Today at Enterprise Connect, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), shared new business momentum milestones and announced three new capabilities for Amazon Connect that improve contact center agent productivity and provide superior service by making customer interactions more effective, personal, and natural. AWS shared for the first time that tens of thousands of AWS customers are supporting more than 10 million contact center interactions a day on Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use, highly scalable, and cost-effective omnichannel cloud contact center solution. The new features announced today are designed to give agents the right information at the right time to answer customer questions faster, provide fast and secure caller authentication, and make communicating with customers easier and more efficient. To get started with Amazon Connect, visit aws.amazon.com/connect/.
Customer experience is vital for any business, but traditional contact center technologies are often difficult to use and fail to give companies the flexibility to keep up with the demands and changing needs of their customers. That explains why tens of thousands of AWS customers choose Amazon Connect to provide superior customer service at lower cost. Decades ago, Amazon built the world’s most scalable, functional, and cost-effective contact center service to manage the dramatic growth and scale of Amazon’s retail business. Over the years, customers have asked AWS if it would build an external contact center service using the DNA of Amazon’s own service. Amazon Connect does this by generalizing Amazon’s contact center software into a service that reinvents the contact center customer experience from the ground up in the cloud and with embedded machine learning. With Amazon Connect, organizations get a contact center that can be configured and set up in minutes, requires no infrastructure to deploy or manage, is easy to use, scales up and down as contact volumes change, and is much more cost effective because companies only pay for the time agents are actually interacting with customers.
The three new capabilities announced today build on the more than 130 new Amazon Connect price reductions, features, and enhancements that AWS has delivered since the launch of Amazon Connect to make it even easier to provide excellent customer experiences:
- Real-time agent assistance (now generally available): Amazon Connect Wisdom gives agents immediate access to the wide range of product and service information they need to solve customer issues as they’re actively speaking with customers. Today, many contact center agents rely on sources of data siloed across knowledge management systems that are not integrated with the applications contact center agents use when interacting with customers. Because of this, agents are forced to spend valuable time manually searching across data sources for information to solve customer issues and are unable to help customers quickly. Amazon Connect Wisdom ingests and organizes content that agents need (e.g. FAQs, help articles, service briefs, etc.) from homegrown databases and a company’s third-party knowledge repositories, with pre-built connectors to Salesforce and ServiceNow. When used with Contact Lens for Amazon Connect, Amazon Connect Wisdom leverages machine learning powered speech analytics to automatically detect customer issues during calls and then recommend content in real-time to help resolve the issue, so that agents don’t have to manually search. For example, Contact Lens for Amazon Connect can detect when a customer says “arrived broken” to an agent, and Amazon Connect Wisdom automatically displays instructions in the Amazon Connect agent application for exchanging an item. Additionally, agents can use Amazon Connect Wisdom to search across data repositories to find answers and quickly resolve customer issues during a conversation. Agents simply type a question or phrase, and Amazon Connect Wisdom is designed to return the most relevant information and best answer to handle the customer issue. For example, an agent could type “how do I exchange an item?” and Amazon Connect Wisdom will search the connected data store and return an answer with links to more detailed information. Amazon Connect Wisdom provides agents with the right information at the right time, so agents can more quickly and effectively resolve customer issues.
- Caller authentication (now generally available): Amazon Connect Voice ID provides real-time caller authentication using machine learning powered voice analysis. Previously, contact centers had to use authentication processes based on personal information, where callers had to answer multiple questions based on details like a social security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name, which is time consuming and can be exploited for fraud. Amazon Connect Voice ID provides real-time caller authentication without disrupting natural conversation. With Amazon Connect Voice ID, callers are given the option to authenticate themselves by using their voice, offering them an additional layer of security and saving them from the hassle of having to answer multiple questions to verify their identity. When a caller chooses to enroll, Amazon Connect Voice ID uses machine learning to analyze the caller’s speech attributes (e.g. rhythm, pitch, and tone) during the first few seconds of a call and then creates a secure digital voiceprint for the caller. When the customer calls again, Amazon Connect Voice ID compares the caller’s voiceprint to the claimed identity and assigns a confidence score, authenticating only if the caller’s score meets the confidence score threshold set by the organization. If the caller doesn’t meet the threshold, an agent can verify their identity through additional screening (e.g. knowledge-based authentication). Amazon Connect Voice ID also lets companies create a custom watchlist with audio recordings of known fraudsters and automatically flags suspicious callers to lower fraudulent attacks—making contact center operations more secure and reducing losses due to fraud.
