Amazon Connect cloud contact center gets voice ID authentication

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added a handful of notable new features to its Amazon Connect contact center platform, including a voice ID tool to expedite customer authentication.

The global cloud contact center market was pegged as a $11.5 billion industry last year, a figure that’s expected to more than triple within 4 years as part of a broader push toward cloud-based technologies. As such, Amazon launched Amazon Connect back in 2017, packaging various cloud services as an off-the-shelf, cloud-based contact center product for any company to use. Amazon Connect is essentially designed to attract companies onto Amazon’s cloud, a move that prompted rival Google to launch its own cloud-based contact center offering.

Last December, Amazon announced a bunch of new features for Amazon Connect, two of which were only available as part of a preview program. Today, those features into general availability for all businesses.

Your voice is your passport

Amazon Connect Voice ID leans on machine learning (ML) to authenticate callers in real time. This not only speeds up the user authentication process through bypassing traditional security questions (e.g. what’s your date-of-birth and your mother’s maiden name?), but it also goes some way toward identifying fraud by comparing a caller’s voice with recordings of known bad actors.

Besides monitoring voice characteristics, Voice ID also looks at carrier network metadata to further assess the legitimacy of the caller and whether they pose a low or a high fraud risk. Contact center agents must first request and receive the caller’s consent to use Amazon Connect Voice ID, but in all future exchanges the customer can be verified almost instantly.

Above: Amazon Connect Voice ID

The second feature to exit preview today is Amazon Connect Wisdom, which connects disparate data sources such as documentation, FAQs, knowledge articles, and more to serve agents with instant access to the answers they need to field questions — it includes pre-built connectors for applications such as Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Using real-time speech analytics and natural language processing (NLP), Wisdom also strives to identify issues that a customer is having during the call, and proactively surfaces suggestions and recommendations for the agent — this saves them from having to manually search for answers.

Above: Amazon Connect Wisdom

Outbound

Elsewhere today, Amazon also debuted a new feature in preview called “high-volume outbound communications” spanning calls, SMS, and emails, designed for scenarios where a contact center has to reach out to the customer rather than the other way around. For example, they may need to get in touch to resolve a complaint, conduct a survey, or clarify a question they weren’t able to answer earlier.  This could alleviate a common paint point for businesses that have to cobble together products from different providers to create a single platform that can manage both inbound and outbound communications.

With high-volume outbound communications, Amazon Connect users will be able to proactively contact millions of customers “without having to integrate third-party tools,” according to Amazon. They will be charged on a per-minute rate for outbound calls and per message for email and SMS.

Moreover, it will ship with a bunch of smarts including a predictive dialer that saves customer service agents from waiting for the recipient to pick up their phone. The dialer will automatically call multiple customers from a pre-created list, limiting the amount of calls to however many agents are available — when a human answers the phone at the other end, they’re automatically connected to a live agent.

These various outreach capabilities can also be combined intelligently. For example, a number of customers can be sent text messages or emails asking them to confirm an appointment, and those that fail to respond within a set period of time will automatically be called.

It’s ultimately all about improving contact center efficiency.

Amazon hasn’t revealed when the high-volume outbound communications functionality will be available to every company, but Amazon Connect customers in U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), and Europe (London) can apply for preview access from today.

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