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AWS to Move Into Call-Center Industry with New Cloud-Based Tools

Call center

Analysts say Amazon Web Services is making a smart move by entering the call-center industry with a new suite of cloud-based tools.

AWS is developing the suite of tools for enterprises to help them manage their call centers, according to a report from The Information. The tools are based on the technology AWS developed for its own retail call centers.

451 Research's Sheryl KingstoneAWS couldn’t be reached for comment.

The programs will incorporate Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, to answer some questions via phone and text message. It also will use Lex, a chatbot-building service that uses the same technology as Alexa, and text-to-speech program Polly, according to the report.

The suite of tools will allow customers to build their own customer-service programs using bots and voice control, with the ability to learn and adapt to specific industries. The new products could be announced as soon as mid-March, according to the report.

Sheryl Kingstone, research director of customer experience and commerce for 451 Research, calls what AWS plans to offer “conversational service.”

“It will have a huge impact on contact center’s ability to not triage calls more effectively by pre-answering specific questions in a self-service channel,” she said. “In 451 Research’s predictions report, we mention this as the No. 1 trend. Conversational technologies embedded with ML (machine learning) change the game for not just the commerce experience, but also customer service. While this trend will still be in its infancy in 2017, we predict that 80 percent of all customer interactions will eventually be contained in a self-service channel.”{ad}

Vendors will expand their interaction-management footprints, boxing in traditional telephony vendors that focus heavily on the assisted voice channel, Kingston said. There is also heavy competition in this area from smaller contact-center providers such as CreativeVirtual, Helpshift and TalkDesk, as well as 24/7, Genesys and Salesforce, she said.

Frost & Sullivan's Brendan Read“Yesterday’s world was about one-way customer interactions; today’s is about dealing with customers’ micro-moments that are self-directed, on-demand, two-way conversations anywhere, on any device,” she said. “Customers want to communicate on their terms in their preferred channels. Depending on the urgency, nature and overall context of the customer’s situation, self-service is one of the most effective engagement options, with many conversations beginning on mobile devices. 451 Research data shows 55 percent of survey respondents prefer self-serve tools to avoid calling a customer-service agent.”

Brendan Read, Frost & Sullivan’s digital transformation senior industry analyst, said VAs and chatbots “would do well with AWS because of its scalability and such.”

“Those applications will also take advantage of the work being done by Amazon in the realm of those applications,” he said. “And yes, they will compete with Aspect, Genesys, Nuance or anyone else who is marketing similar products.”

But will AWS take over the whole contact center? Read says no.

“Amazon is selling AWS services to the contact-center providers such as Genesys for their entire portfolio to ride on top of,” he said.


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