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What is Amazon Connect?

What is Amazon Connect?
(Image credit: Everything Possible / Shutterstock)

About one decade ago, it was hard to see cloud computing as anything more than a place for online storage and email. Over the last 10 years, it’s become obvious that the cloud can meet business needs for analytics and reporting, maintaining the databases used for apps, and even hosting the entire IT infrastructure a company needs to run its operations.

Today, cloud computing has advanced to the point where it is almost assumed some of your business functions will run in the cloud. Case in point: a customer call center. With the introduction of Amazon Connect about one decade ago, it might have seemed unusual to move the infrastructure needed for customer support to the cloud. And, in fact, Amazon itself had to develop the technology for their own use and then made it publically available.

Amazon Connect is a customer contact center that runs in the cloud. It’s omnichannel in that you can use Connect with multiple telecom providers. All of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features you’d expect are available, and Amazon Connect can sync with services like Salesforce if that’s the CRM provider you normally use.

One of the key features of Amazon Connect is that it uses a pay-as-you-go model. That’s important to know because it means companies only pay for the usage they need, and as a company grows and you add more customer service agents to your call center, you can also scale up the infrastructure, connections to telecom providers, and increase your CRM activities to match the business growth (and any new complexities that result).

Amazon Connect is also part of the Amazon Web Services product line, which means companies can benefit from a streamlined operation -- not just for their call center, but for all IT service management operations including storage, servers, and networking.

All of this scalability, control, and integration is managed from an Amazon Connect web console that is easy to use and not designed only for engineers and IT staff. It means the call center can configure their own operations, choosing the agents who can connect, what they can do using the service, who is a manager or supervisor, and other features they can adjust and reconfigure as the call center changes and expands (or even as you scale it down as needed).

Benefits of Amazon Connect

In the end, Amazon Connect is an ideal fit for companies that need flexibility, scalability, and affordability but don’t want to invest in a product that will only impede your growth.

As with any cloud computing service, the main benefit here is scalability. A company could be just starting out and offer a customer service line with only a few agents and still use Amazon Connect. Yet, as you grow and more and more customers need assistance, you don’t have to rebuild your internal infrastructure by adding more servers for your CRM software or for your telecom management systems, and you don’t have to look for a different contact center provider who can handle the new growth and the resulting infrastructure needs.

Another benefit has to do with speed of delivery. When your internal IT staff have to be constantly managing the call center infrastructure, and when you experience downtime as a result, it’s the customer who will notice first. Agents won’t be available, or there will be errors or other problems with the customer management software, telecom system, or both.

Interestingly, Amazon Connect is both easy and fast in terms of the initial setup and installation, and also easy and fast when it comes to expanding services. It’s the classic example of a service that can grow along with your company, so any new scaling in services doesn’t cause pain points. Reps are “always-on” with a cloud call center.

As mentioned earlier, another benefit is related to cost. Beyond the pay-as-you-go model, Amazon Connect also doesn’t force you to pay monthly fees or service charges, and there are no ongoing maintenance fees. This might be surprising if you have ever had to run a call center or worked with other providers. Often, as a company grows, so do the associated costs. There is often a “per seat” charge as you add additional customer service reps.

One last benefit to mention has to do with flexibility. On-premise call centers are often complex and don’t scale as easily as a cloud call center, but they are also not as flexible. Amazon Connect is similar to other cloud computing resources in that the location of the user is not an important factor. Reps can be spread all over the world and do not need to be located in one central area. They can access all of the same telecom services, CRM apps, and messaging tools to provide the same level of service as a rep who is sitting in your corporate office.

 

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