SMS and Voice API Features to Look for in a Twilio Alternative
- 19 Jul 2020
By automating SMS and voice communication and integrating those communication channels with your applications, your business can more easily communicate with customers and meet their needs. But choosing the right communications API provider is critical to delivering the best experience for your customers.
While you may have started out with Twilio or another API provider to connect with your customers via SMS and voice, your first partner may not be the best long-term solution.
For many companies, Twilio’s communications APIs aren’t the right fit for three reasons:
- You notice inconsistent quality or deliverability in certain regions.
- You feel frustrated by lackluster customer support and ongoing technical issues that you can’t get resolved.
- Their pricing seemed great at the beginning, but costs have risen as your customer base has grown, and the expense doesn’t fit your ROI plan.
If your goal is to improve uptime and reliability, you need to diversify your provider mix so you don’t rely on one partner alone and expose your business to the risks of a single point of failure. To do that, figure out your use case, then evaluate new platforms.
Twilio alternative: primary provider or backup?
The first key question is whether to replace Twilio or add a second platform to provide high availability and more throughput.
Adding a backup provider to existing services ensures access to redundant infrastructure and diversifies your services in case one provider goes down.
Switching your primary provider away from Twilio might be the right move if your usage has grown and you’re finding your overall spend to be too high. But you don’t want to trade off cost savings for quality, so you need to find a new primary provider that has equivalent, if not better, delivery rates globally.
Whether you’re looking for a better price point, higher quality, wider reach, or infrastructure redundancy, it’s important to know what to look for when evaluating your new communications API provider.
Make sure your Twilio alternative has these essential features
Once you decide you need a Twilio alternative, either as your new primary provider or as a redundant provider for your failover strategy, you have to determine which cloud communications platform is the right partner for your business.
To evaluate each provider’s unique platform, network, and features, focus on these six key areas.
Key features and essentials
Look for a voice API with programmatic building blocks that let you implement call forwarding, call recording, multiparty conference calling, voicemail, customized audio alerts, voice survey functionality, interactive voice response (IVR), text to speech, call transcription, and call transfers.
On the SMS API side, your team should be able to quickly and painlessly set up automated account alerts and SMS notifications throughout the user journey, send and receive messages, enable SMS autoresponders, send text message reminders, and implement common workflows such as two-factor authentication.
Additionally, look for advanced SMS API functionality like Plivo’s Powerpack, which, on top of ensuring high deliverability and better open rates, gives you the ability to connect and engage with your customers using local phone numbers and eliminates the need to worry about compliance regulations across the globe.
Compare your options to make sure your next provider meets — or exceeds — the bar set by Twilio.
If your business operates in multiple regions or countries, you know that not all providers perform equally well in every region. SMS and voice API providers all highlight great global reach on paper, but their SMS delivery rates and call quality vary across countries and regions.
If you decide to use two providers in tandem, then no matter whether Twilio is your primary or your backup API, your new provider should solve for Twilio’s coverage and quality gaps so you can improve your reach and reliability.
On the voice API side, your provider should let you easily integrate voice calling into your web and mobile apps to create a fully integrated user experience. For example, when making outbound calls to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), your provider should allow for specific caller IDs (domestic or international) as per your business requirements. The provider should have direct relationships with Tier 1 local carriers to efficiently connect calls over the PSTN.
For SMS services, your provider should support not only high SMS deliverability to in-country carriers, but also global coverage for businesses that cater to customers around the world. It should support customized sender IDs outside of North America to improve open rates.
Reliable, redundant infrastructure is critical in ensuring your messages and calls reach your customers every time.
Your API provider should offer at least 99.99% uptime. You can find Plivo’s 90-day uptime rate through our real-time and historical service status page.
Check to make sure that your communications API provider invests in its infrastructure to consistently deliver high quality globally. A strong provider should have:
- Globally distributed points of presence (PoP) across the regions where you do business
- Geographically distributed and monitored network operations centers (NOC) for 24/7 support
- Latency-free connectivity of less than 150 milliseconds to carriers and end phones
- Optimized routing and uptime through an intelligent routing system that routes based on quality
These infrastructure features ensure a robust, fault-tolerant, and reliable platform to support your communications needs.
Compliance and security measures
According to the 2019 CGS Customer Service Security and Compliance Survey, 69% of US consumers would not return to a business that exposed sensitive user information. Your new SMS and voice API provider must implement the compliance and security measures necessary to keep customer information safe.
Your new provider should guarantee GDPR and CCPA compliance and adhere to any other compliance standards your business requires. Additionally, your provider should support features like smart queuing that give you automatic compliance with local carrier requirements. To ensure access security, the provider should support two-factor authentication. These features ensure you meet data protection requirements when personal consumer data is transferred between regions.
In addition to these features, a modern communications API provider should guarantee:
- On-premises security for their networks
- Application security through at-rest and in-transit encryption
- PCI-compliant payment security
- Role-based access control
- Authentication for accessing recordings
- Regular third-party penetration testing
By working with an SMS and voice API provider that provides these features, you ensure your company keeps customers happy and their data secure.
You need APIs that are easy to customize and implement to streamline migration from Twilio to your new provider.
Your Twilio alternative SMS and voice API provider should make it painless to add communications services to your existing setup. That’s why Plivo offers:
- Familiar REST APIs and XML code
- Extensive reference documentation and how-to guides
- SDKs for browser and mobile apps to integrate native voice calling
- Call Insights and debug logs for easier troubleshooting
- The PHLO low-code visual workflow builder
These features make it easy for your team to understand, customize, and troubleshoot applications.
Pricing is one of the major pain points for Twilio customers. As companies scale their usage, they often find that Twilio becomes cost-prohibitive.
Relative to Twilio, Plivo saves customers 40% on outbound SMS, provides free inbound SMS, and offers 20% cost savings on calls to toll-free and local phone numbers. Additionally, Plivo offers lower outbound and inbound SMS rates and lower phone number rental fees.
Better pay-as-you-go pricing and volume discounts as you scale help you lower your TCO. Contact our team to explore pricing scenarios for your business.
Choose the Twilio alternative that best fits your business needs
When choosing an API provider, you should evaluate every facet of their offering to ensure that it meets your needs. Thousands of innovative businesses rely on Plivo for SMS and voice API services. Every day, companies on our platform experience the benefit of our globally distributed, direct-to-carrier network with high SMS delivery and low call latency.
Our proven quality and scale, enterprise-grade platform, uptime of 99.99%, 24/7 customer support, and low cost of ownership make offering reliable SMS and voice services easy.