The ability of a company to make, receive, and monitor calls can make or break their customer interaction, which ultimately affects their ability to do business. Attempting to do this manually works for only the smallest of companies and it is not reliable even then. The alternative is to use a voice API(Opens in a new browser tab) to do all this for you. Voice API is one of the many available programmable communications APIs available. More control over your calling system gets achieved by a developer implementing Programmable Voice, and if your company has not done that, your company is missing out. Voice API has played a key role in many companies’ notable transformational projects, which leads to them becoming leaders in their field.
What Is Programmable Voice?
Programmable Voice refers to a company using a voice API to manage their incoming and outgoing telecommunications. A voice API takes an existing piece of software, such as a CRM system, and gives it the ability to make, accept, and monitor enhanced communications. It then allows the app to connect to the business’s own carrier network, allowing it to carry out a variety of functions, including:
- Queuing of inbound calls.
- Recording of calls, both inbound and outbound.
- Create audio conferencing call sessions in-app.
- Easy to change the outgoing number.
- It allows a customer to use speech to navigate the menu.
With a few lines of code and an SDK or software development kit, a developer can use voice API to control the service delivered by the telecommunications provider, in a way that no alternative can.
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What Can Programmable Voice Do For Your Company?
Voice APIs allow a business’s CRM or similar workplace applications to use voice communications, along with the other features addressed above. Though they all sound useful, it can help to understand what voice API can do for you.
Optimizing A Call Center Based Business
A call center most likely has a system in place to ensure the business runs as intended. However, there is always room for improvement, and that improvement can come with voice API. A CRM with voice API embedded leads to a communication solution that is scalable and easy to use. Additional call agents, outbound call numbers, call flow management, and more can all get added with minimal effort.
Implementation Of Unified Communications
A business that uses voice API can benefit from the implementation of Unified Communications, whether that communication is internal between employees or external with a customer. Phone calls, SMS messaging, instant messaging, and many other forms of communication methods, become unified. All of this can get done through a single platform, making the service much more cost-effective.
Analytics Can Only Improve A Business
Voice API allows a developer to implement analytical software, which gives a business owner a perspective that is otherwise difficult to see. How are customers finding your business? How many of these calls lead to sales? Which sales team has the best results? What area code accompanies most of the inbound calls? All these questions and more can get answered through the use of real-time analytics implemented via voice API, leading to an optimized marketing campaign, leading to a more successful business.
Conversational AI – Improving Customer Interaction
A smaller company might not always have a sales representative on hand to answer incoming calls and that is where a conversation AI comes into play. Voice API can allow a business to implement a conversational AI to assist with incoming calls via speech recognition. Purchasing of products, customer support, and appointment prompts are just some things that a conversational AI can relay to customers, leaving an actual human being to deal with more pressing matters. Some API providers refer to this function as IVR or Interactive Voice Response. One such example of a system in action is Apple’s Siri.
Twilio Vs. Vonage
Two of the most popular voice API systems come from Twilio and Vonage. Both services appear to be similar on the surface, though a company would do well to understand the differences, to ensure they get the service for them. With that said, the following information is what customers of both had to say about the respective companies.
Vonage’s APIs are more suitable for smaller to medium-sized businesses. The API allows companies to eliminate physical phones if they so wish, allowing them to implement softphones. However, the API still works with VOIP phones if needed and mobiles through their app. The Vonage API platform also comes with a customizable computer application that can deliver notifications, even with the app minimalized. That same Vonage API allows a variety of additional extras to get added on a whim including:
- Voice call tracking to assist with lead generation and marketing campaigns.
- Implementation of IVR or Interactive Voice Response to incoming calls, including marketing messages or other types of messages.
- The ability to implement phone number validation to help distinguish mobile numbers from landline numbers, which allows a company to keep within the TCPA(Opens in a new browser tab) guidelines.
- The API can perform call transcriptions, taking an audio message and putting it into text, thus making it easier to analyze.
Unfortunately, the service of Vonage’s platform requires the Internet at all times with no option for alternative trunking. There have also been reports of connectivity issues, though not often. However, if a business was to make use of Vonage’s APIs, it is not just a voice API on offer. There is Vonage’s video APIs, along with instant messaging, SMS messaging, APIs, and more.
Twilio’s service is similar to Vonage’s though their service is more well-rounded, to companies no matter the size of the business, hence why some big names use their services. However, their IVR service is somewhat lacking. Where Twilio excels is in the quality of calls carried out via the API and service stability. Twilio Programmable Voice very rarely suffers service outages and the quality of the calls has often seen comparisons to that of a landline call. Twilio has also gained a reputation for being easy to implement and comes with cross-compatibility on a variety of devices. Twilio’s app, Twilio Studio, also allows a business owner to drag and drop features with no need to know any form of coding.
Unfortunately, that is also where Twilio falters. The Twilio Studio that brings that additional customization is relatively expensive, with the free alternative lacking in features. There is also criticism that application support from the business is not as strong as it could be. Twilio is great at fixing issues when they arise, but it is challenging for a consumer to fix their own problems, even with knowledge on how such applications work.
Programmable Voice In Action
Programmable Voice can help businesses in a variety of industries, with one example that business owners and consumers alike can connect with being the health care industry. Insung Information chooses Vonage as the provider for their healthcare solutions, though many other providers support telemedicine services. A voice API can provide a variety of telehealth services including:
- Connecting with an Android or Apple iOS app via mobile devices offers medical results for consumers, saving on waiting times in the medical office.
- The same app, with the right programming, can get used for scheduling appointments and organizing refills of prescriptions, again streamlining the operating of medical services.
- Allowing consumers to log dietary habits, current medication, and blood sugar levels for a medical professional to review.
These are just some examples, though there are many more with the customizability of Programmable Voice. Telehealth solutions make healthcare accessible to those who can’t get to physical healthcare facilities, whether due to living in a rural location or an inability to travel.
However, a voice API app on a device does not just benefit consumers, but medical staff as well. To be a leading healthcare solutions firm, the medical team needs to be able to communicate(Opens in a new browser tab) across whole departments if necessary and this is made easier via Programmable Voice. Technology has brought improvements to many sectors and the innovative communication experience provided to healthcare via voice API is no different. The fact that telehealth technology is still relatively new means it can only improve.
The two companies addressed above, Twillio and Vonage, are both great providers of Programmable Voice solutions. However, if voice API doesn’t quite suit a business’s needs just yet, then a great, more affordable alternative comes in the form of webrtc video solutions.