Amazon Connect Virtual Call Center Guide
In this article, learn about AWS Connect and all of the unique features that can be used to design your ideal contact center.
AWS Connect Summary
Amazon Connect is a simple-to-use multichannel cloud contact center solution that helps you provide better customer service for a fraction of the cost.
Cloud contact centers began to emerge about 16 years ago, each with their unique features. However, Amazon’s internal team needed something more robust and able to fit their specific demands, thus birthing Amazon Connect.
Over 10 years ago, Amazon Connect began as an in-house solution for Amazon, helping them reach their customers reliably with precisely the right features to fulfill Amazon’s needs. Over the years, Amazon had decided to productize the solution, offering AWS Connect to businesses and agents around the globe.
What is Amazon Connect?
Amazon Connect is a customer call center service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Customer service employees can provide support through phone calls or chat requests from end customers using AWS Connect.
Amazon Connect offers a suite of tools, such as skills-based routing, task management, real-time analytics, and management tools designed to improve agent efficiency. In addition, for fault tolerance and high availability, Amazon Connect instances can be configured across various availability zones and generate numerous pathways to telecom providers.
Benefits of AWS Connect
There are many reasons why AWS Connect is the optimal choice for building your contact center solution. Amazon Connect is built on the same infrastructure that powers Amazon Web Services, making it widely available worldwide.
Accelerate innovation by using Amazon Connect for simple and straightforward contact center provisioning. You can set up a multichannel contact center with just a few keystrokes, and agents can start interacting and communicating with customers immediately. Rather than building custom software solutions, which may take months and cost millions, leverage AWS Connect to make fast and innovative changes.
Amazon Connect is less expensive than traditional contact center software. You only pay for what you use with Amazon Connect, including any related telephony and messaging fees.
In addition, there are no fixed annual expenses, long-term contracts, upfront license fees, or pricing based around maximum capacity, agent seats, or maintenance with Amazon Connect.
Amazon Connect automatically scales your contact center to any capacity you choose, helping you onboard tens of thousands of agents in response to standard business patterns or unanticipated volume.
You can service your customers leveraging Amazon Connect from anywhere globally on safe, reliable, and highly scalable infrastructure as part of the AWS cloud. To engage with clients from anywhere, all you need is a compatible web browser and an internet connection.
AWS Connect vs. AWS Direct Connect
People often get these two AWS services mixed up because they are super similar; however, their use cases are entirely different. We will save you the time of explaining what AWS Connect is, as if you’ve gotten this far, you probably already understand. So instead, we will only explain what AWS Direct Connect is so that you can easily distinguish between the two.
AWS Direct Connect is a network solution that allows you to use AWS cloud services without going through the Internet. Customers can use AWS Direct Connect to connect to AWS with low latency, secure, and private connections for workloads that demand more speed or lower latency than the Internet.
AWS Connect Features
AWS Connect has an abundance of features built to help you get the most out of every customer interaction. In this section, discover the unique characteristics that make AWS Connect a hit amongst contact centers.
Amazon Connect offers a number of ways of making and receiving phone calls for your organization. One of the most appealing features of Amazon Connect is that AWS takes care of your phone infrastructure, including carrier connections, redundancy, and routing.
The Amazon Connect softphone is used to make calls over the Internet from a computer. The Amazon Connect softphone offers superior 16kHz audio and is resilient to packet loss to ensure a high-quality audio connection.
The outbound contact API in AWS Connect allows users to make calls programmatically. For example, you may configure automated calls to remind customers of appointments, such as doctor’s visits and payment due dates.
AWS Connect Tip #1: Utilize a headset to ensure the best possible voice and sound quality. Connect your headset and check the device management configurations on your computer to make sure it is recognized.
AWS Lex Connect Chatbot
With Amazon Lex, you can create natural-feeling interactive conversations (bots) for your consumers. When utilized in an Amazon Connect contact flow, Amazon Connect with Amazon Lex bots can also take user input as digits entered on a numeric keypad. Customers can also decide how they want to submit sensitive data such account numbers in this fashion.
Amazon Lex can also be used to create interactive messages for Amazon Connect chat. Rich messages that present a prompt and pre-configured display options for a customer to choose from are known as interactive messages. These messages are generated by Amazon Lex and provisioned Lambda through Amazon Lex.
With AWS Connect, chat is available on both the web and mobile and can be rolled out to your organization instantly. What’s more, you don’t need to learn new technologies or move between UIs; AWS Connect uses the very same contact flows, setup, routing, analytics, and management systems as voice.
To service customers directly, Amazon Lex is fully integrated within contact flows, routing, and chat. There is no programming required to integrate Natural Language Understanding (NLU) powered chatbots, and the context of the discussions is automatically shared when escalated to a human agent. In addition, asynchronous messaging in Amazon Connect chat allows you to provide customers and agents the ability to communicate without being present.
Amazon Lex illustration by AWS
Maintaining high customer satisfaction involves follow-up items to resolve customer queries and demands. Amazon Connect Tasks makes it simple to manage agent tasks, including work in third-party apps, so that client issues are addressed promptly.
Today, most agents keep track of jobs and follow-up items for clients manually, which is time-consuming and mistake susceptible, particularly when a task spans various systems. With AWS Connect Tasks, agents can plan and execute tasks in the same way they would a call or chat.
Workflows can also be used to automate processes that do not require the involvement of an agent. Subsequently, agent productivity improves, and customer satisfaction flourishes.
