We’ve all been there. Sitting at our workspace, wondering why all these programs we’re working with can’t work together. According to Kyle Holmes, CEO of Matrix Networks, the average employee in the US uses at least eight different applications in their day-to-day tasks. Small companies average around 40 apps to conduct business while larger companies can range in the hundreds. So many apps create a lot of touchpoints for information gathering, and workplace efficiency is threatened by lagging databases and challenging security risks.
What are APIs?
Enter the API (or Application Programming Interface). Developed in the early 2000s, APIs are a programmatic way to interface with an application and can help to integrate all the different platforms and products a company provides to enable their seamless functionality. For example, if a customer places an order via an online portal, that order is entered into one program, which opens a ticket for the customer. The ticket must then pass to distribution, accounting, and delivery – all typically using different applications, until the customer receives the product and the ticket is closed. A customized API would integrate these apps to work together for the ease and efficiency of not only the customer but the company employees as well. No more headaches, lost data, or wasted time!
What do APIs do?
According to Jeremy Ness, CTO at Matrix Networks, there are four main functions for APIs:
- GET: APIs will retrieve information from an application
- PUT: APIs will replace all existing data related to a resource
- POST: APIs will send data to create or update a resource
- DELETE: APIs will remove data in an existing record
These functions can be customized to meet the needs of individual clients with a specific suite of software, and APIs can automate many of the more menial tasks in a worker’s day. They can identify the needs of the customer, direct queries to the appropriate agents, follow-up with updates to a work order, and communicate important details to all parties involved.
Revolutionizing Communications with APIs
APIs can be critical to a company’s success in the digital age. Companies employ APIs to increase efficiency, to boost their competitive advantage, to “future-proof” their business to adapt quickly to changing business conditions, and for the digital transformation of their brand. A unified communications platform can allow companies to more easily innovate their business operations and can a more customer-friendly experience. That experience is more important than ever, according to Mike Stowe, Director and Developer Marketing for RingCentral, who states that 55% of customers will opt out of your communications if they are not convenient for them – a huge number not to be taken lightly! Additionally, 60% of customers will more favorably view a company if they offer texting as a customer service channel. But how can that texting service be integrated with phone, email, and web-based communications portals? APIs, of course.
Stowe uses the example of 24 Hour Tees to demonstrate the benefits of implementing APIs in the workplace. This small company of only 6 employees wanted to compete with the largest companies out there and asked for help from RingCentral, who developed an SMS chat bot for easier communications with the clientele. In this case, if a customer wanted to reorder some t-shirts they had ordered before (imagine a youth soccer club reordering for the next season), they could use the SMS chat bot – “Can you send me 25 more tees?” The API would recognize the number of the client and send the request directly to the correct department. After this function, it would then send a message back to the customer via SMS stating that the order had been approved.
If the customer wanted to check the status of the order, they could text, “Where are my shirts?” and the chat bot would do the work of checking the system, finding the order, getting the tracking number, checking with the shipping company, and notifying the customer of the order details. And all of this is done automatically, dramatically decreasing the need for employees to task themselves with these details. Such use of APIs integrate all a company’s services to improve the customer experience and saves a lot of time and money. Even small business can now maintain 24-hour support with little work.
What can Matrix Networks offer?
At Matrix, we believe that the disruptive power of APIs can transform a business to meet the demands of today’s customers who want a convenient, easy, and seamless experience. Fully customizable APIs can be programmed to meet the needs of any company, from large to small, megastore to mom-and-pop, and we are committed to work closely with our clients to provide a service that will help them compete in the new digital economy.
Endless API Possibilities in its entirety featured at Tech MiXer VIII:
Author: Matrix Networks