- High-volume outbound communications (now in preview): New capabilities in Amazon Connect give contact centers intelligent and embedded high-volume outbound communications across multiple channels (calls, texts, and emails). Many businesses today are constrained by legacy contact center technologies that only allow inbound communications and rely on separate applications and tools to reach customers with outbound communications. Integrating tools for outbound communications into contact centers is time consuming, expensive, and difficult to manage because each outbound communication channel (calls, texts, or emails) requires separate applications—resulting in a solution that lacks flexibility and is difficult to scale to high volumes. Amazon Connect’s high-volume outbound communications for calls, texts, and emails now give organizations a simple, embedded, cost-effective way to contact millions of customers daily for communications like marketing promotions, appointment reminders, and upcoming delivery notifications without having to integrate third-party tools. Contact center managers can easily schedule and launch high-volume outbound communications by simply specifying the communications channel, contact list, and content that will be sent to customers. The new communication capabilities include a predictive dialer that automatically calls customers in a list, but throttles outreach based on agent availability. The dialer also uses a machine learning model to distinguish between a live customer, voicemail greeting, or busy signal to increase agent efficiency by ensuring agents only connect to a live customer. For example, a large hospital healthcare network can send texts and emails to ask patients to confirm upcoming appointments, and then automatically call all patients that fail to respond. High-volume outbound communications give companies the ability to more efficiently communicate with their customers across channels at scale without having to perform difficult and expensive third-party integrations.
“With tens of thousands of AWS customers after just four years and more than 10 million customer interactions every day, Amazon Connect has become one of AWS’s fastest growing services ever,” said Pasquale DeMaio, General Manager, Amazon Connect, AWS. “Today’s three features build on this powerful foundation to make it even simpler for contact centers to provide a superior customer service. Now, businesses can give agents the ability find answers faster, provide customers with a more secure and efficient experience, and quickly scale their outbound communications.”
Traeger Grills has been the outdoor cooking choice of food enthusiasts. “As we have grown our customer base and diversified our product offerings, one of our biggest challenges has been organizing relevant information for our agents in real time, so when we heard about Amazon Connect Wisdom, we were ecstatic,” said Bryan Carey, Head of Operations and Analytics, Traeger Grills. “Integrating Amazon Connect Wisdom into our contact center has enabled our agents to focus on delivering premiere customer experiences instead of spending time navigating complex systems to identify customer issues. So far, agents using Amazon Connect Wisdom have seen an increase in customer satisfaction and first contact resolution of roughly 15%. They have also decreased their call handle times by roughly 15%. Amazon Connect Wisdom will be a cornerstone of our efforts to continue optimizing our customer service by equipping our agents with the information they need to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible. We are also excited about the capabilities within Amazon Connect Voice ID, adding it to our IVR will protect against fraud while making it easier for our customers to quickly and securely authenticate themselves with their own voice on self-serve channels.”
Labcorp is a global life sciences company that provides vital information to help doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, and patients in more than 100 countries. “Labcorp Diagnostics is looking to improve our call center experience while also improving efficiency. With Amazon Connect, we will be able to better manage our agent queues spanning clinical questions, billing activities, and appointment scheduling; provide end-to-end visibility into tasks; increase agent performance; and produce actionable analytics for us to advance our customer service experience,” said Lance Berberian, Chief Information and Technology Officer at Labcorp. “The cloud contact center’s seamless integrations with other AWS-hosted applications and services will improve agent workflows and decrease training time by allowing us to provide the right information to the right agent at the right time. Additionally, Amazon Connect Voice ID will deliver real-time voice authentication for our clients and agents to provide a frictionless experience that’s more secure, saves time, reduces fraud, and improves customer satisfaction.”