Amazon Connect Wisdom is an Amazon Connect feature that leverages machine learning (ML) to minimize the time agents spend looking for solutions. At the moment, knowledge publications, wikis, and FAQs are dispersed across numerous directories and silos.
While the customer waits for an answer, agents squander considerable time navigating all of those disparate sources of information. Amazon Connect Wisdom enables agents to conduct searches across linked repositories using buzzwords and questions precisely as the customer would ask them to find solutions successfully.
Through built-in third-party integrations, Wisdom helps the customers locate relevant repositories. Additionally, Wisdom uses real-time speech analytics to identify customer issues and provide recommendations and responses to agents during calls. As a result, Wisdom contributes to the resolution of the problems more quickly and increases customer satisfaction.
Contact Control Panel
The Contact Control Panel (CCP) allows agents to take calls, communicate with clients, connect them to other agents, place them on hold, and do other operations from a single, straightforward interface.
Amazon Connect’s CCP includes Amazon Connect Customer Profiles, Amazon Connect Tasks, and Amazon Connect Wisdom that help agents be more productive. It’s also simple to tailor your agent experience by integrating external programs such as CRM or marketing automation tools.
Amazon Connect Tip #3: If your agents are using Google Chrome 71 to Chrome 75 and are using chat or tasks, add the CCP URL to the agent’s Chrome settings’ allow list. Otherwise, they will miss the audio notification informing them of an incoming chat or task.
Directions are available in this Google Chrome Support article.
You can manage your contact center at scale with Amazon Connect’s routing profiles. In minutes, modify the routing profile to change a set of agents tasks immediately.
You can use the same automated interactions and chatbots across both channels, reducing operational costs and enhancing efficiency and productivity. For your end-users, this means they can communicate with your agents via voice or chat, depending on their preferences. Your customer can continue to work with the same agent across channels, but if they switch agents, their previous interactions are saved, so they don’t have to re-explain their issues.
Contact Flow Builder
Contact flow is defined as the customer experience from the first to last interaction, including configuring logging behavior, customizing voice, collecting customer inputs, playing commands, and routing to the appropriate queue. Contact center managers can quickly identify unique, personalized, and automated customer experiences using Amazon Connect’s contact flow builder’s graphical user interface.
Develop custom contact flows that change automatically in real-time to the caller experience. Additionally, Amazon Connect is highly adaptable and enables you to leverage additional AWS services within Amazon Connect.
By connecting AWS Lambda to virtually any back-end system, you can easily pull in data such as previous purchases, contact history, and customer preferences. You can use this information to forecast end-customer requirements and provide answer before the customer has time to ask.
AWS Connect Contact Flow Example
Comprehending your contact center on a detailed level is essential for optimizing performance and reducing costs. Amazon Connect provides a graphical dashboard with configurable real-time and historical indicators.
Additionally, you can use Amazon Connect to stream your most intricate metrics to a data lake of your choice, where they can be combined and analyzed with other data points, such as conversions or customer satisfaction.
This enables your contact center manager to make informative decisions based on data about improving agent efficiency and decreasing customer wait times. Moreover, historical indicators provide longer-term insights into popular customer service issues and overall performance outcomes.
Amazon Connect Partner
An Amazon Connect partner is equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you deploy complex contact center solutions on AWS.
Amazon Connect Pricing
To kick things off, AWS Connect offers you to make use of their intuitive call center solution from their AWS Free Tier, allowing you to test it out for the first 12 months on them.
When you first begin, you get 90 minutes of Amazon Connect service per month with a direct inward dial (DID) number from the country on the AWS region you’re located. You also receive 30 minutes of inbound calls and 30 minutes of outbound calls to numbers based in the AWS region that you’re located.
Costs vary per AWS country and region. To get a full rundown of prices for AWS Connect, visit this page.
Amazon Connect Tip #3: Confirm that you are using a a supported web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Mozilla Firefox Extended Support Release.
How to get started with Amazon Connect
Businesses worldwide are migrating their contact centers to Amazon Connect to increase customer satisfaction, accelerate time to innovation, boost agent productivity, and reduce costs. However, provisioning your AWS Connect call center can be complicated and time-consuming. In addition, you risk losing valuable time and money, especially if your migration window is constrained.
Consider hiring an AWS Certified Connect Developer who is well-versed in and experienced with deploying complex call center solutions. When you work with an AWS partner, you gain access to a dynamic AWS skill set and best practices for maximizing your AWS investment. Furthermore, Connect Partners have been vetted and validated by Amazon to help AWS customers deliver with confidence.
A partner will help you establish a strong gameplan, assessing your migration readiness and evaluating expected costs.
Speak with an AWS Connect Partner ➟
This is a status to indicate an organization has proven technical expertise that is directly compatible with AWS tools. It’s a great way to give an organization added value and there are plenty of advantages from advancing through the tiers, from funding to additional resources to funding and additional materials for marketing. The jump from one tier to another is dependent on how many certified individuals are in the organization and their relative experience working with Amazon Services.
Amazon Web Services cloud technology is a continuously growing field with plenty of opportunities on offer. While the inner workings of the cloud is not knowledge that can be easily picked up and utilized, the AWS cloud is not completely esoteric either. Amazon provides several different avenues for becoming certified in how to work with AWS with study material and exams to pursue as a means of further expanding potential business opportunities.
Understandably, making the jump to the AWS cloud is not an easy investment to evaluate, especially from the perspective of a startup. Fortunately, AWS is generous enough to provide some hands-on experience with its various tools and utilities free of charge for either a short period of time or indefinitely depending on the service type. Here’s a rundown of everything you can expect from AWS’ Free Tier.