What is SMS API and How Does it work?

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SMS is an incredibly efficient communication channel. Messages send and received almost instantly. And people read text messages almost immediately. SMS messaging is one of the best ways to establish direct, near real-time communication.

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An SMS API makes this already efficient communication channel even more efficient. SMS APIs enable far more automation in SMS communication without sacrificing the two-way texting conversation.

But do you know how an SMS API works? This is important knowledge for developers and businesses that use SMS for internal and external communication.

How an SMS API Works

If you’re familiar with APIs, you already understand how an SMS API works. It works the same as a standard Application Programming Interface (API). An SMS API is just used to implement SMS capabilities rather than something else.

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If you’re unfamiliar with APIs, an API is just a code package that developers can use to insert functionalities into their software without writing proprietary code and creating their system. They can simply outsource these functions to other developers’ systems with the API.

When an app needs to send or receive an SMS message, the SMS API connects to the SMS API provider’s network and requests a connection to transmit the message.

Once the connection is established, the message is transmitted over the SMS API provider’s network.

The SMS API provider returns a confirmation that the message has been delivered or reports an error if there is a problem.

For the end user, this external connection is transparent; they just see the message in the app or get a notification that their message has been delivered.

The details of the SMS API connection might not be as important as understanding what you can do with SMS when you integrate SMS messaging with an API.

What Can You Do With an SMS API?

As you may have gathered in the previous section, the most significant benefit of an SMS API is that it enables you to integrate SMS messaging into your apps and other software systems, such as CRM systems.

However, an SMS API gives you the power to do more than just send text messages. An SMS API also enables you to perform operations based on information in SMS messages.

If you’ve ever received a marketing SMS message with instructions such as “Reply STOP to stop receiving messages,” then received a confirmation message once you replied STOP, that’s accomplished with an SMS API.

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Since the SMS messages are passed through your software, you can extract information from the text message to trigger certain operations, such as Text2Pay services. You can also trigger operations based on the delivery confirmation from the API.

This enables you to automate two-way conversations. And you can automatically transfer the conversation to a human representative based on specific responses to ensure your automation doesn’t impede your ability to provide top-quality service.

Which Businesses Get the Most Out of an SMS API?

The most direct answer is that almost every business would benefit from using an SMS API. SMS is such a ubiquitous and adaptable communication technology that any business can put it to work in some way, either internally or externally.

However, if you want to know if an SMS API is a great fit for your business, the answer can be trimmed down to how much your business would benefit from these three things:

SMS message trackability

An SMS API enables you to integrate your text messaging infrastructure with platforms that give you data about whether or not text messages are delivered. You can identify bottlenecks and even optimize delivery routes to maximize delivery rates.

SMS flexibility

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An SMS API can integrate into your existing communication infrastructure and be configured however you need. Many communications platforms and API providers also offer supplemental features to help tailor your SMS services to your business. 

SMS Automation

An SMS API enables you to send automated text messages, frees team members to handle the tasks that can’t be automated, and streamlines mass communications in use cases such as customer service and text message marketing.

Ultimately, an SMS API makes text communication more efficient. Using software to manage certain aspects of sending and responding to text messages frees up many resources in any company, from banks to manufacturers.

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If you were on the fence about whether or not an SMS API would work in your business, the answer is most likely yes.

How to Integrate an SMS API

The integration process for an SMS API will depend on the application you’re integrating the API into and your SMS provider’s integration process. However, the mark of a good SMS API provider is that they’ll offer hands-on support to help you integrate the SMS API into your software.

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Integrating an SMS API is a relatively straightforward process. But, if your SMS API provider offers quality customer support, integration should be relatively painless. If you’re having problems integrating an SMS API, it may be wise to consider switching SMS API providers.

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