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Transform customer service with Amazon Connect: Lessons from AWS Contact Centre Day

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  • Post published:July 27, 2021
  • Reading time:9 mins read

Here’s a universal truth many of us don’t spend enough time thinking about: Fixing a poor customer service experience is more expensive than providing a good one.

A customer with a bad experience could decide to take it online and leave a poor review. They could end up back in your service pipeline, wasting the time and resources of your team over the same issue. Worst of all, they could lose interest and simply take their business elsewhere without you realising.

Providing good customer service is increasingly important, and Amazon knows that better than anyone else. In their first ever Contact Centre Day event, AWS explored the evolution and innovation behind contact centre technology, and gave us an inside look at how some of their customers use Amazon Connect and other AWS products to develop and maintain a high level of customer service.

Here are some of our key takeaways that your business most definitely should consider.

 

How has the customer service experience evolved?

Let’s start with this simple fact in mind: 91% of customers believe that a positive customer service experience will make them likely to purchase with the business again. Yet, according to the same report by Salesforce, more than half of their customer service and support interactions with businesses have felt fragmented. That’s a significant disconnect.

Customers’ needs and expectations have evolved over time, but remain centred around convenience. If I asked you to describe “convenient”, you’d likely use the terms “fast”, “easy”, “clear”, “accessible” or “efficient” in your explanation, and you’d be right. That’s exactly what customers today expect. If you don’t provide convenience to customers, they will simply look for it elsewhere.

We now live in a world where everything is a click, tap or swipe away. This means that your goal is to eliminate the customer’s required effort as much as you can, as fast as you can. While that probably sounds intimidating and impossible, it’s actually neither.

The rapid progress of cloud technology has drastically changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Amazon has become a leader in customer service technology for no other reason than the fact that they themselves use it to provide excellent customer service in their own business, now becoming the standard which many businesses look to.

As one of the world’s largest retailers and service providers, supporting millions of customers in over 30 countries and dozens of languages, it’s obvious Amazon has likely encountered every imaginable customer service scenario, and why they are leading the change in meeting evolved customer experience expectations with Amazon Connect.

 

A brief introduction to Amazon Connect

Since its release in 2017, Amazon Connect has continued to grow and improve, releasing over 160 major features in the product and battle-testing them within Amazon’s own real-world customer environments.

Customers are smarter than ever before, and as they shift their presence online, so should your service approach. As teams move to more digital and remote practices, adopting a flexible digital contact centre model is the next logical step that benefits both parties.

Amazon Connect makes it easy for even non-technical team members to design customer interaction flows and track performance metrics. As a true cloud-based omnichannel contact centre, Amazon Connect’s key elements we’re most excited about are the:

  1. Self-service configuration that’s both easy to set up (think “drag and drop” blocks) and test before you go live.
  2. AI-powered features allowing for smarter and faster customer resolutions. Build chatbots using the same speech recognition and natural language technology that powers Amazon Alexa, help your agents get to the right knowledge articles faster with Amazon Connect Wisdom, and identify callers in real-time using Amazon Connect Voice ID.
  3. Fair, manageable costs with a “pay for what you use” model. Amazon Connect is a pay-as-you-go service with no lock-in commitments or upfront payments.

 

Transforming your contact centre with Amazon Connect

You can expect three major outcomes from using Amazon Connect to transform your customer service team:

  1. Personalised engagements

    Historically, customer authentication and verification can slow the process down. With customer authentication and voice biometrics readily built into Amazon Connect, you can authenticate your customer while they’re on the line.

    Along with integrations to your customer databases, Amazon Connect pulls the relevant data to give your agents the latest information to help the customer faster.

  2. Automated customer outcomes

    Customers want the time spent with your contact centre to be productive. They’re not interested in wasting time going back and forth in different service streams and repeating their issues to different team members.

    By building automation workflows into your customer service, you’re helping customers more easily step through their desired outcome without any obstacles, while putting them in control of the service path.

    Automation also leads to scalability; as you build your workflows and rules, you can build on it extensively across your channels and teams. For multi-site businesses, this means easily replicating your best service flows for other locations and teams in a matter of minutes, reducing costs significantly.

