Amazon Connect Introduces Generative AI Capabilities to Help Organizations Boost Worker Productivity, Save Costs, and Improve Customer Service Experiences

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an, Inc. company, announced new generative AI capabilities in Amazon Connect, AWS’s cloud contact centre that enables organizations of all sizes to deliver better customer experiences at lower cost.

Powered by large language models (LLMs) and other foundation models (FMs) available through Amazon Bedrock, the latest Amazon Connect enhancements include new generative AI capabilities that expand on the service’s existing machine learning (ML) features to transform how companies provide customer service. Amazon Q in Connect—a generative AI-enhanced evolution of Amazon Connect Wisdom—provides agents with recommended responses and actions based on real-time customer questions, for faster and more accurate customer support.

Amazon Connect Contact Lens—an Amazon Connect feature that provides real-time contact centre analytics and quality management—now helps identify the essential parts of call-centre conversations with AI generated summaries that detect sentiment, trends, and policy compliance.

Also powered by generative AI, Amazon Lex in Amazon Connect today enables contact centre administrators to create new chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) systems in hours by using natural-language prompts, and improve existing systems by generating responses to commonly asked questions.

Lastly, Amazon Connect Customer Profiles—an Amazon Connect feature that enables agents to deliver faster, more personalized customer service—now creates unified customer profiles from disparate software-as-a-service applications and databases.

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Contact centres are a critical customer service channel for organizations to provide support and build relationships with their customers. With the advent of generative AI, contact centre leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to redefine how they create and measure their customers’ experiences.

However, taking advantage of LLMs and other FMs is a difficult endeavour requiring technical expertise that is in short supply and high demand. Even when utilizing existing models, industry-specific data must be used to fine-tune models that generate responses tailored to an organization’s business. Integrating these models into new customer experience applications that work with an organization’s existing suite of contact centre tools requires further industry-specific expertise.

Amazon Connect removes the challenges of building and deploying models in contact centres by allowing non-technical business leaders to set up a cloud contact centre with generative AI capabilities within minutes. The new generative AI capabilities of Amazon Connect include:

Amazon Q in Connect: generative AI to assist agents with recommended responses and actions for faster customer support. Agents play a critical role in helping organizations build customer trust and loyalty by guiding customers through complex decisions, helping customers understand policies and terms, suggesting new products and services, providing fast and accurate solutions when issues arise, and capturing a record of every customer interaction. Amazon Q, a new type of generative AI-powered assistant that can be tailored for any business, provides new agent assistance for the contact centre. Amazon Q in Connect helps understand customer intents and uses relevant sources of information to deliver accurate responses and actions for the agent to communicate and resolve unique customer needs, all in real time. For example, Amazon Q in Connect can detect that a customer is contacting a rental car company to change their reservation, generate a response for the agent to quickly communicate how the company’s change-fee policies apply to this customer, and guide the agent through the steps they need to update the reservation. By empowering agents to address customer needs across a broad range of topics without assistance from supervisors, Amazon Q in Connect increases customer satisfaction and helps build loyal customer relationships, while reducing agent training, resolution times, and costs.

Amazon Connect Contact Lens: post-contact summarization for increased productivity. To help improve customer interactions and ensure details are available for future reference, contact centre supervisors rely on the notes that agents manually create after every customer interaction. To further contextualize those notes, supervisors must listen to large volumes of customer conversations, or read through complete conversation transcripts, since failure to correctly capture and act upon information from the conversation can lower contact centre quality and erode customer trust.  Amazon Connect Contact Lens now generates concise customer contact summaries after each interaction to provide supervisors with those context-rich details. Moments after a customer interaction, Amazon Connect Contact Lens identifies important details of the customer conversation, such as the customer’s issue, the actions taken by the agent, and the next steps required to close the loop with the customer—and generates a short summary. Supervisors can then use these summaries to inform efforts to improve contact centre quality. For example, supervisors can use summaries to track commitments made to customers and ensure prompt completion of follow-up actions. When investigating a customer issue, supervisors can review an auto-generated summary of previous interactions without having to listen to the call recording or read the transcript. By saving time with concise summaries of customer calls, supervisors can more effectively monitor performance for all customer interactions and scale quality management.

Amazon Lex in Amazon Connect: generative AI to simplify bot building and create improved self-service experiences. The creation of personalized, self-service chatbots and IVR systems requires contact centre administrators to account for every aspect of a conversation—including customer intents, responses, and interaction flows. When these systems are unable to address uncommon responses or inquiries from customers, it often requires escalation to a contact centre agent and creates customer frustration. Amazon Connect now makes it easier to build more effective and personalized self-service experiences provided by chatbots and IVRs. From the Amazon Lex administrator console, contact centre administrators can create robust chatbots and IVRs by simply describing in natural language what they want the self-service system to accomplish. For example, a contact centre administrator could type, “Build a bot to handle hotel reservations using customer name and contact information, travel dates, room type, and payment details.” Using this prompt, Amazon Lex will generate sample utterances and create a chatbot or IVR, reducing the time and complexity of building self-service systems. In addition, contact centre administrators can now deploy more effective self-service systems that eliminate the need to anticipate all possible questions and answers. When customers reply to chatbots or IVRs with less common responses, Amazon Connect leverages models to correctly interpret the customer’s response. For example, if a customer says they want to reserve a hotel room for “Saturday and Sunday,” the self-service system correctly interprets the response as “two nights.” Contact centre administrators can also create question-and-answer chatbots and IVRs directly using Amazon Lex, which will generate responses for common customer questions by searching through an organization’s existing knowledge base and summarizing the most relevant details. These self-service chatbot and IVR systems can be instantly deployed into any website.

