• January 12, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

AWS Expands Its AI-Powered Contact Center Intelligence (CCI)

Amazon Web Services has expanded its artificial intelligence-powered Contact Center Intelligence (CCI) solutions, enabling customers to leverage AWS's artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities with their current contact center providers to gain efficiencies, deliver tailored customer experiences, and derive deeper insights from their data.

With AWS CCI, companies can leverage a combination of AWS AI and ML-powered services for text-to-speech, translation, enterprise search, conversational AI, transcription, and language comprehension.

Along with the launch, AWS added a number of technology partners, including Salesforce, Avaya, Talkdesk, 8x8, Clarabridge, Clevy, XappAI, and Voiceworx; as well as new AWS Consulting Partners Inawisdom, Cation Consulting, HCL Technologies, Wipro, First Derivatives, Servion, and Lucy in the Cloud/Micropole.

The offering also includes expanded global support and use in three pre-configured solutions available through participating Amazon Partner Network (APN) partners that focus on the contact center workflow These include Self-Service, Live Call Analytics and Agent Assist, and Post-Call Analytics. The Self-Service solution is now available in multiple languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish. The Live Call Analytics & Agent Assist and Post-Call Analytics solutions are now supported throughout Europe.

The Self-Service solution uses ML-driven chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) to address and deflect common tasks and queries so that the contact center workforce can focus on resolving interactions that need a human touch. It uses the conversational interface of Amazon Lex and the text-to-speech voices of Amazon Polly to create a dynamic virtual agent in multiple languages. Adding Amazon Kendra can boost the ability of these virtual agents to answer questions by finding the best answers from internal knowledge bases.

The Live Call Analytics & Agent Assist and Post-Call Analytics solutions use Amazon Transcribe to perform real-time or post-call speech transcription with Amazon Comprehend to automatically analyze the interaction, detect call sentiment, and identify key words and phrases in the conversation using natural language processing (NLP). These key words can then be used by the intelligent search capabilities of Amazon Kendra to help agents find timely and relevant information to resolve live call issues.

In addition to the new partners, AWS CCI continues to expand its global capabilities with new language expansions for Amazon Lex, Amazon Transcribe, and Amazon Translate. Additionally, transcribing live calls is now available in German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Portguese. Amazon Translate can also be used to translate calls into an agent’s preferred language and adds support for 16 new languages for a total of 71 languages and variants. 

"At Amazon, we want to meet the customer wherever they are in their contact center journey. With AWS CCI, we wanted to make it easy for customers who use different contact centers providers to add AI and achieve new levels of operational efficiency," said Vasi Philomin, general manager of AWS Language Services. "Having a global partner network is critical to enabling our customers to realize the benefits of cloud-based machine learning services and removing the need to hire specialized developers to build and maintain these systems."

Avaya’s integration with AWS CCI strengthens its portfolio of contact center solutions as Avaya OneCloud CCaaS customers can benefit from AWS ML-powered intelligence to improve self-service, analyze calls in real time to assist agents, and learn from each contact center interaction with post-call analytics.

"As a leading contact center solution provider with an installed base of approximately 6 million seats globally, Avaya continues to expand AI capabilities that are evolving the contact center into what is now the customer experience center," said Eric Rossman, Avaya's vice president of technology partners and alliances, in a statement. "With real-time insights and fuller context for each customer at your fingertips, brands can meet and exceed their customers' expectations with each interaction, leading to greater satisfaction and brand loyalty. With AWS, Avaya delivers new AI and machine learning innovation that improves the performance and efficiency of customer experience teams, but more importantly, enables deeper and more meaningful human connections between organizations and their customers."

For its part, Talkdesk is expanding its ML offering to provide a wider range of ML-driven options and capabilities through AWS CCI solutions. Talkdesk customers can use AWS CCI solutions, Talkdesk iQ native AI components, or leverage the flexibility of Talkdesk CX Cloud to combine with other cloud providers'contact center AI. Additionally, through collaboration with AWS, Talkdesk Agent Assist and Talkdesk Speech Analytics now leverage Amazon Transcribe to extend the number of languages and accents in which these products are available.