Relatient helps healthcare organizations engage their patients through automated outreach and messaging. “Relatient has been providing automated patient engagement services to the medical community since 2014. Our legacy voice delivery system was built through open-source communication software. As we continue to grow our customer base and provide just-in-time messages during events like the pandemic, we need a platform that is easy to scale and will handle the future outbound dialer volume,” said Kevin Montgomery, Chief Innovation Officer, Relatient Inc. “With Amazon Connect, we will have a robust feature set to offer customers so they can improve their outreach to patients. We will be able to easily scale up and down based on customer demand, offer chatbot technology to our customers so patients can quickly get answers to simple questions, and provide automated communications. We’re particularly excited about Amazon Connect’s new high-volume outbound communications for voice. The automated communications will make it easier for our customers to notify patients about upcoming appointments or gaps in care, which will improve efficiency and patient satisfaction.”
Priceline is an online travel agency for finding discount rates for travel-related purchases such as airline tickets and hotel stays. “Priceline began using Amazon Connect in March 2019 to provide customers with a superior service experience and easily adjust call flows, scripts, and queues on the fly. This was critical with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jennifer Featherling, Director of Contact Center Technology, Priceline. “Early on, call volumes spiked by more than 300%. But with Amazon Connect, we responded faster than ever before—moving more than 1,000 agents to work from home overnight and introducing queued callbacks. After just 20 minutes of work, we pivoted our operations to prioritize the most urgent cases—customers traveling within the next 72 hours—and provided less-urgent callers with a fully automated path to resolve their issues. Today, as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the agility Amazon Connect provides remains an invaluable asset to our customer service team.”
Washington D.C. government agencies support the citizens of D.C. with critical services, such as child support, access to healthcare, community safety, and more. “The District of Columbia turned to Amazon Connect to modernize its contact center operations across dozens of departments, improve the caller experience, and take advantage of the data-rich analytics. Before the pandemic, only a few departments had made the transition, but as infections spiked and calls surged, 30,000 employees and agents suddenly needed to go remote, and departments using legacy systems were not equipped to support it,” said Cynthia Romero, Unified Communications Engineer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), D.C. Government. “Since then, more than 40 agencies, such as the Department of Health and Child Support Services, have moved to Amazon Connect because it’s fast to implement, easy to use, and more cost effective than legacy solutions. Standardizing on Amazon Connect is better for the public and easier for our employees.”
The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is one of the largest state universities in the United States. “The College of Liberal Arts at UT launched the new contact center on Amazon Connect as the campus transitioned to working, learning, and teaching from home due to the pandemic,” said Antonino Cummings, PMP, Principal Project Manager, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, UT Austin. “Deploying the new contact center has had a major impact on overall student satisfaction. In an end-of-semester student survey conducted by the College of Liberal Arts for summer and fall 2020, 84% of students said their technical issues were ‘easy to resolve’ through online tech support. Student wait time also dropped to less than 30 seconds to talk to an agent at similar staffing levels, compared to average wait times of greater than 15 minutes before the implementation. With Amazon Connect, we’ve made it easy for students, faculty, and staff to contact support agents and get issues resolved.”
Brunello Cucinelli is an Italian luxury fashion brand that sells menswear, women’s wear, and accessories in Europe, North America, and East Asia. “Our company has always tried to place the human being at the heart of our business. Even when we redesigned our online boutique, our desire was to keep our customers at the center of the Brunello Cucinelli digital world,” said Francesco Bottigliero, Brunello Cucinelli’s iCEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed how important it is to offer omnichannel customer assistance that is increasingly mindful to people’s needs. For this reason, we leveraged Amazon Connect and Salesforce Service Cloud Voice to build a contact center that can assist each customer with tailored support, in their preferred language and time zone. The real-time transcription and the integration with Salesforce Service Cloud allow our client advisors to always provide meaningful support, while the call analytics help us measure and improve our customer service. We are excited to continue building with Amazon Connect and leverage its cutting-edge technology to provide our client advisors the tools they need to build long-term and trust-based relationships with customers.”
SIXT is a leading global mobility service provider with over 2,000 locations in approximately 110 countries. “Car rentals are critical to our business and often see the most urgent requests in our customer service center, so we decided to pilot Amazon Connect Chat to give immediate and personal service to customers on the go,” said Dr. Peter Beermann, Executive Vice President, Network & Customer Management, SIXT. “The results of the pilot were impressive. When we assessed our standard ‘Customer Excitement’ metrics, Amazon Connect Chat performed 20% better than our legacy customer service channels, and our first contact resolution rate rose to more than 90% satisfaction. With such great results, we will continue to innovate with Amazon Connect.”
