Most of my friends use WhatsApp to message me. Most of them. There are some who prefer chatting via Apple’s Messages app. And then, there are a few who like using Telegram. One of my friends uses Signal. Yet another one uses Instagram (mostly for sending me memes). Sometimes I will even cross-text with the same friend on different apps at the same time. While that is a mildly annoying fact about my private life, imagine the problem this creates for businesses that want to communicate with their customers on channels other than just email.
WhatsApp is very common in Europe, users in Asia may prefer WeChat or LINE, and Americans tend to use Facebook Messenger or SMS instead. Whichever method your customers prefer, wouldn’t it be great if you could support all of them? MessageBird strives to make it as easy as humanly possible for customers to get in touch with businesses––and the MessageBird Conversations API makes this possible.
Keeping things simple
Recently, our engineers tackled the challenge of coordinating support operations for a client that was using multiple platforms. This client had a setup that allowed its support agents to communicate with customers via many different channels, but this came at the price of enormous technical overhead. It was less than ideal because it made the whole system unreliable and difficult to navigate.
To solve this issue for all of our clients, we developed the Conversations API, which allows you to implement as many different communication channels as you’d like with ease. And they’re all bundled into a single API. It allows you to use all of your preferred channels in one conversation, using one API, and your customers have one profile that works across all of your channels.
I’m sure you might be asking yourself:
How does this work?
Well, thanks to the Conversations API, the communication with your customer can be broken down into its parts: contact, channel, and conversation. Your customer contact has a unique contact ID with which they can be identified, regardless of which channel they use to reach you. Each of the channels you’ve set up has a unique channel ID that identifies it across your different conversations. And lastly, each conversation has a unique conversation ID. That way, all of your communication with a particular customer can be stored within a single message thread, even if different channels were used during your conversation.
And, speaking of channels: If you can’t find the channel you are looking for in our available channel directory, fear not! Our engineers are constantly working on integrating new channels, and there are many more to come.
Should I switch from the REST API to the Conversations API?
If you’re a MessageBird customer, chances are you’re already using our REST API. If you don’t know, the REST API is a simple and efficient way to deploy large-scale SMS campaigns, one-time passwords (OTP), and more. It doesn’t support as many channels as our Conversations API––but that’s kind of the point.
Yes, you could use the Conversations API to for SMS marketing or OTP, but that wouldn’t be making full use of the potential of the Conversations API. For your simple, straightforward SMS use cases, the REST API is still your go-to.
The Conversations API is more of a gateway for your customer support agents to use as many channels as possible. That will allow them to provide great service to your customers. And, of course, MessageBird Inbox is built on the capabilities that the Conversations API provides.
How can I get started?
If you’re a developer looking to implement the Conversations API into your business’s application or website, look no further than our API reference right here. We also provide tutorials and SDKs in seven programming languages to get you started even faster. Our SDKs are regularly updated, and we recommend always using the latest version of the SDK.
If you encounter any issues or have questions about a specific command or parameter, you can always contact our support team––we’re more than happy to point you in the right direction or clarify with our engineers if something is unclear.
WhatsApp for Business
Naturally, as an official vendor of WhatsApp for Business, a lot of our customers are interested in adding WhatsApp to their channel portfolio. Not only because 2 billion people around the world are already using WhatsApp as their daily messaging app, but also because a conversation over WhatsApp feels much more personal than one over email.
If you’re interested in WhatsApp for Business, you first have to submit your application here on our website. Your application is then sent directly to WhatsApp, who will review your use case and give their approval if your use case meets the guidelines.
After that, our Service Delivery team will pick up your application to help you get set up and will provide you with everything you need––from a WhatsApp channel in your MessageBird account to a number to use with WhatsApp.
We love the Conversations API. Not just because it’s versatile, but also because it’s so easy to use and set up. Use it to allow your customers to send you a WhatsApp message instead of an email. Use it to set up a Telegram chatbot. Use it to connect to WeChat users, LINE users, Facebook Messenger users, and so much more.
And think about the customers’ side of things––maybe, in the future, we can just send a quick WhatsApp message to our internet provider if the wifi goes out. Or just text the manufacturer when the washing machine breaks down and you need a repair. Doesn’t that sound like a dream?