The popularity of chat APIs has risen in recent years. An API is a system of tools that allows you to create software applications. With chat APIs, developers can integrate chat features and server infrastructure into their apps. Companies make use of this technology to help engage with customers during a sales process. Moreover, the most popular chat APIs enable organizations to provide real-time customer support, thus allowing them to bring overall customer-centricity and service to a new level.
If you are reading this, you likely are an app developer or a business that is considering integrating a chat API. Doing this can help open up many business opportunities. However, there are also some pitfalls you need to be aware of before you decide to add a chat API to your application. If you are still in doubt about whether a chat API makes sense for your business, this article provides a brief overview of all advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Chat APIs
Chat APIs unlock many appealing business opportunities especially if you use a communications platform as a service. Such platforms offer turnkey communications capabilities that programmers can add to their software without the need for additional backend infrastructure or expensive hardware. Here we list the main benefits of integrating with a chat API.
Source: Wells Fargo
Chat APIs help engage and retain customers
Your application may already have a large audience and drive great results. However, chat APIs can multiply positive outcomes for your business. It's been shown that mobile applications with in-app chat features perform much better and positively affect the user's view of the business. Thanks to the almost instant support that they receive via a live chat, users feel like their opinions, feedback, and report of issues matter to the company. Also, the opportunity to air their thoughts to other users makes an app a great channel of communication that has become particularly precious during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
They enable you to provide real-time support
As mentioned above, chat APIs allow developers to integrate live-chat features into a mobile application and enable businesses to offer real-time support to users. This approach benefits both the company and the user, improving communication between them. It enables a mobile app owner to stay tuned to user needs and act on the reported issues immediately, delivering a higher-quality customer experience and support. On the other hand, users have a chance to connect to your staff easily, contribute to the development of a better product, and feel that their input is evaluated. The image below shows an example of how Mastercard has used a chat API to deliver real-time support.
Chat APIs are easy to install
There is a myth that chat APIs are difficult to install. However, it's far from the truth in reality. The best in-app chat API providers offer customers the opportunity to integrate messaging features into an application easily on their own or require a little fee to help them unlock all features. If you are dealing with a provider with exemplary technical support service, installing a chat API will be a breeze.
Customizable for your needs and branding
Every company is unique and requires customization of chat API features to fit its own branding and needs. Fortunately, many chat APIs offer a number of customizable features to meet your specific mobile app requirements, business needs, and design. A brand can set its own theme and look extraordinary and outstanding to the end-user.
Furthermore, if you plan to use live chat, you can incorporate file or link sending features. It will allow your support team to direct users to relevant help articles in a knowledge base on your website. It will improve the quality of customer service, ease the support team's effort, and can help drive website traffic.
They drive sales and grow revenue
You are likely monetizing or would like to monetize your mobile application in the future. Chat APIs play a crucial role in this, and here is why. Even if your primary plan is to make revenue using ads, a chat feature increases the chances of earning even more. Real-time support and in-app communication allow you to retain more users around your business which often means making more sales and revenue.
Chat APIs allow developers to create in-app communications flows where users can ask questions about products and services in real-time and get prompt responses. Here is a great example of how Pizza Hut has implemented it.
Cons of Chat APIs
While the benefits of Chat APIs are numerous and not limited to only those above, there are some disadvantages you should be aware of as well.
Chat APIs require additional costs
Of course, integrating Chat APIs requires additional costs and you need to take those into account when planning a budget. However, before you make a final decision, consider that chat APIs can help you save a lot of time in the future. By integrating a live chat using chat API, you can provide faster replies to customers, which can positively affect customer satisfaction, sales, and business performance in general.
Some APIs are Platform restricted
When choosing APIs keep in mind that some of them are platform restricted. If you plan to launch a mobile application on several platforms simultaneously, you need to make sure that the API that you have selected allows you to do so. You should also take time to confirm that whichever API you choose enables you to build chat features on other platforms in the future.
Installing a chat API sounds tempting. But to be sure if this is the right decision, clearly define your business needs and weigh all the pros and cons above. Chat APIs have helped many mobile apps increase performance and improve communication with users. Just like any strategy, it has some drawbacks you need to take into account before investing in it. Here we have provided a fair overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of chat APIs and hope that it will help you make a better-informed decision.