Amazon for Call Centers? AWS Launches Connect for Contact Center Infrastructure

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is adding to its fleet of products with Amazon Connect  which launched March 28. Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center infrastructure tool geared towards enabling businesses to provide better customer service experiences. The software comes standard with most of the functionality expected from a contact center infrastructure product such as inbound and outbound call routing, and real-time reporting metrics to help management make data-driven decisions.

Since Connect is a member of the AWS family, it also benefits from other Amazon tools like Amazon Lex, one of its artificial intelligence (AI) services that has the same automatic speech recognition technology and natural language understanding used by Amazon Alexa. Lex will enable machines to get better at recognizing voice prompts, and as the AI gets smarter and smarter, it will be more effective at answering actual questions. The result of these improvements? Fewer people required to run a contact center, saving businesses quite a bit of money.

Benefits of Amazon Connect

Amazon was dissatisfied with the solutions available in the contact center infrastructure space and decided to build its own. Its agents have been using the tool, and now they’re offering it to Amazon’s customers.

Amazon claims setup of the service can be done in minutes with just a few clicks so that agents can begin taking calls right away. It claims that the product’s ease of launch is due to the lack of onsite infrastructure required for deployment. Since it’s a cloud-based product, it’s highly scalable. Amazon claims Connect has no issues adding or subtracting thousands of agents in response to business cycles.

Affordability is another advantage Amazon claims Connect will have over competition. It is offered as an on-demand service, meaning users will pay based on their per-minute usage—not capacity, agent seats or maintenance. Because of this, the product is ostensibly not only scalable from a functionality perspective, but also a pricing one.  

In addition to flexibility and usability, Connect also integrates with other AWS products, and third-party software like Salesforce. By integrating with a CRM tool, customer service reps will be armed with customer information when they receive an inbound call, allowing them to be more prepared to efficiently and effectively meet customer needs.

What Does the Data Say?

According to G2 data as of March 27, 2017, users of contact center infrastructure software are generally satisfied, but not over the moon. Of the products with 10 or more reviews that fall into this category, 81 percent of users say they’d be likely to recommend the product they are using. Looking at the average satisfaction ratings, we can see how users feel about contact center infrastructure software in general.

Average User Satisfaction
Meets Requirements
Ease of Admin
Ease of Doing Business
Ease of Use
Quality of Support
Ease of Setup

The lowest average score among all of the categories is Ease of Setup. That sentiment is further backed up when looking at the deployment and implementation data for the four products with vendors that are public companies with over $100 million in revenue in the category—the ones Connect will presumably be competing with: Genesys, Cisco Unified Contact Center, Avaya Aura and Five9.

  • The average implementation time reported by Genesys users is 6.4 months.
  • 79 percent of users deploy Genesys on-premise rather than in the cloud.
  • 85 percent of users reported that implementation was led by either the vendor or a third party.
Cisco Unified Contact Center
  • 100 percent of users report deploying the product on-premise despite cloud deployment being available.
  • 60 percent of users’ implementation were led by a third-party implementer.
Avaya Aura
  • While we lacked sufficient data for some implementation data, 80 percent of users reported deploying on-premise.
  • The smallest of the four companies has the product that looks the best, but users still report an average implementation time of 1.1 months.
  • 22 percent of users claimed that the implementation was led by either the vendor or a third party.
  • 30 percent of users deployed Five9 on-premise.

If Connect is able to come through on Amazon’s promise of easy and quick setup, it may not be long before it is the preferred product in the contact center infrastructure space. Of course, it’ll need to prove it first.