A Guest Editorial
By Vince Vitale
Did you ever think about the implications if “goldenrod” hadn’t been programming binary load lifters and didn’t know a lick of Bocce? It probably would have been a deal breaker for Uncle Owen and those two droids would have never made it into the hands of the galaxy’s original favorite lightsaber-wielding protagonist.
You see, even long ago and far, far away, they understood the importance of having software interface with other software. Think about how convenient it is for the rebels when R2D2 simply interfaces with the Death Star and turns off “all the trash compactors on the detention level.” Nobody knows how he did it. Although I might venture to guess he just pasted some Java Script and boom… it just worked.
From long ago and far, far away, to right here and right now…
In today’s business environment, contact management software must be interactive to be successful. You and the software you use are expected to take your customers’ clients on a personalized journey to enhance their experience ultimately leading to more interactions and sales.
That interaction cannot be limited to one software company’s users; it must also extend to other platforms as well. So, the amount of data your contact center is required to record and process increases every day, and the need for APIs is becoming increasingly prevalent.
An API integration allows connection between two or more applications, via their APIs, and allows those systems to exchange data. The acronym stands for Application Programming Interface.
Application refers to almost any software. Programming is the common language between applications. Interface can be considered a connection agreement between two applications which defines how the two communicate using requests and responses.
It’s important to note however that an API isn’t the same as a user interface, or UI, which is the front-end interface layered on top of software that lets you give applications various commands to get it to do what you want. UIs are what humans use to interact with software; APIs are what machines use.
We know space odysseys aren’t everyone’s cup of adventure tea so let’s think of it in another way, maybe something food related will help. Let’s try imagining a waiter in a restaurant or, better yet, a barkeep in a Pirate Tavern.
The barkeep provides the menu with a description of each item that the sailors can order from. When the sailors specify what menu items they want, the barkeep relays the order to the tavern chef who prepares the items, and then the barkeep retrieves those items and delivers them to the sailors.
The sailors (of course) don’t know how to read or write, so they can’t prepare their own ticket. The barkeep doesn’t know how the chef prepares the food, and she doesn’t really need to because her job is to put the order in and bring it to the customers.
That’s how an API, like Startel CMC with RestAPI works. You basically tell it to interact with other applications, and it does the talking for you. All while keeping the scallywags and bad actors at bay.
Just like the barkeep holding a menu at our pirate tavern, an API lists a bunch of functions that developers can use, along with a description of what they do. The developer doesn’t necessarily need to know how these functions work behind-the-scenes, because the API will figure that out for them.
Check out this video a visual take on this comparison and a more detailed explanation.
You May Already Be Quite Familiar with APIs and Not Even Know It
In this way, APIs enable two software components to communicate with each other using a pre-defined set of definitions and protocols. For example, how does the sports app on your phone know the score of all the big games at the same time?
Well, that sports association’s software system contains data that can be shared directly with that app. The sports app on your phone is connected to hundreds of sports affiliations’ websites and software systems via APIs. Thus, you can see the scores in real-time on your phone.
Why Is an API an Important Feature
Eating out certainly makes dinner easier than sourcing ingredients, cooking them, and cleaning up after yourself. In the same way, it’s much easier for application developers to create apps to display sports scores when real-time data about the game is made available to them through an API.
The proper commands in an API will allow you to instruct any other program you use to view, pull, and update your data. APIs in effect, enable contact center owners to grow their businesses and be more efficient by automating processes to save time and money.
Here Is a Short List of Benefits to Your Call Center
1. Integration: APIs can allow your contact center to easily embed data from many connected websites, software, and application interfaces. API integration can automate and connect contact center processes so that data is constantly updated, and relationships are well maintained while interfaces are closely monitored. Interface integration helps save time accessing valuable organizational data, which can further increase your contact center’s overall productivity.
2. Personalization: Contact centers can use software with an API to personalize and customize their content and services. API tools can use pre-stored visitor data to import consumer details in custom applications and content automatically.
Eighty percent of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that offers personalized experiences. This is something a contact center owner can use when pitching the value of their call answering business. By using API interfaces to personalize your services and content, you can increase your contact center’s overall revenue.
3. Flexibility: As we mentioned, our modern business climate continues to evolve and the amount of data that contact centers are required to manage effectively is increasing exponentially. API network architecture can help consolidate systems to create an effective communication network in which data can easily be shared throughout the organization. API-focused platforms can import and export data so efficiently that it eliminates other software management systems’ need to maintain data records.
4. Automation: Application Programming Interfaces can perform certain repetitive, time-consuming agent processes that would’ve otherwise been performed manually. This reduces the chance of human error and frees up your agents’ valuable time. Eventually, this will consequently improve your contact center’s efficiency, productivity, and profit.
Contact Centers Are Covered with Startel CMC RestAPI
The Startel CMC RestAPI allows custom designed software to request information directly and in real time from your CMC database. Startel’s CMC RestAPI allows you or your customer to create custom applications to meet specialized needs.
Do your customers want to automate pulling information into their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software? Do you want to have your own reporting tools, designed by you and your staff? Do you have great ideas for a mobile app for your business? This tool is the first step toward all of that.
Use the CMC RestAPI to customize dashboards that suit your site’s specific needs, develop web-based applications for analyzing and monitoring staffing levels, and build your own tools for managing on-call calendars.
Improved Agent Efficiencies
Startel’s CMC RESTful APIs can improve your agent efficiencies by taking the data they collect and automatically synchronizing it into other applications for the client rather than training your agent on new software so they can manually re-enter that information.
Agents no longer have to make a bunch of quick decisions in real-time to ensure individual messages end up where they should be, RESTful APIs allow system administrators and client account programmers to make deliberate, focused decisions to redirect the flow of data en masse according to the client’s request.
Startel’s API is integrated with Zapier. Zapier empowers you to automate your work across 5,000 plus apps so you can move forward, faster. Zapier allows you to create from one to one hundred step automated workflows. It’s a Do-It-Yourself solution that does not require expensive development with programmers.
Startel Contact Center Solutions That Bring Happiness to Your Customers
Startel Contact Center Solutions use smarter technology, stronger partners, and expert guidance to bring your contact center’s production and customer satisfaction to the next level.
Since its founding in 1980, Startel has established a loyal customer base from a variety of industries, including contact centers, education, government, healthcare, insurance, telephone answering service and utilities.
Today, Startel has customers in forty-three states across the United States as well as Canada, Central America, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
Vince Vitale is the director of marketing for Startel. Startel customers depend on Startel’s solutions and services to increase business efficiencies, identify performance opportunities, and deliver quick, secure, and accurate communication 24/7 x 365. For more information give them a call at 800-STARTEL or schedule a demo of the Startel CMC.