Contact Center Implementation

Note: Opinions expressed here are my own and not affiliated with the company i work for.

  • I have been heavily involved in helping our IT team and our business partners in choosing the right technology to re-implement Contact Center. Its been an exciting journey so far as i am learning so much along the way. On a high level, you are better off picking a cloud based technology stack and give more preference to vertical integration. This seems like a easy choice, but in the world of telephony, until recently, its been hard to implement 100% cloud based solution.

  • That changed when Salesforce introduced Amazon Connect integration behind as Service Cloud Voice in Summer ‘20.

  • This is the first time Telephony is getting a huge upgrade! It seems like as if Telephony is moving digital. And that’s really exciting!

  • Based on the Business requirements, i have gathered the following topics needed for Contact Center Implementation.

Project Scope

  • Project Scope can be broadly classified into the following topics:
    • Telephony Infrastructure
      • TollFree Support
      • DID Support
      • Outbound Call
      • UIFN Support
      • Call Quality Guarantee etc.
    • Why Amazon Connect?
    • Why Salesforce Service Cloud Voice?
    • IVR(Interactive Voice Response)/ACD(Automatic Call Distribution)/Call Flow
    • Salesforce Features
      • SoftPhone Application
      • OmniChannel Setup
      • Queue (or) External (or) Skill Based Routing
      • Real-Time Transcription
      • Next Best Actions (Automatic Suggestion based on Business Process)
    • QM (Quality Management)
      • Interactive Coaching (Whisper)
      • Accessing Call Recordings from Cases
      • Screen & Voice Recording
    • Analytics
    • WFM (Workforce Management)

Telephony Infrastructure

  • The scope of this can vary widely based on business requirements. Some Questions to consider:
    • Is your Call Center based out of United States?
    • Single Call Center vs Multi/Distributed Call Center
    • Call Centers being Geographically distributed (Within or Outside US)
    • CallCenter Business Hours (24/7 or 24/5.5 or 8/7 etc.)
    • Does your Call Center need Toll-Free Support?
    • Does your Call Center need DID and Outbound Call Support?
  • But Before we jump into talking about Telephony, we got to clarify few basic terminologies:

What is a DID Number?

  • Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is a telephone service that allows a phone number to ring through directly to a specific phone at a business

What is a Toll-Free Number?

  • A toll-free telephone number or freephone number is a telephone number that is billed for all arriving calls instead of incurring charges to the originating telephone subscriber

What is ITFS?

  • International Toll-Free Service (ITFS) enables directly-dialled international calls to be made from fixed and mobile phones free of international charges to the callers. Full charges are paid by the called subscriber. Different ITFS numbers will be assigned for each country.

What is Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN)?

  • Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN) – one single unique number that can be dialed from different countries to reach the same customer.

Warning: UIFN is not supported in all countries

  • List of Supported Countries as of Sep 2020:

How to choose between ITFS/UIFN/DTF?

  • I found this handy guide to help us decide when to use ITFS vs UIFN vs DTF

How to provide support for TollFree number if existing or new Provider does not have native TollFree support?

Warning: As of Sep 2020, Amazon Connect does not support Native TollFree Numbers from India and China

  • If TollFree Number is not Supported OOTB for Amazon, It is possible to purchase external TollFree Number to bridge gap.
  • As of this writing (Sep 2020) 231 Countries are currently supported for Outbound Calls with Amazon Connect.
  • Given this conditions, we can use services such as Avoxi to create Virtual TollFree Numbers in India and China (For Example) and Call forward to any Location.
  • Once native support is available from AWS Connect, services from Avoxi can be deprecated for one-stop shop simplified billing.
  • Example Service Provider: Avoxi

Note: I am not affliated with Avoxi. If you find a better resource, please feel free to comment below.

Why Amazon Connect?

  • I have attempted to consolidate all of its features and advantages below. Let me know in the comment section if i have missed anything!
  • Also, given the scale and maturity of AWS, Amazon connect really shines in many architecture design aspects, which makes it easier to recommend this product.

