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AWS' Amazon Q adds Connect contact center integration

Amazon Connect, AWS' contact center platform, takes aim at solving the customer service agent's biggest problem: app switching during customer calls.

AWS released an integration Friday for its generative AI-based virtual agent, Amazon Q, that could ease the burden of app switching for contact center agents using Amazon Connect.

While that might sound like an incremental update, it addresses a universal tech issue for the contact center world: application switching. Agents in smaller contact centers switch among a minimum of four to seven apps within a single call, ICMI reported; 50% of agents at enterprise-size contact centers said they switch among more than seven apps during a call.

Amazon Q, running during a customer call, can detect the issue for which a customer is calling, such as opening a new bank account, returning a defective product for a refund or changing an address. An integration to Amazon Connect's step-by-step guides -- rule-based workflows that solve common issues -- can auto-populate forms and offer agents things to tell customers en route to addressing their issues.

Integrations like these are important, said Dan Miller, founder of Opus Research. For years, contact centers have standardized on scripts for many different actions, but there's only so much humans can look up in a time-pressure situation such as a conversation with a surly customer.

Furthermore, the more experienced a contact center agent gets, the harder it is to keep track of the latest script for a particular workflow, such as the exchange of a product or the correction of a wrong price. Connecting generative AI conversational detection to step-by-step guides, which hold the keys to the current content and can auto-fill forms with customer data, propels "AI with human verification" forward, he said.

Screenshot of the AWS Amazon Q in Connect generative AI assistant.
Contact center agents using Amazon Connect can now have Amazon Q detect possible step-by-step processes in the context of customer conversations, call up forms and prepopulate them with customer data to save time -- while prompting agents on what to say.

"We are finally doing 'How may I help you?' right," Miller said, talking about both Amazon Q and Google Gemini contact center tools. "Just tell me what you want, and it knows quickly what you're looking for. It's really good at that."

Of course, Amazon Q's effectiveness for a given contact center will depend on how well its data is organized, and the usability and accuracy of the guides. But when they are set up properly, they not only create efficiencies during customer calls, but have also been shown in early results to cut onboarding time for new agents, said Michael Wallace, AWS Americas solutions architecture leader for customer experience.

Amazon Q in Connect step-by-step guide integrations have found early adopters in heavily workflow-based vertical industries such as financial services, insurance and manufacturing, he added.

"[Generative AI] is probably one of the biggest opportunities for meaningful change that I've seen in a very long time," said Wallace, who has worked 30 years in contact center tech. "If you think about what we've been doing in CX, we've always been trying to solve the same problems. It's just a matter of what tools we have to solve the problems."

Don Fluckinger is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial. He covers customer experience, digital experience management and end-user computing. Got a tip? Email him.

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