Amazon Connect Customer Profiles: automatic creation of unified customer profiles for personalized customer experiences. Customers expect personalized customer service experiences, which require contact centres to have a comprehensive understanding of customers’ preferences, purchases, and interactions. To achieve that, contact centre administrators need to create unified customer profiles by merging customer data from dozens of applications. Now, Amazon Connect Customer Profiles leverages models to reduce the timeneeded to provide personalized customer experiences. When contact centre administrators add data sources—such as Adobe Analytics, Salesforce, ServiceNow, ZenDesk or Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)—Amazon Connect Customer Profiles will analyse the data to understand what the data format and content represent and how the data relates to customers’ profiles. Amazon Connect Customer Profiles then determines how to organize and combine data from different sources into complete, accurate profiles. With just a few clicks, managers can review, make any necessary edits, and complete the setup of customer profiles so contact centre teams can begin providing personalized customer service that improves customer satisfaction and agent productivity.

“The contact centre industry is poised to be fundamentally transformed by generative AI, offering customer service agents, contact centre supervisors, and contact centre administrators new ways to deliver personalized customer experiences even more effectively. Yet few organizations have the advanced machine learning expertise to easily harness this technology and apply it to their operations,” said Pasquale DeMaio, vice president, Amazon Connect, AWS Applications. “With just a few clicks, contact centre leaders can leverage new capabilities powered by generative AI in Amazon Connect to enhance the more than 15 million customer interactions handled on Amazon Connect every day. With these new capabilities, contact centres can consistently deliver improved customer support at scale.”

In addition to these new generative AI enhancements, Amazon Connect has extended omnichannel capabilities to include out-of-the-box support for two-way SMS messaging, as well as in-app and web voice calling with support for video. These new omnichannel communications—as well as the generative AI enhancements to Amazon Lex, Amazon Q in Connect, and Amazon Connect Customer profiles—are generally available. New generative AI capabilities in Amazon Connect Contact Lens are available in preview.

Choice Hotels is a leading global lodging franchisor with a vast network of nearly 7,500 hotels, representing almost 630,000 rooms across 46 countries and territories. “Today, our team spends significant time to understand customer data relationships and create data mappings. Data objects such as hotel booking or loyalty can be very complex with multi-level nesting,” said Michael Bennett, distinguished engineer at Choice Hotels. “Using the Amazon Connect generative AI data mapping feature will reduce the onboarding time and provide guidance on which data columns to use for the unique identification of a profile. With it, we will onboard future specialized data sources much quicker and enrich our Guest 360 profiles with the data to power our real-time personalization initiatives.”

NatWest Group is a relationship bank for a digital world, serving 19 million people, families, and businesses in communities throughout the UK and Ireland. “For our customers to feel supported through financial decisions at every stage of their lives, they need timely responses and a consistent experience regardless of which agent they speak with,” said Angela Byrne, chief operating officer, Retail Banking at NatWest. “Yet providing accurate details on our vast array of products and services across all of our brands often requires that our agents spend time searching across our knowledge management sources while customers wait for an answer. NatWest Group believes generative AI presents a great opportunity for our business, especially within the contact centre. We expect that Amazon Q in Connect will ensure both our new and experienced agents are prompted in real time with accurate information to provide a consistently high-quality customer experience.”

NeuraFlash is a leading consulting andindependent software vendor partner of AWS, focused on helping customers transform their businesses with AI-powered experiences. “Our customers who are looking to get more business value from their customer conversations find that long call recordings and transcripts can be cumbersome to listen through for the quality assurance team, supervisors, the next agent to work with the customer, and others across the organization,” said Patrick Beyries, head of Product and Innovation at NeuraFlash. “Amazon Connect Contact Lens’ new automatic contact summarizations will allow our customers to more effectively understand and share what happened in a customer conversation and, just as importantly, what to do next to drive customer success and business results.”

Traeger Grills is a leading provider of smokers, grills, and barbeque products. “As we have grown our customer base and diversified our product offerings, one of our biggest challenges has been in providing our agents and supervisors with the right information at the right time to increase customer satisfaction,” said Corey Savory, vice president, Customer Experience and Service at Traeger Grills. “Amazon Connect’s new generative AI features have shown great promise in testing at our contact centre. In the future, we envision these features will enable our agents and supervisors to focus on delivering premier customer experiences. We anticipate Amazon Q in Connect will improve agent efficiency by 20% by providing agents with generated responses and actions that are specific to customer needs. By concisely summarizing important information from customer conversations using Amazon Connect Contact Lens in a structured, easy-to-read format, supervisors will no longer need to invest valuable time in listening to entire call recordings or reading detailed transcripts.”

USAN provides cloud-based contact centre technology and services to customers around the world. “Improving agent, supervisor, and contact centre administrator support is top-of-mind for our customers today to deliver better end-customer outcomes,” said Steve Herlocher, senior vice president of Product at USAN. “Amazon Connect’s new, built-in generative AI capabilities will help our customers efficiently create unified customer profiles through better data mapping, improve contact centre supervisor efficiency with post-contact summarization in Contact Lens, and onboard agents faster with suggested responses and actions. Best of all, our customers can start using these generative AI-powered capabilities immediately in Amazon Connect, without the need to build and deploy large language models.”

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