Are APIs becoming the keys to customer experience?

Intelligent APIs

In recent years, APIs have encouraged the emergence of new services by facilitating collaboration between applications and databases of one or more companies. Beyond catalyzing innovation, APIs have also revolutionized the customer-company relationship, allowing it to provide an accurate and detailed picture of the consumer at a time when a quality customer experience now counts as much as the price or capabilities of the product.

Over the years, customer relationship channels have multiplied with consumers who can interact with their brands through stores, voice, email, mobile applications, the web or chatbots. The multiple points of interaction used by customers have made its journey more complex, forcing companies to consider data from these many channels to deliver the most seamless customer experience possible. To do this, they must synchronize data from one channel to another and cross-reference data related to its history with the brand. This is where APIs come into play. These interfaces allow data processing to refine customer knowledge and deliver a personalized experience.

Thanks to a 360° customer view, the digital experience can be extended in store. The API acts as a bridge between the digital and physical world.

The APIs also allow organizations to work with data in a more operational way and especially in real time. However, many companies still treat their loyal customers as if they’ve never interacted before. It is therefore not uncommon to have to reappear after several requests or to retrace the history of previous interactions, which can seriously damage the customer relationship.

The challenge for companies is to deliver a seamless, consistent and personalized experience through real-time analysis. This will provide relevant information to account managers during interaction and allow them to have guidance on the next best action to take, in line with the client's expectations.

Even better, with APIs, we can predict the customer's buying behavior and suggest services or products that meet their needs. Indeed, with the data collected, and thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, the cross-tabulations and instant analysis make it possible to refine the selection to offer an increasingly relevant and fluid experience, increasing customer loyalty and thus the economic performance of companies.

Recently, there has been a trend to empower consumers to control their data, after new regulations such as the European Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and GDPR came into force in May 2018.

What do they have in common? They both give individuals control over their personal data with the ability to request, delete or share it with other organizations. Thus, within the framework of PSD2, it is now possible to manage your bank account or issue payments through an application that is not necessarily that of your bank. Through this, APIs provide companies the opportunity to offer a dedicated portal to their customers to enable them to manage their data autonomously, and offer new, innovative payment services.

For its part, companies will be able to better manage governance and the risks of fraudulent access to data. With an API, a company can proactively detect abnormal or even suspicious data access behaviors in near real time.

APIs are the gateways between companies and their business data and are the answer to real needs that the market is beginning to meet with customer experience. However, many organizations have not yet understood the importance of implementing an API strategy, an essential part of digital transformation, as well as the cloud, and the emergence of increasingly data-driven organizations. APIs are the missing link between data and customer experience -- a key companies need to start using.

Image Credit: totallyPic.com / Shutterstock

Jerome Louvel is VP Product Management at Talend.

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