"We are thrilled to offer Talkdesk customers new, out-of-the-box machine learning through AWS Contact Center Intelligence solutions,"said Tiago Paiva, Talkdesk's CEO, in a statement. "The combination of innovative, cloud-native capabilities from Talkdesk CX Cloud with powerful AI and machine learning services from AWS offer Talkdesk customers the flexibility, agility, and insight to easily adapt contact center operations and make customer experience a competitive advantage."

At 8x8, Manu Mukerji, vice president of engineering, says that by partnering with AWS, his company can deliver bi-directional integration with AWS CCI.

"The 8x8 Virtual Agent is the only fully managed and customizable solution in the market that works seamlessly for both unified communications and contact center use cases, enhancing contact center efficiency for reduced wait times and faster time to resolution," he said.

Clarabridge's partnership with AWS involves the integration of its CX Analytics solution with AWS CCI. Clarabridge CX Analytics integrating AWS CCI call analytics capabilities provides a holistic voice-of-the-customer platform to uncover potential call deflection and self-service opportunities, automate quality assurance, enable efficient agent coaching, measure drivers of customer satisfaction, and improve customer lifetime value.

"Speech-to-text analytics is heavily dependent on the efficacy of the call transcription. Amazon Transcribe enables us to process our client's calls with the highest accuracy while allowing maximum scalability during peak seasons," said Eric Din, vice president of global alliances and strategy at Clarabridge. "By working with AWS, we're providing organizations with the solutions they need to better understand their customer's needs by listening to them everywhere they want to be heard."

Another contact center provider, Cresta, though not mentioned in the initial release, has also become a launch partner for the global expansion of AWS CCI, providing Cresta products a native integration with Amazon Transcribe to enable sales and customer care teams to uncover insights from every customer conversation. Cresta's platform further supports agents with personalized, real-time coaching.

"We're delighted to work with AWS to bring real-time intelligence to the contact center and are already working together to provide industry-leading ML implementations," said Tim Shi, chief technology officer and co-founder of Cresta, in a statement. "Now, customers can easily bring contact center solutions into their business, and immediately add Cresta's unique ability to quickly improve each agent in their real-time interactions."

"Amazon Lex, Amazon Kendra, and Amazon Polly provide a powerful combination of AI services that enables contact centers to transcend the limitations of traditional chatbots and IVR to transform their operations with truly conversational self-service that improves the customer experience and delivers dramatic ROI. And AWS CCI solutions can be integrated with all contact center brands to bring the value of AWS AI services to any enterprise quickly," said Pat Higbie, co-founder and CEO of XAPP AI.

"At Cation Consulting, we provide customers with conversational AI and self-service experiences that allow them to significantly reduce customer support costs while improving the customer experience," said Alan Kiernan, its co-founder and chief technology officer. "AWS Contact Center Intelligence enables us to move quickly and scale seamlessly with customers such as Ryanair, the largest airline in Europe. The Ryanair chatbot has handled millions of customer enquiries per year as a trusted extension of the Ryanair's customer care team. We are excited to leverage Amazon Lex's recent expansion into European languages and design virtual agents who can resolve customer issues quickly and improve customer service ratings."

Other customers that have already benefited from an improved customer experience and reduced operational costs as a result of using AWS CCI solutions through AWS partners include Maximus, a government health and human services programs administrator and provider of contact center services to the government. "With AWS Partner SuccessKPI, we were able to add AWS CCI into our Genesys Cloud environment in a matter of hours and deliver a 360-degree view of the citizen experience. This program allowed us to deliver increased capacity, automated quality review and agent compliance and performance improvements for government agencies," said Tom Romeo, its general manager.

Another user is Magellan Health, a managed health care company focused on special population, complete pharmacy benefits, and other specialty areas. ";We chose Amazon Kendra, a service within AWS CCI to build a secure and scalable agent assist application. This helped call center agents and the customers they serve quickly uncover the information they need," said Brian Lichtle, senior director of software engineering at Magellan Rx. "Since implementing CCI and Amazon Kendra, early results show an average reduction in call times of about nine to 15 seconds, which saves more than 4,400 hours on over 2.2 million calls per calendar year."

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