With the information overload and increasingly hard to drive attention of users, the importance of making customers enter your sales funnel as soon as possible can’t be understated. Even when it comes to existing users, providing real-time support is of utmost importance.
Instant sending and receiving of messages and important information, at the click of a button, is why one-on-one chat is becoming increasingly popular these days.
The reason for this is seemingly obvious. These one-on-one chat applications help your users connect with other users on your platform. This allows them to directly communicate with the sellers, or other buyers, and clarify their queries. This goes a long way in not only building trust but also engaging your customers. Understandably enough, if your users find a platform where they can discuss and get their concerns resolved, they’ll always want to come back to you.
Now, if you are an entrepreneur or a developer, how do you add the same functionality to your website or app?
Fortunately, Chat API is the easy answer
Easy to integrate and provide real-time chat features to your website or app, Chat APIs are the best thing since sliced bread. For instance, if you have a marketplace app such as Ebay, communication between sellers and customers can be effectively carried out using chats. How to embed this functionality into your app? Chat APIs! They make your work easier, and make your customers and users happier.
Chat APIs can help you add customized chat capabilities to your platform, within minimum possible time. The thing is, different companies need different customizations to fit their businesses. Depending on the spectrum of services you offer, you’ll need a different set of tools for communication, be it between customers or vendors. Now, if you go about designing these capabilities all by yourself, you will incur extravagant costs and also require a lot of time to get these functionalities up and running. Choosing a Chat API helps you get the job done quickly and cost-effectively.
Choosing the best Chat API for your company
Whether you plan to build a standalone app or integrate chat facility into an existing website/app, Chat APIs get the work done for you. Due to the sheer number of options in the market, choosing the right one that suits your business can be a tough nut to crack. You need to decide on the types of platforms you want to support, kinds of chat options you want to integrate, and many other vital details. How to decide? Let us help you with that!
What form of chat you’re looking to embed?
You need to be clear about the type of chat you want to be embedded on your platform. When we say “type of chat”, we essentially mean one-on-one, group, or open/public chat channels.
Ideally, you should look for an API that supports all of these. One-on-one discussions between customers and vendors can help put user’s trust into your app/website. Many times, buyers have their doubts about certain products and services, which they refrain from asking on public platforms. One-on-one communication helps them eliminate those doubts, and perhaps bring in more revenue for your business.
The importance of public or group chat domains should also not be undermined. Discussions about your services and products in a public fashion could prove to be fruitful for both you and your users.
Brownie points if the API supports private as well as public group chats. The major difference between the two kinds of group chats is the way in which users can participate. For a private group chat, your users will require a password or invitation to participate. This will ensure a level of confidentiality between the members of the chat group.
A public group chat, on the other hand, will be open for all. You should look for an API that supports both these options. Depending on the use cases, both private, as well as public group chats, are quite effective.
Which platforms are you looking to target?
Android and iOS are the most popular mobile platforms out there today, and it is crucial for you to build a chat platform that works on both of these. Of course, you might need to integrate chat functionality in your website, but giving importance to mobile platforms would be the sensible thing to do. People spend more time with their smartphones than with anything else. Thus, using mobile chat SDKs that support both iOS and Android, as well as their periodic updates, is the way to go.
Usually, mobile chat SDKs with features such as chat syncing across multiple platforms, using single login credentials are best suited for mobile implementations. It is recommended to go through the official documentation of some APIs before finalizing one. Going through them will give you a better idea of what fits your needs best.
Does the Chat API cover various regions you’re targeting?
Regional coverage is an important aspect to consider while choosing the perfect Chat API. China, for instance, is a very secluded region of the world when it comes to rules regarding internet usage, and thus the Chinese market is flooded with its own messengers such as WeChat and Line. It is crucial to check if the Chat API you are considering provides services in your areas of operation or not.
Does the API keep all the chats secure?
Security is one of the most sought-after features every entrepreneur seeks. In today’s world of big data, data leakages have become extremely common. You need to look for a Chat API that encrypts your user chats. This will ensure that the chats are not read as they travel across the internet from the sender to the receiver.
Encrypted chats will also build a sense of trust among your users. Not only will it protect their conversations, but will also ensure that they never think twice before using your chat forum.
Does the chat SDK/API help you build a scalable app?
Scalability is one factor that every entrepreneur should keep in mind. It’s difficult to account for the growth in the number of your visitors beforehand. Therefore, it’s always advisable to ensure that the Chat API you’re selecting can be scaled up to any number of users.
Having a scalable Chat API will also take a lot of load off your server, thereby keeping it clutter-free and well-organized. This will have a direct impact on the performance of your platform in terms of speed and efficiency.
Does the Chat API provide moderation of chats?
To ensure a superior user experience, all of your chats should be moderated. This will stray the outliers from your platform, thereby keeping it clean – just the way it should be.
The Chat API you select should assign moderators to moderate and manage group chats. The moderators should have specific roles and powers and can ban people not complying with your platform’s standards of communication. Further, having a filtering system to filter/ban offensive words will ensure that your users’ chatbox is free of things they’d not want to read.
The users should also have an option to report conversations they find irrelevant. This will not only help them avoid meaningless conversations, but will also help you analyze the activities happening on your platform – which will go a long way in helping you analyze your platform, take relevant actions, and make it better for the users.
How well can you customize the chat application?
Customizability is something that needs a special mention when we’re talking about picking the right Chat API. Depending on the domain of your business, you’ll have a varied set of visitors – including both clients and prospects. Thus the user experience you provide needs to cater to their taste all the while blending in well with the UI of your website. Else, it is likely to stick out like a sore thumb.
Keeping the above points in mind, you should definitely look for an API that is supremely customizable. Most of the good Chat API providers provide a detailed documentation for your perusal. Go through that thoroughly, and understand the extent of customization possible.
Other than this, you should also look for features like…
In addition to all the essentials mentioned above, having some special features in your chat functionality would be perhaps the X-factor for your product or service. Looking for Chat APIs that give you an edge over the competition is what you should be doing.
For instance, APIs that offer voice and video calls will be more effective for your customers. Spam protection is another nifty little feature which Chat APIs should possess. If you find a Chat API that has the aforementioned features and suits your company, then waste no time and go for it!
In addition to all the aforementioned features that an API must have, additional features like last seen notifications, read receipts, and typing indicators are some other features you should keep in mind. Further, AI-enabled chatbots are the rage today. They go a long way in providing a conversational, personalized experience to your users. The Chat API should also provide chat bot integration.
There you go- how to choose the perfect Chat API for your business platform, what features should they have, and what gives them the X-factor. Still having problems taking the decision? Talk to us and we will help you choose.
See what’s possible with CometChat’s real-time Chat API