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The global cloud contact center market was pegged at $11.5 billion last year, a figure that’s expected to more than triple within four years as part of a broader push toward cloud-based technologies. Amazon launched Amazon Connect back in 2017, packaging various cloud services as an off-the-shelf, cloud-based contact center product for any company to use. Amazon Connect is essentially designed to attract companies to Amazon’s cloud, a move that prompted rival Google to launch its own cloud-based contact center offering.
Last December, Amazon announced a bunch of new features for Amazon Connect, two of which were only available as part of a preview program. Today, those features enter general availability for all businesses.
Your voice is your passport
Amazon Connect Voice ID leans on machine learning (ML) to authenticate callers in real time. This not only speeds up the user authentication process by eliminating traditional security questions (e.g. What’s your date of birth and your mother’s maiden name?), it also goes some way toward identifying fraud by comparing a caller’s voice with recordings of known bad actors.
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Besides monitoring voice characteristics, Voice ID looks at carrier network metadata to further assess the legitimacy of the caller and whether they pose a low or high fraud risk. Contact center agents must first request and receive the caller’s consent to use Amazon Connect Voice ID. But in all future exchanges, customers who have previously consented can be verified almost instantly.
The second feature to exit preview today is Amazon Connect Wisdom, which connects disparate data sources, such as documentation, FAQs, knowledge articles, and more to serve agents with instant access to the answers they need to field questions. This includes prebuilt connectors for applications such as Salesforce and ServiceNow.
Using real-time speech analytics and natural language processing (NLP), Wisdom also strives to identify issues a customer is having during a call and proactively surfaces suggestions and recommendations for the agent.
Today, Amazon also debuted a feature in preview called “high-volume outbound communications” that spans calls, SMS, and emails. This is designed for scenarios in which a contact center has to reach out to the customer, rather than the other way around. For example, an agent may need to get in touch to resolve a complaint, conduct a survey, or clarify a response to an earlier question. This could alleviate a common pain point for businesses that have to cobble together products from different providers to create a single platform that can manage both inbound and outbound communications.
With high-volume outbound communications, Amazon Connect users will be able to proactively contact millions of customers “without having to integrate third-party tools,” according to Amazon. They will be charged on a per-minute rate for outbound calls and per message for email and SMS.
Moreover, the product will ship with a bunch of smarts, including a predictive dialer so customer service agents don’t have to wait for recipients to pick up their phone. The dialer will automatically call multiple customers from a prebuilt list, limiting the number of calls to however many agents are available. When a human answers the phone, they’re automatically connected to a live agent.
These various outreach capabilities can also be combined intelligently. For example, it’s possible to send a number of customers text messages or emails asking them to confirm an appointment, and those who fail to respond within a set period of time will automatically be called.
Amazon hasn’t revealed when the high-volume outbound communications functionality will be available to every company, but Amazon Connect customers in U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), and Europe (London) can apply for preview access from today.
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