Can APIs for Voice (over cloud) Replace IVR?

twilio-logoBy Farah Shah

In Focus: Twilio

Interactive Voice Response System is not a new phenomenon in the corporate world. Although it works primarily on Dual Tone Multi Frequency technology and has changed little over the years, it’s been cashed on quite aggressively by many businesses to offer an enhanced contact center experience. With ‘cloud technology’ revolutionizing the way a business is conducted today, a growth of different APIs’ (Application Programming Interfaces) is already hinting at the future of Customer Relationship Management.

With APIs for Skype, Twilio and Jaduka that make web-integrated communications for business purposes only more convenient, widely accessible, it is quite sensible to ask whether IVR be able to survive the next few years, or will it lose out to better technology innovations of Voice APIs over cloud.

IVR vs. Voice APIs

Businesses have been utilizing IVR technology for quiet some time to improve their customer service levels. Whilst it brings down the cost of hiring quality HR exponentially, it also reinforces the plight of self-service.

With the recent innovation of cloud-based APIs, it has become quiet feasible to integrate different services into a single application. With many businesses shifted on cloud these days, APIs facilitated telephony has emerged. Due to all this, it would be fair to reason how long will it take APIs for Voice (over the cloud) to overtake IVR? Let’s take a look at how Twilio is facilitating the same.

Twilio API

There is emerging trend of voice APIs in the market to better deliver the customer service requirements of a company. Among them 3NGNetworks API, Jaduka API, Skype API, Tropo API and Twilio API have emerged as prominent players. Before we can take on how Twilio API works, we should see why the voice communication applications have become the need of time. With an in creasing number of customers leading to a larger level of business growth, an even quicker customer service tailored to the ‘individual’ customer needs is a given.

With the simple IVR technology, a company can collect the feedback with immediacy. But screening out the same and then designing a customer retention strategy from it, was often challenging. For this purpose, businesses were dependent on their customer service team which might not be large enough to quickly assimilate the entire result. Therefore, it became essential to find a way to minimize the gap between customers’ feedback and the business response.

In order to address this, various voice APIs’ were developed that were outsourced by different vendors. These companies collect the voice responses over the telephone or SMS and then translate these into a company’s web application. Twilio is one such name that provides SMS and telephone API to different businesses to make their customer service system more effective.

How does Twilio work? Let suppose a company has hired Twilio for its customer support system. Twilio will receive the call from its customers on a simple hosted API from which it will convert the same into a markup language and transfer it to the client company. After it will generate certain voice and SMS applications from the data received. This will make possible the integration of voice calls into web applications in the Twilio cloud. Since twilio is a community of web developers, it will proceed accordingly to the response generated by an enterprise’s web app system. This will make development of nearly real voice APIs for customer service with a feasible cost, in order to solve the critical business needs.

Since IVR Technology is changing in the recent times with the introduction of more speech recognition technology, it still will be less competent critically to address all the responses in adequate time.

With the effective use of web applications and different APIs over cloud, businesses can reduce a lot of their business cost and gain valuable insight into the customer experience. The process of outsourcing has multiplied with the cloud technologies, and if we look at the developed world, it has generated great benefits.

Even though, our local businesses will take some time to shift to cloud APIs, it has generated great benefits both for the customers and businesses worldwide. With Skype is at present a front contender with Public APIs to suffice business use, we expect Twilio and others to follow suit. To stay competitive today, customer service has to be above par. That is where APIs provide a cost-effective and service-effective option.

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