Cloud communication has started to grow traction amongst SMEs due to the wide array of benefits it provides. A study conducted by Microsoft showed that 94% of small businesses reported better security by using cloud technology. This is followed by 59% of businesses stating that it also resulted in better IT productivity.
For startups, utilizing cloud communication platforms is essential to improve the customer experience, scale product development, and save time and money.
In this article, we’ll discuss what communication platforms are and the benefits of using them for startup businesses.
What is a Communication Platform?
A communication platform or communication platform as a service (CPaaS) is software that encapsulates internal and external communication capabilities with the use of cloud computing technology. It makes use of a variety of communication channels, including video and phone conferencing, voice recordings, and team messaging.
Communication platforms offer great versatility to startups as they can be embedded into business applications to enable advanced features like in-app notifications and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
As more and more businesses are starting to adopt a remote work culture, using a communication platform is becoming a necessity for organizations to maintain effective communication with both employees and customers.
How Do CPaaS Platforms Work?
CPaaS platforms work by providing developers with programmable communication APIs and SDKs that they can integrate within their apps to enable communication features. This offers them the ability to customize their app without coding features from scratch or commencing a complete digital transformation.
To understand further, we’d need to understand first what an API and SDK are.
An API or application programmable interface is a tool used by developers to connect third-party integrations with their apps for enhanced features and functionality. Think of it as a middle-man that connects your app with another app to give you your desired output.
SDKs or software development kits, on the other hand, are a collection of software that developers can use to create applications. These would usually have all the tools a developer would require for the creation of an app, including documentation, code samples, libraries, processes, and detailed guides.
CPaaS solutions offer both APIs and SDKs to create robust applications equipped with communication features. The APIs offered by CPaaS platforms are primarily communication APIs which would include Voice Communication APIs, Messaging APIs, Authentication APIs, Third-Party Integration APIs, and other APIs like omnichannel communication, automated workflows, and task management.
Unlike communication tools, like Microsoft teams or Zoom, CPaaS solutions make use of cloud computing technology to rid companies of the burden of investing in their own back-end database to store data.
The majority of CPaaS is billed on a monthly or annual basis with a fee for each registered user. Some platforms use a pay-per-call, pay-per-message, or credits model, which allows customers to have more flexible options.
Finally, if you’re implementing a communication platform for your entire organization, you may want to look into an enterprise-grade solution or a cost-effective Bandwidth alternative like Plivo.
Benefits of Communication Platforms to Startup Businesses
An omnichannel communication platform can bring a range of benefits to startups. By leveraging multiple communication channels in one robust API, it can improve the customer experience, save costs, and scale product development.
Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of communication platforms in detail.
Improves the Customer Experience
All your customers would rarely use a single communication channel to reach you. Customer preferences may vary as some might prefer to contact customer service through cell, message, or email.
Using a communication platform to cater to all these different mediums will help you reach more customers and manage them better.
Some of the best communication platforms have built-in features that help you enhance the customer experience, such as FAQs and auto-replies. A communication platform might also use A.I. to make use of chatbots for answering user queries.
Saves You Time and Money
Before the development of CPaaS platforms, businesses relied on multiple programs for maintaining effective communication with customers and within departments.
When this seems to be increasing costs, building a communication platform from scratch is equally expensive. You would have to hire programmers and developers to build a program that works with each communication channel.
A cost-effective solution to this is using communication platforms that encapsulate all features needed for internal and external communication. With this single platform, employees can manage, customize, and scale communication while saving time and money.
Allows Customizable Options
With a unified communication platform, in-house developers have great control over the customization of specific applications’ communication features.
Some communication platforms offer flexible options like app integrations which could help developers add communication features to their apps without coding them from scratch.
Scales the Product Development Process
Most businesses set sail with the aim of maximizing revenue and expanding their operations. Having a single communication platform helps achieve that goal in many ways.
Firstly, when you first start scaling operations, you would inevitably have to bring in more employees and/or managers. With multiple communication channels, they may be prone to error, and it would take longer to train them on how to use each program effectively. By introducing a single communication platform, this process is simplified.
Secondly, integrating communication APIs with in-app communication features can be a great way to meet the increased number of customers.
Since an omnichannel communication platform makes it easy for you to incorporate 100 or even 100,000 customers, you can scale your operations without having to worry about increased load on servers – as most CPaaS services are served in the cloud.
Investing in a communication platform can be a great way for startups to overcome communication challenges and maintain effective internal and external communication.
With CPaaS platforms, in-house developers can create applications with communication APIs to enhance the customer experience and save time and money on coding features from scratch.
As more businesses are embracing remote work culture, companies that use a communication platform tend to cater better to the needs of remote workers and customers than those who don’t.