Amazon is getting into the contact centre service business with the announcement that it will make its contact centre service technology available to other businesses.
The company said the new Amazon Connect self-service, cloud-based contact centre service can be set up in as little as a few minutes using the AWS Management Console, contrasting that with other contact service systems that the cloud services giant called "complicated and expensive" and take months or even years to implement.
Amazon's entrance into the contact centre/customer service system market is likely to have a major disruptive effect on IT vendors, customer centre service providers and other companies that compete in this space.
Amazon Connect is based on the same technology used by Amazon's own customer service associates. Amazon developed the technology from scratch 10 years ago because other commercially available systems did not provide the scale, cost structure or features Amazon needed, said Tom Weiland, Amazon vice president of worldwide customer service, in a statement.
"This choice has been a differentiator for us, as it is used today by our agents around the world in the millions of interactions they have with our customers," he said.
The service is currently available in the US and 18 countries across Europe. Amazon plans to expand availability of the service to more countries "in coming months," according to the statement.
Amazon said that Amazon Connect makes it possible to set up a "virtual contact centre" in minutes without the need for complex, proprietary hardware and software systems. Subscribers to the service pay for Amazon Connect usage by the minute, plus any associated telephony services.
Amazon said businesses can scale their use of the service up or down as needs require and bring on board up to tens of thousands of customer service agents to meet periods of high demand such as short-term promotions and seasonal spikes in business.
Amazon Connect provides features that make it possible to design customer contact process flows that adapt to the caller experience. The system can be used to manage customer service agents and track performance metrics.
The service is tied into other Amazon services, including DynamoDB, Redshift and Aurora, which can feed information into Amazon Connect. Business can record service calls in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), use Amazon Kinesis to stream contact centre metrics data to Amazon S3, Redshift or external data warehouses, and use AWS Directory Service to allow agents to log onto Amazon Connect.
Amazon Connect also has links to third-party CRM, help desk, workforce management and analytics systems including applications from Appian, Calabrio, CRMNext, Freshdesk, Paxata, Pentaho, Pindrop, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Tableau, Twilio, VoiceBase, Zendesk and Zoho.
Amazon Connect could create significant competition for vendors that develop call centre and customer service applications, for telecommunications and other companies that provide their own customer call centre services, and for the solution providers that work with them