Picking The Best Voice API Provider
As companies seek to integrate voice APIs into their marketing and communication strategies, they are faced with a critical choice: which voice API provider to sign up with. There are many difference voice API providers, the majority of which offer the same basic features. But the best voice API providers will go beyond baseline packages.
What To Look For When Choosing a Voice API Provider
When researching which voice API solution will be the best fit for your company, a good rule of thumb is to look for a company that can not only meet your current needs, but also exceed them— and be able to meet your future needs as you grow. But what are the markers of this? What should you look for in a provider?
Obviously, you can’t connect with customers if your messages aren’t even delivered. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to ask about message delivery rates, uptime guarantees, and delivery speeds. Ask how the company ensures messages are delivered on time, the first time and what protocols are in place in case of undeliverable messages.
Scalability and Ease of Use
Scalability refers to a company’s ability to grow with you. A voice API business should be able to offer you new features and upgraded abilities as your company expands and builds its customer base. Without this ability, your company will be stunted as a result of the API provider’s stagnation.
Integration with Your Website, Application, or CRM
Ask how easy it is to integrate a provider’s voice API with your website, application, or CRM. Other questions include who will have to perform the integration, how long integrations typically take, and what customer support is available in case integration issues arise.
Voice API companies that stand behind their service should be more than willing to provide demos and free trials. Free trials are the most reliable method to see how an API works in real time and if it will be able to meet your company’s needs. If a company does not offer a free trial, it’s best to err on the side of caution and move on.
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Companies should seek to strike a careful balance between an API that has too few features and an API that has too many features. The former will limit campaign flexibility and ability to gauge success; the latter will result in higher prices for features that look good, but which are never actually used.
Ask for a list of included features. Press 1 voice campaigns, multichannel communication, interactive voice response, answering machine detection, and text-to-speech are common and useful features. But you should also pay attention to specific features that would benefit your business, such as call quality monitoring, two-party connection, or SIP trunking.
Security is important to the majority of industries, but it’s absolutely necessary for companies that deal with sensitive information, such as financial, medical, or personal identifying information. If your data and communications aren’t secure, it can cause a huge breach of trust with your customers and negatively impact your image.
The more information you can get from a company about this topic, the better. Ask about where data is stored, what security measures are in place, what fail-safes are prepared, and existing communication protocols in case of a security breach.
Analytics and Reporting
Analytics and reporting are necessary in order to gauge the success of your past and current voice campaigns. Without these, you won’t be able to tell how effective your campaigns are, what their return on value is, and which ones need to be either tweaked or retired.
Besides being an indicator of campaign success, analytics ad reporting can also be useful for learning more about your customer base and the various demographics therein. As you learn more about your customers and what they respond to, you can better target your campaigns in order to maximize value for both your company and your consumers.
Adherence to Best Practices
Every reputable company should adhere to industry best practices are set by agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Research applicable best practices and ask providers if they adhere to them and, if so, to what extent. Companies who do not follow best practices should be avoided, as this can result in accidental violations of rules or regulations, which can in turn lead to account suspensions, customer complaints, or even fines.
The best API providers are transparent about their pricing. You shouldn’t have to sign up or sign a contract in order to learn what the service will cost. Ask about transactional costs (per outbound call or per phone number) and volume-based pricing. If necessary, you can also ask about custom quotes. Additionally, make sure to ask about whether these prices are based on domestic coverage or if they include international coverage.
Customer and Technical Support
Customer and technical support are a central part of voice API services. All API providers will offer basic customer support during business hours, but the best provider will offer 24/7 emergency support. Ask about average response times, troubleshooting abilities, available documentation, and contact methods. Err towards providers that have multiple ways to contact them, such as via live chat, phone, and email.
A company’s reputation is one of the easiest ways to learn about them without having to make direct contact, and is perhaps the most objective evaluation method. Look up reviews on sites like Google, Capterra, Facebook, and GetApp (just to name a few). Remember that, in this case, quantity can be just as important as quality. A company that has a four-star rating based on dozens of reviews will likely serve you better than a company with a five-star rating based on only a handful of reviews. (Of course, a company with a five-star rating based on dozens or hundreds of reviews is even better.)