Amazon Just Opened Up The Same Customer Service System They Invented To Any Business.
Today Amazon announced Amazon Connect. It is based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world to power millions of customer conversations. It is a cloud-based contact center that any company can setup in a few clicks. With-in seconds agents can begin taking calls. The power of this system is context and efficiency along with the Voice First technology of Lex, the same systems used by Alexa and Echo.
Amazon Connect comes with pre-built integrations to popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce, Zendesk and Zoho. There is also an API that can be used to build custom integrations. You can also use Amazon Connect with Workforce Management suites like Calabrio, for agent performance tracking, staffing forecasting and management. Amazon Connect also works with other AWS services like Amazon S3 and Amazon Kinesis for storing recorded calls or streaming detailed contact records in real-time to a data warehouse to merge with business intelligence systems for further analysis.
Cloud-Powered: Connect is an integral part of AWS and is designed to be robust, scalable, and highly available. Each contact center instance runs in multiple AWS Availability Zones.
Simple: Connect was designed to be set up and run by business employees, not tech specialists. The graphical console makes the setup process (including the design of graphical call flows) intuitive.
Flexible: The Contact Flow Editor (CFE) that powers Amazon Connect includes blocks for interaction, integration, control flow and branching. Call flows can include a mixture of prerecorded audio prompts, generated audio, Lex-powered interaction, integration with existing systems and databases, conversations with agents and call transfers.
Economical: Connect’s pay-as-you-go model keeps operating costs in line with actual usage. On the agent side, Amazon Connect includes a softphone that supports high-quality audio.
The power of Amazon Connect will impact many, even if you do not operate a business in need of a virtual call center. Businesses that use the service will be able to have a real-time connection to a customer database allowing for even the smallest company to be have powerful functions that even very large companies find hard to duplicate. For example a customer that just placed an order on your website can dial in and flow into the system with the knowledge there may be a basic question about the order just placed. This very powerful system will make both customers and business owners very happy.
The system can also use a highly interactive Lex based Voice First interactive system that will allow a range of use cases. This is actually one of the most powerful elements of Amazon Connect. The very powerful scripting system will allow for very fluid and powerful automated interactions that are like speaking to Alexa and not an old fashioned IVR phone system.
I can see dozens of business use cases from phone ordering, which is actually faster than using an app to new businesses built around better customer service and support. There is also little doubt that smaller businesses will benefit by both inbound and outbound uses of Amazon Connect.
The Amazon Way
Just like Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Fulfillment, AWS, Amazon Pay, Amazon Go Store Technology and now Amazon Connect, Amazon takes innovation they have developed internally and open it up as a platform for users. This is a very profitable part of Amazon, for example AWS produces a lion’s share of Amazon revenue. Each new system and platform slowly changes the ecosystem and at some point completely dominates it.
It is popular to argue that “no one uses the phone anymore” however this is not only ill informed it is also quite the opposite. Web and mobile commerce increase phone traffic, not decrease it. Amazon, a web and mobile merchant obviously knows this empirically. So do real businesses. Only a small but loud sub section of Silicon Valley startups buy into the idea they “never have to talk to anyone” or worse, “we don’t need sales people or customer service phones”. The reality is the need for Amazon Connect has been massive. There is little doubt the service will do very well.
A 1,000 Razors Cuts To Payment Companies
The Amazon small and medium sized business platform:
- Amazon Marketplace
- Amazon Fulfilment
- Amazon Connect
- Amazon Pay
I expect to see Amazon Connect grow with small and medium sized business as well as larger businesses. Amazon will begin to offer a range of platforms from Alexa to Amazon Pay to AWS along with Amazon Connect creating a huge force of competition for many industries, most importantly Payment Companies. Amazon Connect is part of a platform the company is building where once all of the pieces are fully assembled, it would be nearly impossible to compete with. This is actually good news for small and medium sized businesses and their customers. Bad news for less astute payment companies.