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Amazon Connect the Call Center!

Amazon Connect allows you to tap the very rich library of AWS Services including AI, Natural Language Processing, text to speech, transcriptions and translations!   Your Amazon Connect instance is scalable, resilient and fully redundant in the most widely respect cloud on the planet.  If you can “dream”  it, you can create a call center that meets your exact requirements.   Amazon Connect enables even a non-technical professional the simplicity of configuring an inbound call flow, attaching a phone number, defining agents and operating hours and in less than an hour, you are taking phone calls.

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Our youtube channel has a a complete set of tutorials that explain how to configure a Call Center built on Amazon Connect. One of the benefits of Amazon Connect is the wide range of services available within the AWS cloud to enhance call center functionality. LEX Speech Recognition, natural language processing, BOTS, artificial intelligence, transcriptions and language translations are just a few of the services that a developer can enable in a call center instance.
We previously published a tutorial on LEX so this particular tutorial does not cover the basics. Continue Reading...

Amazon Connect Basic Pricing Model

Even the most hostile competitor will grant that Amazon has changed the pricing game in call center technology.   "No license fees" and "pay only for what you use" are compelling strategies that would stop a man on a galloping horse!   Amazon typically summarizes the cost of its Connect call center as consisting of three components; the service usage charge, the cost of a ten digit voice number and the cost per minute of using that voice number.

Pricing Examples

An end-customer calls using an Amazon Connect US toll-free number in the US East (N.

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Simplicity!

Clearly the self service configuration of an AWS Connect instance is easy enough for a call center supervisor to setup! The drag and drop "contact flow" steps are easy to understand and simplify the configuration of a basic inbound call center.  There are however many other services in the AWS Cloud tool kit that even a basic call center will need to draw on. These basic services include Polly text to speech, S3 storage "buckets" for phone recordings and reports at a minimum.

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Need to be able to route SMS and MMS to your AWS Connect Call Center? The Dextr Dashboard now enables incoming TEXT messages to be sent to the next available AWS Connect agent. Messages can be TEXT (SMS) or PICTURES (MMS)! The classic use case is sales returns, insurance and technical support applications in which sending a picture is worth more than 1000 words! Continue Reading...

Providing options for callers to you contact center after normal business hours is always a good practice. Our standard “after hours call handler” makes use of several options:

  • Send Caller to Voice Mail or Message Center
  • Send a Text Alert to an on call team member
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The text notification step requires some additional AWS services including PinPoint, SNS and Lambda functions. For this option to work, you will need to setup an SNS topic and make use of PinPoint to get a phone number to associate with the call block.

In the above call flow block, we invoke the lambda function when the caller selects that they want a call back from the on call team member.

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Making the caller “comfortable” while waiting in queue for the next available agent is the primary role of a “customer queue flow”. Our standard practice is to provide a range of options that can be turned on or off as desirable for a specific CSQ. The main greeting contact flow discussed in Part 1 will attempt to hand the caller off to an available agent, but if none are available, the caller is moved to the customer queue flow.

The “customer queue flow” we typically provide does some initial setup and status checking:

  • Set Loop Prompts (Music and messages and time)
  • Check Queue Status
  • Check Call Back hours of Operation
  • Play EWT prompt
  • The Offer the Caller options (Wait, Voice mail and Call Back)

In our standard queue hold we check the queue status for “time in queue” of 3 minutes.

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Every Call Center is in fact unique, but the all share a common theme that can be encoded for recreating deployments quickly. Generally we divide Contact flows up into manageable contact flows that compartmentalize call handling. For example we generally create a MainGreeting, QueueHandling and After hours Call Handling call flow and these three basic contact flow blocks provide some very powerful options!

Generally, we attach the incoming phone number to the MainGreeting Contact flow.

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One of the most challenging implementation tasks for an implementation engineer or application developer is getting the client stake holders to agree on customer audio prompts! Having implemented hundreds of call center solutions, having to wait for the client to get their IVR scripts together is the “black hole” of project management. So many other parts of the enterprise have their finger prints on the content of a customer voice prompt. From the call center managers to the legal department, everyone wants to comment on this implementation detail.

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One of the most challenging implementation tasks for an implementation engineer or application developer is getting the client stake holders to agree on customer audio prompts! Having implemented hundreds of call center solutions, having to wait for the client to get their IVR scripts together is the “black hole” of project management. So many other parts of the enterprise have their finger prints on the content of a customer voice prompt. From the call center managers to the legal department, everyone wants to comment on this implementation detail.

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#AWSConnect Custom Integration tools!

February 4th, 2019

If you have taken the time to experiment with AWS Connect and the creation of a cloud call center instance, you know that the basic setup is achievable by a business analyst and no implementation engineer is required. This is good news for very simple, inbound call centers but if you are planning to connect with the rest of the enterprise, you will need some folks skilled in full stake web service development.

No Call Center is an Island!

Call Center as a business process and customer experience management, require that the call center be able to communicate with other information resources throughout the enterprise. The interface between the AWS Connect call center instance and the rest of your organization will must certainly require both middleware and API’s that make use of advanced software development tools within AWS!

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AWS Connect CCP

Building out call centers on AWS, you learn a lot about opportunities for productivity enhancements!   One of the first issues that we noted was that the standard Contact Control Panel or CCP, which is basically a WebRTC soft phone client, though very useful has many opportunities for improving the Agent experience.   The list of request features is growing and as a result, we have taken on the development of  a customizable AWS Connect Agent Dashboard!

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January 14th, 2019
CallBackFlow-3-1024x508 #AWSConnect Arrange a Call Back from Queue?

Setting up options for Callers waiting in Queue for “the next available representative” often include offering a call back option. Generally, it is a best practice to not offer this option immediately but queue the caller for some time before offering this option. They have already called in and you have answered the call, so let them wait a few minutes before offering bail out options. 

Common Call Flow Errors!

One of the most common errors in call center call flow planning is allowing a customer caller to queue for an Agent when no agents are logged in!

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AWS Deployment Check list!

January 28, 2019 1:56 PM

Why Consider AWS Connect?

Considering the build out of an AWS Connect Call Center?   You should be!  This cloud based, self service solution has significant competitive advantages over the existing mountain of virtual call center providers.   Some of these advantages are clear an unambiguous:

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The Cloud Call Center Problem Statement!

A very common call center requirement is the ability to route a call based on the DNIS number dialed.  This is simple enough when you have only a few DNIS numbers to manage, but consider this application:   Consider a central call center that provides centralized appointment scheduling for some 600+ medical offices.    The call center agents are required to answer an inbound call with a custom answer greeting that is based on the medical office that cares for that patient.   The solution in place today requires the cloud platform to have a unique DNIS for each of 600 medical offices. 

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