Platform Topic Feature Description Business Advantage
AWS Infrastructure Compliance HIPAA Compliance Provides compliance capability to handle calls with PII Information
AWS Infrastructure Billing Pay only for time spent with Customers Per Second Billing - Significantly reduces Call Center cost upto 80% compared to traditional usage
AWS Infrastructure Contract Commitment No minimum monthly fees, long-term commitments, upfront license charges, and pricing is not based on peak capacity, agent seats, or maintenance
AWS Infrastructure Flexibility Open Platform AWS Lambda to access virtually any backend system to personalize automated experiences. Please refer to AWS Ecosystem Section below
AWS Infrastructure Fraud Detection Identify potentially fraudulent activities Supports future growth/implementation for Business if decided to implement this to automatically identify fraud such as callers trying to steal customer account information
AWS Infrastructure DID & TollFree Support Supports 30+ Countries TollFree & DID  
AWS Infrastructure Outbound Calling Support Supports 231 Countries Outbound OOTB  
AWS Infrastructure Scaling No Limits to Scaling. Easy to scale Vertically and Horizontally Capability to supports 100s or even 1000s of Call Center Agents. Supports up to 1000 Concurrent Calls with Salesforce
AWS Infrastructure Management There is no Infrastructure to manage or deploy. 100% Cloud Contact Center Based on US-West Provisioning
AWS Infrastructure Availability Highest Industry Standard SLAs for AWS Services Failover Infrastructure built-in - Directly supports 99.99% - 100% uptime availability for Business
AWS Infrastructure Call Quality 16KHz High Quality sound that’s resistant to packet loss Better call Quality for Agents and reduction in Call drops
AWS Software Stack Maturity Amazon Connect was introduced in 2017. Lightning Dialer for Salesforce was introduced in 2016. Service Cloud Voice is superset of both products natively available in Salesforce from Summer ‘20 Summer ‘20 GA for Business means these feature ares under Master SLA. So support cases to Salesforce is applicable if we face any issues
AWS Security AWS Secrets Manager Encrypts Secrets at Rest + Automatic Secret Rotation + Audit and Monitor Secret Usage Supports most of CISO Office Recommendations w.r.t credential implementation with 3rd Party Systems.
AWS IVR/Contact Flow Builder Self Service Drag and Drop Interface Low Code/No Code IVR Design Flow to implement dynamic call routing experience Low Code/No Code means high quality product with self-service capability for CFA Business Partners
AWS IVR/Contact Flow Builder Versioning Ability to quickly react and rollback to previous versions of CallFlow if something goes wrong with deployed versions Ability for IT department to rollback to previous CallFlows within hours if something goes wrong with Salesforce Upgrades.
AWS IVR/Contact Flow Builder Ecosystem - AWS Services/ Integration Supports 200+ Services to plug and play with Amazon AWS Prebuilt Integration with Salesforce provides an edge with implementation for Business
AWS IVR/Contact Flow Builder Customization Ability to customize logic standard Lambda Function Provides rapid development model to innovate faster due to standardization and wide support for common ecosystem (Example: Retrieve information from Salesforce to identify customer)
AWS IVR/Contact Flow Builder Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) + Natural Language Processing (NLP) Ability to process Natural Language and dynamically route based on Intent (Same technology powers Amazon Alexa) Supports Future implementation of Voice deflection/Automated CallCenter for exceptional user experiences for Business

AWS Ecosystem

  • Please note that we are not required to use all of AWS services. But it is available, if needed, to meet future business demands.
  • Amazon Ecosystem advantage list consolidated below:
AWS Service Name Usage
AWS Directory Services For Identity and Access Management
AWS S3 Bucket Data Storage and Retention
AWS Lambda Functions For Data Dips and other external Integration with Contact Flows
AWS Kinesis Data Stream (or) Firehose For Streaming event metrics and agent event data
AWS Key Management Service For Storing and Managing/ Encrypting Sensitive data
AWS Lex For Natural Language Understanding and for Automation
AWS CloudWatch For Operational Metrics and Alarms
AWS Polly For Voice for Text to Speech Messages
AWS CloudTrail For Logging Amazon Connect
AWS Contact Lens For Sentiment Analysis, Keyword Analysis, Non-Talk Time

Why Service Cloud Voice?

