Amazon Connect – Lambda and the Open Contact Center
I’ve spent much of the last twenty years working with traditional contact centre technologies, and seen the industry move from basic call centres to omni-channel customer experience platforms. So when we launched VoiceFoundry, I thought I had a good handle on the features and benefits of Amazon Connect and Amazon’s Customer Experience (CX) ecosystem. I’m continually learning in this space and the more I discover, the more I’m impressed.
We’d chosen Amazon Connect as our core CX platform, as it is the first contact centre technology to truly deliver on real cloud principles:
- Always on – using Amazon’s multiple availability zones, ensuring no downtime
- Accessible everywhere – agents simply need a browser
- Scalable – from a handful, to tens of thousands of agents (Amazon themselves scale up beyond 70,000 agents on the platform at peak periods)
- Continuous improvement – no more upgrades; new features enabled weekly without any maintenance windows
- No hardware – no edge devices on premise
- Genuine consumption-based pricing – no lock-in contracts or minimum agents, pure cost per connected minute
What I hadn’t grasped at the time of VoiceFoundry’s launch was the flexibility and openness of the platform.
The key to the openness and integration capabilities is Amazon Lambda.
Lambda is the glue in the Amazon ecosystem. It allows integration to almost any 3rd party application. That may be a common CRM like salesforce.com, ServiceNow, Microsoft Dynamics or Zendesk, or a proprietary in-house database.
Lambda takes away the need for 3rd party middleware. It allows you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service – all with zero administration. Supported languages include Node.js, Java, C#, Go and Python.
Lambda executes your code only when needed and scales automatically; from a few requests per day to thousands per second. You only pay for the compute time you consume – there is no charge when your code is not running.
VoiceFoundry’s application development team use Lambda for most Amazon Connect deployments. Lambda is simply another a step in a contact (IVR) flow. Development that used to takes weeks, now takes days.
We’ve used Lambda for bespoke integration projects and we’ve also built standard connectors to applications such as ServiceNow and Freshdesk. These have now been packaged and you can find them on the Amazon Marketplace.
Why is Amazon Connect Lambda and openness important? Primarily, because it allows easy access to your data. And that in turn allows you to provide a personalised customer experience to each of your clients.
You may wish to:
- Greet your customer by name
- Update interaction history automatically in your CRM
- Click to contact customers from your CRM
- Segment customers and prioritise routing based on any data provided by your CRM
- Provide customers a different experience in queue, offers, announcements, preferred languages
- Combine the data with AI and machine learning for propensity modelling to predict churn, or promote up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
- Identify and verify a customer automatically and/or take advantage of voice biometrics
- Deflect low value interactions to self-service applications, removing the need to speak to an agent
Ultimately Amazon Connect Lambda enables you to harness data and reduce customer effort – and this is the true differentiator for any business.