much richer forms of communication and we’re building that into our software—and we’ll be providing that value to our developers, as well.

Keith: And where should people go to find out more, Raine?

Raine: Zipwhip.com. The link is right here.

Further Reading:

Raine mentioned that three out of four customers report frustration when they can’t respond to an automated text. A good user experience is key to customer satisfaction, and their shifting preferences will determine whether they respond to a company’s message. Take a look at some consumer texting trends in our 2019 State of Texting Report.

Are you a developer? Check out how you can integrate a Texting for Business software and API to boost your team’s productivity.

Pairing Zipwhip’s software with the API can be a serious advantage for businesses that require a high throughput for messages, but still need to track communications for compliance, legal and customer service reasons. Insurance carriers, for example, could use Texting for Business software and an API to help claims adjusters follow up on outstanding claims and send an automated payment notification through their CRM. All from the same number, and all synced across platforms.

At the end of the day, we’re here to help you connect to your customers. That’s why we made sure to have options that you can tailor to fit your needs and your strategy.

You can build off our API or bundle it with Zipwhip’s software

So, whether you’re just looking to integrate high throughput, programmatic text messages or you want to include conversational, two-way A2P texting–we’ve got you covered!

Check out our API page for more information, including a comparison list of features, developer documentation and pricing.

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