  • Salesforce first attempt to unify Voice and all other Digital Channels as a Product
  • Boost Agent Productivity with Intelligence (Einstein)
  • Deliver Single pane of view Omni-Channel Visibility to Supervisors

Platform Topic Feature Description Business Advantage
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Experience Truly Unifies Phone, Digital Channels and Data Unified experience for Agents - No more separate Widgets for Voice and OmniChannel. Agent Status is tracked in single location (No Primary/Secondary Status Sync between Salesforce and 3rd Party Systems)
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Skill Based Routing Routing Calls based on Agent Skills Business can assign specific skills to agents
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Sentiment (QA) Realtime Sentiment Analysis Provides Supervisors ability to listen/monitor right calls at the right time
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Call Transcription (QA) Realtime Call Transcription All Calls are Transcribed in Conversation Object and auto associated to Case & Contact Object
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Whisper (QA) Train/Coach Agents in RealTime Provides Capability for Supervisors to coach agents by providing feedback in real-time
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Call Center Dashboard View and Monitor Calls in Real Time Provides Cockpit like Experience for Supervisors to monitor agents and Dashboards
Salesforce Service Cloud Voice OmniChannel - Einstein Analytics Integration with Service Cloud Analytics Prebuilt Dashboards to bring all KPIs related to Call Center directly integrated from Voice Provides Realtime & Historical Metrics

IVR/ACD/Contact Flows

  • IVR/ACD/Contact Flows are big topics which demands a separate blog post by itself.
  • But, i have attempted to consolidate the list of common IVR Patterns used across fortune 500 Companies.
  • The list below is aggregation of several call center IVR implementation patterns including The New York Times, Intuit (TurboTax), NewsCorp, American Express and Salesforce. Thanks to Amazon ReInvent Sessions! Increadibly helpful!
Feature Description
Language Support Do our Call Center Support multi languages? If yes, options for caller to choose appropriate Language
AI for Speech Recognition Primarily used for Call deflections. Understanding user voice and route based on context configured
Skill Based Routing Based on Call Flows Based on Caller request, routing to appropriate Agent/Queue
Data Dip in CallFlows from Salesforce Uses AWS Lamda to dynamically lookup caller to provide intelligent routing
Keypad or # for Selecting Menu Caller Presses Numbers to select various options configured. Could be used for Entitlements/ Valet Service
Business Hours Automatic/Intelligent response when caller calls outside of business hours
Confirm your Identity (Verification) IVR Attempts to confirm you Identity so that Agents can focus on building relationships. (DOB or PII to lookup back into Salesforce)
Welcome Message + Compliance Message Standard Compliance Message for Call Recording Purpose and CFA Welcome Message
CallBack Experience When all agents are busy, caller can schedule time so that agents can call back
Direct Inward Dial Agents can provide DID with Extension to Callers to skip regular toll-free Number
Survey After Call IVR asks permission from caller to opt in for call experience/feedback
Self Service actions without Agents Involvement True Call Deflection. Identifying common scenarios agents takes call and providing automated options (Such as Reset Password) to be actioned with call without talking to Agents
Call Identification Identifying and Logging Location of the Caller based on Phone Number
Wait Time Estimated Wait Time in the Queue Calculation

Service Cloud Analytics

  • On top of this, if we purchase Service Cloud Analytics license, we should be able to enable the following dashboards OOTB in Salesforce.
Platform Feature Description
Salesforce Call Volume Shows the number of inbound calls versus outbound calls
Salesforce Average Handle Time Shows the average amount of time an agent spends on a call
Salesforce Average Speed To Answer Shows the average amount of time a customer is waiting before an agent answers the call
Salesforce First Call Resolution (FCR) Shows the resolution for the first call that a customer makes to the contact center
Salesforce Abandonment Rate Shows the percentage of calls where the customer hands up before the agent answers the call
Salesforce Calls to Cases Shows the number of calls that result in opening a case