Morrisons is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom with 11 million weekly customers. “Morrisons wanted a contact centre provider with self-serve tools that could shorten our average time to resolution and simplify the process we use to make changes to our scripts and call flows,” said Jordan McLean, Technology Director, Morrisons. “With Amazon Connect, we can now pivot our contact centre operations in an instant. During the pandemic, we were able to get everyone in the centre working from home within a day, and then add agents to support six times the average weekly call volume. We can also adjust our automated communications in just a few minutes—that’s a process that used to take five to 10 business days. With Amazon Connect, we’ve been able to simplify and speed up our processes and continuously improve customer experiences.”
Vodafone NZ is one of the largest telecom providers in New Zealand with almost three million connections. “We selected Amazon Connect because it helps us provide a better experience to our customers,” said Mark Fitzgerald, Head of Digital Tools, Vodafone NZ. “We’ve almost finished our implementation and we’re already seeing improvements in our customer satisfaction metrics. Amazon Connect has helped us simplify our contact center operations by drawing on artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to automate our most common requests. We’ve also built voice and chat channels to offer customers a personalized experience, reduce wait times, and help solve customer issues faster. With Amazon Connect, we are confident we will be able to scale our contact center and adjust to our customers’ needs in real time as we strive to continually raise the bar on our customer experience.”
University of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest university with over 40,000 students enrolled across seven campuses in Auckland. “As part of our commitment to continuously improving the student experience, we set out to build a cloud-based contact center that students and all our staff could use to quickly get information about course details, enrollment, and results,” said Bharat Kochar, Cloud Transformation Program Manager, University of Auckland. “We have worked with our AWS Partner, Consegna, to consolidate our contact center in the cloud in just twelve weeks. An exciting feature we were able to offer was allowing students to connect directly with the agent they last interacted with, creating a more personalized experience. One of the things we are most excited about is leveraging Contact Lens for Amazon Connect to give agents access to caller data in real time, improving their ability to serve callers. With Amazon Connect, we no longer worry about accommodating peak volumes and focus instead on improving our service to our students and faculty.”
CI Financial is a Canadian global wealth management and asset management advisory company with more than $300 billion in assets. “We wanted to upgrade our legacy contact center to improve customer service, optimize business performance, and grow our client base, and Amazon Connect’s easy-to-use features and integrations with services like Amazon Polly stood out as the best option to drive these initiatives within the contact center,” said Lisa Running, Vice President of Client Services, CI Financial. “In a matter of months, we completely transformed the experience for our customers that call us. We’ve been able to speed up our queue time by 30%, shorten interactive voice response call duration by 33%, and cut IVR change management from 2.5 weeks to five minutes—a difference of 99.98%. Now, we have a prime opportunity to push the standards for customer experience in the finance industry forward because of the flexibility and ease of implementation of Amazon Connect.”
IMB Bank is a 141-year-old, member-owned financial institution based in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. “Amazon Connect stood out for us because of its native capabilities and flexibility to integrate into other environments seamlessly,” said Robert Ryan, Chief Executive, IMB Bank. “With native Amazon Connect dashboards, IMB has a better view of customer data—this helps us devise more effective communication strategies and customer-centric workflows. We were impressed by the short time it took to build a prototype using the Amazon Polly text-to-speech service. We are now able to update IVR workflows within minutes, a process that would have taken weeks using the previous system.”
Ring provides smart home security devices and services to make neighborhoods safer. “Amazon Connect helps us deliver a more compelling support experience to our neighbors, what we call customers,” said Jon Irwin, Chief Neighbor Experience Officer, Ring. “It starts with the agents. Before Amazon Connect, our internal customer experience systems were siloed, making it challenging for agents to find information. We integrated our internal systems, such as our customer relationship management and device performance monitoring, with Amazon Connect to provide a single experience for our agents. Now, they have more context because they know the device performance quality and past customer engagements before even getting on the call. We are also able to better scale our support services with Amazon Connect. Every year, our call volumes spike around the holidays, which used to take months of planning to get prepared, but now we can quickly stand up new contact centers to support the business. Across the board, Amazon Connect gives us more agility to serve our customers. We can proactively provide messages based on what’s happening in a region, scale to meet demand, and anticipate customer needs, so we can direct them to the right agent, faster.”