Want to Launch an In-App Chat Soon? Let APIs Do the Legwork.

Benefits of Chat API

With swift changes in technology, there is a shift in the way we communicate -not just with each other but with businesses too. As per a report, some industries have seen a 150% jump in live chats by 2018 and customers prefer real-time chats to other modes of communication for various reasons, like,

  • Speed of interactions,
  • Ability to Multitask
  • Convenience to communicate from anywhere

No wonder, businesses have taken notice of this user behaviour and working on delivering real-time experiences. The real question is, how fast and smoothly can they make this transition?

46% of customers today prefer live chat over any other form of communication. And a whopping 41% expect websites to have an in-app chat option. It comes as no surprise since texting has become somewhat of a routine affair for most of us. Especially with the inclusion of rich media within chat boxes, there is pretty much nothing that you can’t do via chatting.

The fact is, customers find chatting the most convenient method of communication! From sending order confirmations to regular updates, in-app chat keeps the customer in the loop at every step. Chats are easily accessible, require little to no time and incorporate all elements of complete customer success. It makes the shopping experience engaging, and reliable. More importantly, the customer never has to step away from your website to resolve doubts. They can easily put forth their questions through the in-app chatbox!

What if you’re not delivering it yet?

User behaviour is changing at a rapid pace today, and shifting to in-app chat experience is the only way to leverage their attention. If your application is not delivering a similar experience yet, it’s a decision to make now, as managing the transition from a traditional to real-time engaging platform comes with its own challenges. More so if you want to include in-app chat at a rapid pace without compromising on the reliability.

There’s a lot that goes into the planning and building of chats — a lot of time and genius for putting the cleanest code. APIs cut down the timeframe by shortening the stretch of execution and giving confidence to product owners to launch chats as per their marketing roadmaps. Let’s take a behind the scenes look into in-app chat arrangement.

What is a Chat API? Everything you need to know in a Nutshell

The Holy Grail of APIs

APIs are in fact one of the greatest contributors to the fast-paced growth in the chat world today. Not just the in-app chats, in fact, APIs have facilitated the overall technical transformation of many businesses in the past decade. Forbes has been reporting on it, and TechCrunch says APIs are the next big wave of SaaS.

When you think of including any element to your website, there are two ways to do it: either you develop it yourself, or you buy it. Let’s look at this in the context of in-app chat.

What do you need to build an in-app chat for your website from scratch? Well, first off you need a design — for which you need an architect. That should take about a month or two. Next, you need a dedicated team of developers. Let’s say you have it on standby. How long do you think it will take them to build the entire thing? 4 to 6 months on an average, right? Well, what about maintenance?

Pheww.

It is not that building things from scratch is a no-go, but it differs from case to case and product to product, you have to see is it all really worth it? Some questions to think upon while you you’re planning to improve customer experiences via chat:

How much time will it take for me to make it available for my users?

How will the data security be handled?

Is there a flexible solution to make the chat feature scalable as per future requirements?

What is the cost involved if I want to get it in less than a month?

There are many other things to look at based on who your audience is and what’s your goal with the inclusion of chats within the app. Is it building customer engagements or scalability issues or the onset of leveraging undeniable benefits of chat?

What is a Chat API? Everything you need to know in a Nutshell

Choosing an in-app Chat API is of utmost value when all you want to do is focus on the business. Somewhere, someone has already built the best version of it for you, and all you need is make it work according to your use case. No need to get into months of planning on design and features, just find the right SDKs and APIs and you are good to go — it will require less than a quarter of the time you may take to custom-build.

Benefits of a Chat API

  • Development time is greatly reduced by using APIs. You get to deploy and implement much faster.
  • Pre-built solutions like APIs for in-app chat offer a great deal of customization for users. And they offer uniqueness and efficiency. You can actually get in touch with a team of developers and create your own customized in-app chat with the features you want!
  • APIs are scalable solutions as they follow a modular structure. You add and withdraw any feature that’s not relevant for your users.
  • Since in-app chat APIs are modular in structure, bug fixes are super easy. These require no downtime or development queues. Instead, updates are added in a single sitting without disturbing your workflow.
  • When you use an API, you sign up for dedicated product support. So, any time you have a problem, you don’t need to gather your developer team. Instead, API support takes care of it for you with lightning speed and efficiency.
  • You save the development costs, testing costs and maintenance costs. Call it a ready-made solution customized for you without any added efforts!
  • Most importantly, with APIs your time to market goes down significantly. Customers get a clean UX instead of a clunky Beta version UX, and you get a robust platform without the burden of designing, development and deployment.

What is a Chat API? Everything you need to know in a Nutshell

In-App Chat APIs have a lot to offer

The most important thing that in-app chat APIs do is — giving you a more secure infrastructure than a homemade built-from-scratch app. Let’s say you are catering to an existing live audience, it could be risky to roll out a self-made app. There is a need to follow proper testing protocols, and run testing in a few phases to be absolutely sure of the in-app chat application you create. Even after all this- there is a risk that the app may not perform well and require regular fixes. Further, newly created apps are susceptible to security breaches and data losses. It takes time, money, and strenuous efforts to roll out thoroughly secure apps.

Once you outsource the in-app chat application, there are forces dedicated to making it a success for you. You don’t need to worry about maintenance, costs of bug fixes, rolling out updates, testing, etc. And you get the flexibility in customization that is nearly impossible to achieve with in-house apps in a short time frame.

With an API or an SDK, you always retain complete control over the in-app chat. The functionality and customization are always in your hands. There is a team of developers constantly working to serve you with the chat interface that fits your application. APIs are by no means a one-size-fits-all type of product. You will always get the opportunity to get your inputs implemented in the final product — and retain complete control when you are using it. This is why, in the long term, it is always more beneficial to use APIs. They are constantly updated, and adding new features using APIs is so much easier compared to your in-house app.

What is a Chat API? Everything you need to know in a Nutshell

For a made-from-scratch in-house in-app chat, you need to invest in a robust development team. Even the businesses that go this way and have an in-app chat perfectly ready in about 6–7 months have to go through bug fixes and UX changes that eventually make it a total of one year (or more depending on the resource).

Even after that, if you have to make any changes, let’s say 6 months after deployment, you need that team. And what if the best developer of the bunch decided to bounce? How do you plan on handling the updates and bug fixes? Are you willing to invest the time and resources demanded by the in-app chat for updating, optimization and scaling?

The idea here is really not to reinvent the wheel. But to learn to use the tools at hand smartly. APIs give you all the necessary things you need to build a robust in-app chat! Pre-built solutions are here to support you every step of the way, and get you to achieve success without stress.

What is a Chat API? Everything you need to know in a Nutshell

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Shalini P

Shalini P

7+ years in B2B SaaS as a Content Creator & Strategist | Sharing everything I have learnt about Apps, Products (Management) and the people behind their success.

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