  3. Adaptable to changes

    As much of the world remains unpredictable, so too are customer wants and needs. Flights are constantly being changed or cancelled, items bought online are being returned or changed, and food delivery orders are altered beyond the norm.

    Whatever the case, your business needs to have the flexibility to not only make these changes, but also manage the customer service leading to them. Amazon Connect helps you quickly make changes and use A/B testing methods to test which service flows are best for your customers.

 

Real Amazon Connect customer examples

Of course, we understand that no amount of points carry much weight if we can’t back it up with examples, so here are some of our favourites.

Origin

One of Australia’s largest energy companies, Origin underwent a large-scale CX transformation and leveraged Amazon Connect to accelerate the service team’s ability to work remotely while enabling automated, self-service customer functions, such as bill payments and plan renewals.

Watch the video →

“Since our March 2020 launch, we’ve seen increased call quality scores, improved customer satisfaction and agent productivity – all while managing up to 1,200 calls at a time.”

Rod Van Onselen, Chief Transformation and Digital Officer, Origin Energy

Juniper

Juniper has grown to become one of Western Australia’s leading aged care service providers. With a largely casual workforce, they needed a seamless and scalable way to manage and distribute important information.

Read the case study →

“Amazon Connect is an immediate response to address the current need. Similar to Amazon Chime, it’s a platform that we can tap into and scale up rapidly if we face an influx of calls.”

Dan Beeston, ICT manager, Juniper

Johns Creek, Georgia

As a suburban municipality wither over 800,000 residents, Johns Creek is often finding innovative new ways to leverage technology to make residents’ lives better, even being recognised with the “City on a Cloud” award by AWS. Building on their existing AWS foundations, Johns Creek decided to create an after-hours call centre in Amazon Connect.

Read the case study →

“Amazon Connect enabled us to build an intelligent automated call center that helps answer residents’ questions any time they call, while using the same chatbot and infrastructure that powers our Alexa skill and ‘CreekBot’ (our website’s text-based chatbot). With all of these tools living in AWS we can keep our costs low, our service level high, and our staff laser-focused on improving our residents’ experience with the city.”

Nick O’Day, Chief Data Officer, City of Johns Creek

 

Transformation best practices

To reach big goals, you have to first take small steps. Our tips on best practice stages to help you successfully migrate to Amazon Connect’s cloud-based contact centre are:

  1. Build an improvement plan based on understanding your current contact centre climate

    How do your customers seek support currently? What is their typical interaction with your team like? How long does that interaction normally take, and what obstacles are present? How do issues get escalated? How do agents find information?

    Map out every interaction point your customer currently goes through, which points your agents get involved, and where both parties would get stuck or the process may break down. Be realistic and ruthless at this stage and get your service team involved in detailing the full picture. Seeing this detailed overview will help you build your improved map where challenging points can be solved or improved on, and speed up resolution outcomes.

  2. Start with a pilot/proof of concept (POC)

    You have your plan, now it’s time to test it out. Amazon Connect lets you build as simple or complex a service workflow as you want, with the ability to change it anytime if you need to.

    Use this stage to implement a small-scale pilot, let’s say with only one store or only at certain hours of the day. This will help you and select team members try out a live version of a digital, automated contact centre with real customers.

    Feel free to ask customers for their feedback and tweak your workflows further until it’s reached the desired outcome.

  3. Accelerate and scale your processes

    Amazon Connect makes it easy to replicate your service flows across your business. Once you’ve tried and tested your workflows to positive results, you can scale it to the rest of your business to start delivering consistent, high-quality customer service.

    Remember that while there is likely to be some differences in your customer service procedures across different locations, hours, or business function, you should keep your service flows as consistent as possible.

 

We can help you get started

We understand it can be confusing or overwhelming to get started. You may be lacking the time, under-resourced, new to automation, new to AWS, or some combination of all these things.

All you need is the desire to improve and create greater efficiencies in your customer service pipeline, and we can help you take care of the rest. As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, we’re equipped to help you get started with Amazon Connect – in fact, we use it too.

Get in touch find out more about Amazon Connect, or chat to us about your customer service goals.

 

Nadia Nyaz

Nadia is a marketing and growth specialist in the tech industry, with a personal interest in organisational culture and using technology to create a more sustainable future. Since joining the Strategenics team, Nadia has focused on further developing the brand and expanding its reach to new markets.