Amazon Connect

Contributor(s): David Carty

Amazon Connect is a customer contact center service provided by and hosted in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. AWS provides a telecommunication infrastructure for each company that uses the service.

Like contact center infrastructure that an enterprise would set up and manage on premises, Amazon Connect enables customer service representatives to respond to phone calls or chat inquiries -- via a chatbot -- from their end customers. To deploy the service, a user needs to spin up an Amazon Connect cloud instance. To do this, a user logs into the AWS Management Console and completes several tasks. First, create or select a user directory, which can include an outside option, such as Microsoft Active Directory. Next, create a user with administrator privileges, then select telephony options -- such as whether your contact center needs to place calls, receive calls or both -- and data storage location. The user with the admin account can then claim a phone number and establish configurations for the Connect instance.

Amazon Connect spins up instances across multiple availability zones and establishes multiple paths to telecom providers for fault tolerance and high availability. AWS claims the service can scale to accommodate tens of thousands of call center agents.

An admin can use Connect's user management page to add or configure permissions for users, which include operators, contact center managers and agents. To access the service, users are required to have an Amazon Connect account or an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) account.

Contact Flows and call processes

A Contact Flow in Connect is similar to an automated Interactive Voice Response system, and determines how an end user interacts with the call center service. An admin can configure a Contact Flow via a graphical user interface in the console to play a recorded prompt, ask a caller a question, manage call recording settings, transfer a call and more. A Contact Flow also supports text to speech via Amazon Polly, and a developer can customize pronunciation, speech rate and volume with Simple Speech Markup Language.

In addition, Amazon Connect can route end user calls according to agent skills, availability and caller priority. The service assigns agents a routing profile to fit agent expertise to one or more call queues.

Connect also provides a Contact Flow Logs feature, which allows a business to track and streamline its interactions with end customers via the contact center. Amazon CloudWatch stores these logs in the same region as the Connect instance.

Additionally, the Connect service provides nearly 100 metrics -- both in historical and real-time reports -- to help monitor contact center performance. An admin can export these reports to Simple Storage Service buckets, where they will be encrypted.

Software, hardware support

Amazon Connect requires the open source WebRTC, and supports a number of web browsers, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Integrate Connect and Lex.

Amazon Connect enables voice interactions via a public switched telephone network provided by AMCS LLC. The service supports dual-tone multi-frequency signals, text-to-speech conversion via Amazon Polly and natural language interactions via Amazon Lex. Contact center agents use either a web-based softphone or traditional phone to interact with end users and a Contact Control Panel to manage these interactions.

In addition to its interactions with Amazon cloud services, Amazon Connect integrates with third-party customer relationship management, workforce management and analytics tools.

Languages and costs

Amazon Connect provides call center support for English, Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, German, Simplified Chinese and Japanese.

Connect is a pay-as-you-go service. After a user exhausts its free tier of service, AWS charges for Connect use by the minute, plus daily telecom charges.

This was last updated in March 2018

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