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

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 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:

  1. You notice inconsistent quality or deliverability in certain regions. 
  2. You feel frustrated by lackluster customer support and ongoing technical issues that you can’t get resolved.
  3. 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.

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Determine whether your Twilio alternative will be your primary provider or a 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, giving you and your customers peace of mind. 

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

1. 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 autoresponder, 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 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 — or exceeds — the bar set by Twilio. 

2. Regional deliverability 

If your business operates in multiple regions or countries, you know that 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 Twilio’s coverage and quality gaps so you can improve your reach and reliability. 

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. For 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. 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.

3. Infrastructure reliability 

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 has invested 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. 

4. 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 has exposed sensitive user information. Your new SMS and voice API provider must have the compliance and security measures necessary to keep customer information safe. 

Your new provider should guarantee GDPR and CCPA compliance and adhere to other compliance standards. 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. 

Learn more about how Plivo protects your data

5. Easy migration

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: 

These features make it easy for your team to understand, customize, and troubleshoot applications. 

6. Pricing flexibility 

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 and offers free inbound SMS, too, and offers 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

When choosing an API provider, you need to evaluate each 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 the highest SMS delivery and lowest call latency possible. 

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.

Explore pricing scenarios for your business

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