Amazon Connect is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud customer contact center service. Amazon Connect enables customer service representatives to respond to phone calls or chat inquiries from end customers just as if the contact center infrastructure was set up and managed on premises. Amazon Connect instances can be created across multiple availability zones and establish multiple paths to telecom providers for fault tolerance and high availability.
According to Amazon, the service can scale to accommodate tens of thousands of call center agents. AWS provides a telecommunication infrastructure for each company that uses the service. To access the service, users are required to have an Amazon Connect account or an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) account.
How Amazon Connect works
The customer who requested the service becomes the administrator for Amazon Connect. The admin's first task is to claim a phone number and configure permissions for users, which include operators, contact center managers and agents.
To deploy the service, the admin must first create an Amazon Connect cloud instance. To do this, the customer logs into their AWS Management Console and completes several tasks. First, the AWS customer must create or select a user directory, which can include an outside option, such as Microsoft Active Directory. Next, the customer creates a user with administrator privileges and then selects telephony options (such as whether the contact center needs to place calls, receive calls or both) and the location for data storage.
Amazon Connect: Contact Flows
A Contact Flow defines each step a customer can make when they interact with the contact center. The logic is similar to that of an automated Interactive Voice Response (IRV) system and determines an end user's experience. An admin can configure a Contact Flow through a graphical user interface (GUI) in the console to play a recorded prompt, ask a caller a question, manage call recording settings or transfer a call.
A Contact Flow also supports text to speech with Amazon Polly and allows developers to 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.
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 (TTS) 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 (CRM), 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.