SMS & Voice API Features to Look for in a Twilio Alternative

48.7 million consumers (about six New York Cities worth of people) will opt-in to receive SMS messages from businesses in 2020. Your choice of communications API provider is critical to delivering the support your customers need, 78% of which rely on accessible, high-quality SMS and 93% on voice services for help.

While you may have started out with another API provider such as Twilio 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’re noticing inconsistent quality or deliverability in certain regions.
  • You’re left feeling frustrated and alone 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.

Whether you’re having issues with Twilio or not, 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.

Is it time for a change? You know you need a Twilio alternative as your new primary provider or as a redundant provider for your failover strategy. Now you just need to choose the right partner for your business.

Determine if the Twilio Alternative You Choose Will be Your New Primary Provider or a Backup

The coverage and pricing needs depend on the size of your business and where your customers live.

It’s important to keep in mind that multiplate factors beyond reach affect voice quality and message deliverability. The quality of the underlying in-country carriers, the network infrastructure of the communications platform, and strength of the platform’s technology all work in tandem to support high call quality and deliverability. So, when choosing an API provider you need to evaluate each facet of their offering to ensure that it meets your needs.

SMS and voice calls are business-critical components for many companies. Adding a backup provider to existing services ensures access to redundant infrastructure and diversifies your services in case one provider goes down, giving you and your customers peace of mind.

Switching your primary provider away from Twilio completely might be the right move if your usage has grown and you’re finding the 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 the Essentials

While the exact specs of each provider will depend on their unique platform, network, and features, there are six key areas you need to evaluate.

1 Key Features and Essentials

Look for a Voice API with programmatic building blocks that lets you implement call forwarding, call recording, multi-party conference calling, voicemail, customized audio alerts, voice survey functionality, scalable cloud 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 autoresponder, and send text message reminders.

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 and familiar phone numbers and eliminates the need to worry about compliance regulations across the globe.

Thoroughly compare your options to make sure your next provider meets–and exceeds–the bar set by Twilio’s out-of-the box-feature set.

2 Regional Deliverability

Like your mobile phone network, not all providers perform the same in every region. SMS and Voice API providers all highlight great global reach on paper, but their SMS delivery rates and call quality vary dramatically across each country and region.

If you decide to use two providers in tandem—whether Twilio is your primary or your backup API—your new provider should solve for the coverage and quality gaps of Twilio so you can improve your reach and reliability in each region.

On the Voice API side, your provider should allow you to easily integrate voice calling into your web or mobile app to create a fully-integrated, customizable user experience. As an example, when making outbound calls to a public switched telephone network (PSTN), your provider should allow for specific caller IDs (domestic or international) as per your business requirements.

You also want to look for a provider that offers high-quality codecs like OPUS to ensure your calls are delivered with crystal clear voice quality. A high-quality service like Plivo will enable you to connect to existing IP-enabled phones and leverage direct relationships with Tier 1 local carriers to efficiently connect calls over the PSTN.

For SMS services, your provider should support high SMS deliverability to in-country carriers and global coverage to ensure you and your customers receive incoming messages to and from regions across North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, South America, and Africa. Services like Plivo will also support customized sender IDs in those regions to improve open rates.

3 Infrastructure Reliability

Reliable, redundant infrastructure is critical in ensuring your messages and calls reach your customers every time.

Additionally, your API provider should continually monitor and report uptimes of at least 99.95%. For instance, you can find updates of Plivo’s 90-day uptime rate through our real-time and historical service status pager.

Check to make sure that your communications API provider has invested in its infrastructure to consistently deliver high quality globally. A strong provider should have:

  • Globally distributed points of presence (PoPs) across all major continents
  • Geographically distributed and monitored network operations centers (NOCs)
  • 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

The above infrastructure features—all offered by Plivo’s enterprise-grade network—ensure a robust, fault-tolerant, and reliable product to support your communications needs.

Compliance & Security Measures

According to the 2019 CGS Customer Service Security and Compliance Survey, 69% of U.S. consumers would not return to a business that has exposed sensitive user information. This makes it all the more important that your new SMS and voice API provider have the compliance and security measures necessary to keep customer information safe.

Your new provider should guarantee GDPR & CCPA compliance and adhere to other compliance standards like EU-US Privacy Shield. Additionally your provider should support features like smart queuing that enable local carrier compliance, and regular purging of sensitive data. 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 like Plivo will guarantee:

  • On-premise 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 3rd party penetration testing

By working with a new, state-of-the-art SMS and voice API provider who provides these features, even in addition to Twilio services, you ensure your company keeps customers happy and their data secure.

5 Easy Migration

You need APIs that are easy to customize and implement to streamline migration from Twilio to your new provider.

As such, 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:

These features make it easy for your team to understand, customize, and troubleshoot. And, if an issue does arise, Plivo offers 24/5 expert customer support to get you unstuck.

6 Pricing Flexibility

Pricing ranks as one of the major pain points for Twilio customers. Twilio pricing may seem low at first, but as companies scale their usage, they often find that Twilio’s price premium becomes cost prohibitive.

Relative to Twilio, Plivo saves customers 40% on outbound SMS and offers free inbound SMS, too, as well as 20% cost savings on calls to toll-free and local phone numbers.

Additionally, as a leading Twilio alternative, 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. You can contact our team at Plivo to explore the best pricing scenarios for your business.

Choose the Twilio Alternative That Best Fits Your Business 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 the highest SMS delivery and lowest call latency possible.

Our proven quality and scale, enterprise-grade platform, uptime of 99.95%, 24/5 customer support, and low cost of ownership make offering reliable SMS and voice services easy.

Sign up for free today or talk to one of our communications experts to learn more about how Plivo can support your goals.

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