Software developers know all about APIs. But for many business leaders and decision makers, defining what an API is might be helpful. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other. This post focuses on texting APIs.
How does a texting API work?
An API is the “messenger” that delivers your request from the website or app you’re using to the provider’s website or app you’re requesting information from. It then delivers that response back to you—immediately. It allows a developer to make repetitive yet complex processes reusable by creating a small amount of code to bridge the gap between a company’s software and the texting API.
A texting API, also known as an SMS API, is used when the purpose of an interaction between two parties is to send and receive SMS text messages. It’s a software integration interface that enables code to send short messages through an SMS API platform.
Zipwhip’s programmable SMS API helps companies add robust, scalable messaging capabilities to their everyday business applications. A text message API lets users send and receive SMS messages and track the delivery of sent messages. An SMS API also provides faster deliverability. The average throughput rate for sending texts without an API is about 25 messages per second. When using an API, businesses can send hundreds of thousands of texts within a couple of minutes.
Using an API means less work for developers
When developers create code, they usually don’t start from scratch. Using an API allows them to build a personalized channel for sending and receiving text messages to and from customers without having to build an entire texting platform from the ground up.
Prior to a full-scale deployment, it’s common for developers to test an organization’s functionality by securing access to a free SMS API. Some providers may offer free access automatically while others require a request for the free SMS API through the sales team. Regardless, a free SMS API is a great way to ensure an organization provides the necessary functionality and developer documentation that is required for future success.
8 common ways to use a text message API
The following use cases highlight three key benefits of using an SMS API to send messages: speed, automation and scalability. Businesses can reach more customers quickly, automatically and at a scale that is far greater than if they sent texts without using an API.
Send notifications such as account changes, transportation dispatches, delivery status updates and billing notices. Customers appreciate being notified when there are changes to their account, a package will be arriving, or a bill is due.
2. Reminders and confirmations
Send appointment confirmations and reminders to decrease missed appointments, which can be costly for a business in terms of lost revenue and lead to a productivity gap when a customer doesn’t show up. Prescription refill reminders are also a popular use case as are billing reminders, so customers don’t miss a payment and incur late fees or experience a disruption in their service.
Send information and emergency alerts to staff and/or customers. Sending a text alert about a change in a transportation schedule or an alert that severe weather is expected allows people to better prepare. Banks often quickly send alerts to customers when a large amount has been withdrawn from their account to ensure the transaction was indeed performed by the account holder.
4. Conversational messaging
Give employees the ability to send, receive and manage full-featured text conversations with customers or fellow employees right from the business application they’re already using. With an SMS API, there’s no need to change software programs in order to send texts.
5. Two-factor authentication
Send two-factor authentication (2FA) for security login or password resets. Verify a customer’s information and identity and enable logins without using a password. It adds a layer of security with a one-time PIN code verification sent over SMS to their personal device.
Sync text messages to your CRM for compliance, legal and customer services purposes. An API is ideal for developing custom needs such as syncing contacts between text messages and a CRM and syncing conversations within a data warehouse for regulatory requirements.
7. Lead generation
Provide customers with the option to text or call your business on the same number using a text message API. By offering texting as a fast, easy and convenient way to reach your business or your customers, you’re able to capture leads easily.
Spread the word about upcoming sales or offer your most loyal customers a special discount. Send the right customers the right message at the most opportune time with promotions and ads delivered to the native texting app already on their phones. With social distancing measures in place, many stores are using texts to let customers know about their BOPUS (buy online, pick up in-store) opportunities.
Communicate with customers on a mass scale with two-way messaging
A text message API allows businesses to communicate with customers on a mass scale. And with two-way, conversational texting, a company can send text messages to a large group of customers while still being able to respond directly, one-on-one, if a customer needs personal attention.
Automated replies are still an option, but if a customer sends a text that requires human interaction, an employee can quickly step in and help, giving the customer a better experience.
Reaching out to large numbers of customers at one time using a text message API allows companies to better utilize human resources. Eliminating the need for employees to handle recurring daily tasks such as scheduling and confirming appointments or sending reminders and notifications gives them time to focus on more important objectives such as strengthening customer relationships and attracting new business opportunities.
Customers want to be able to text with businesses, and it’s quickly becoming the way they prefer to connect with the brands they trust. Our 2020 State of Texting report showed that service-based companies have tremendous success when using texting to connect with customers, particularly when scheduling appointments and sending confirmations and reminders.
Sending short text messages at the right time greatly reduces late cancellations, missed appointments and no-shows which can be quite costly, especially for small businesses. The report also breaks down the latest societal trends in communication preferences.
Send programmatic texts quickly and easily to save time and money
Text message APIs are being embraced by more and more businesses to accelerate multi-channel strategies, improve internal processes, and build consistent, cross-channel customer experiences. An API can be used by any programming language that supports sending HTTPS requests.
An SMS API is especially useful for sending programmatic messages—meaning messages that are scheduled in advance rather than sent in response to an incoming text. An added benefit is that companies can use their existing branded business number. There’s no need to acquire a new phone number or rent short codes to get your message directly into the hands of customers.
Delivering speed, security and reliability with an SMS API
Texting for Business™ is the fast, easy and convenient way to engage with customers. And developers can get up and running quickly with our easy-to-understand API Documentation.
Zipwhip’s direct network connectivity, intuitive cloud-based software and an enterprise-grade API mean businesses can use any computer or mobile device to securely and reliably reach their customers, every time.
Additional benefits of using an SMS API
There are a lot of considerations that go into determining if a texting API is right for your business. For information on business texting software from a ROI perspective, read how developers can integrate texting business software to increase team productivity.
You may also be interested in these additional benefits:
Equip your businesses’ existing phone number with texting almost instantaneously.
Our platform is the backbone for high-volume, commercial SMS, which means unmatched delivery speed and message integrity.
Per message pricing
A scaled pricing model based on the projected number of messages sent and received monthly.
Quick and easy to use
Implement APIs quickly with our extensive and easy-to-understand developer documentation.
By using a texting API, standalone software or combining the two, you can merge Zipwhip’s business texting features into the tools your company already uses. We integrate with leading software applications to make department workflow more efficient. For more details, visit our API page.
And, when you’re ready to start developing a business texting strategy for your business, download our free e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers.
The comprehensive guide is filled with lots of valuable information, including:
- What to look for when evaluating business-texting services
- Best practices for TCPA compliance in texting
- Texting etiquette tips for your team
- How to market your new texting capability to customers