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The push to digitize the financial industry ultimately comes down to improving the customer experience. If the consumer is happy, they are likely to stay loyal to the company. Today’s customers want a streamlined experience that they can access on the go through their preferred digital devices, which makes it imperative for payments companies to upgrade their technology.
While this process can seem overwhelming, one tool is making it easier than ever to bridge the gap between tech novice and digital innovator. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) function as gateways between technology programs, allowing information to flow between the two. Through APIs, payments companies can leverage third-party solutions and integrate them into their existing platform with ease — no product development is required.
APIs are just the tool, however. The overall goal is to improve the consumer experience. In practice, there are a few key ways that APIs can directly benefit the end-user experience.
Increase Customer Conversion through Engagement
Striking the right balance with customer communication is critical: A positive customer service experience can build loyalty, while a bad one can drive customers away. In fact, Zendesk’s 2020 Customer Experience report found that 80% of consumers would switch to a competitor after more than a single bad experience. One key way to ensure that these interactions go smoothly is to share information internally; 71% of consumers expect companies to collaborate internally so that the purchasing experience is streamlined and effortless, said Zendesk.
An API-optimized omnichannel platform ensures that no information falls through the cracks and that all insights are used to improve service. APIs can connect internal business units and ensure that each team has access to the most recent and relevant information without any need for manual retrieval. This data-sharing is particularly important when consumers are using multiple communication channels, such as SMS, chatbot, and phone calls.
Unlock a Data-Driven Consumer Experience
Customers want a data-driven experience where they feel like the company understands them and they are receiving a personalized experience. Meeting this demand can feel daunting for a company with a large and growing customer base, but it doesn’t need to be with the amount of data available — and the right use of API technology.
Using APIs to share data internally creates a more comprehensive view of the individual customer, as well as a greater understanding of the entire customer base. Aggregating data allows for more advanced analysis, which can be used to personalize offers for customers and offer them at just the right time. It can also help track when customers might be vulnerable to churn.
Accelerate Implementation and Improve Agility
Part of the appeal of APIs is that they require fewer resources than are necessary to develop an entirely digital solution from scratch. Experts at technology providers have already done the design work and optimized their solutions. Financial services are better off leveraging these high-quality programs and devoting resources to their own expert service areas. APIs integrate best-in-class solutions in a flexible way, ensuring that companies can introduce the most relevant solutions at speed.
Faster doesn’t mean riskier, either. APIs are designed to connect one platform to another, reducing the human error associated with manual integration. They can also be added and removed independently, ensuring that there is no dependency created within the larger infrastructure (which can happen with internally built solutions). This way, companies can focus solely on growing their own offering, without fear of technical problems.
Bring Internal Efficiencies to Your Teams
APIs can streamline the customer experience through improved communication and data sharing, so it isn’t surprising they can do the same for internal workflows. Payments companies that undergo a digital transformation are vulnerable to departmental siloing as some teams upgrade and incorporate technology ahead of others. Internal APIs make it possible for business teams to share their materials in an immediate, accessible way.
More internal transparency makes it easier to identify customer pain points and develop solutions that actually work for the end-user. Just as the customer journey involves many touchpoints, most customer solutions require close collaboration between departments in order to succeed. APIs can help close the communication gap and keep teams moving forward together.
APIs: The Master Connector
There’s a reason why so many digital transformation efforts fail: It’s hard to revolutionize a company’s technical framework. Fortunately, APIs can cut out a lot of the hard work in a cost-effective, quick way. Whether incorporating third-party expertise or improving internal communications, APIs make it that much easier to create a superior customer experience.
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