Amazon has announced its entry into a new market with its new cloud-based service that is aimed towards call centres. Amazon Connect is the newest service from the internet giant that will offer automated call center solutions under the Amazon Web Services (AWS) brand.
This development might not come as a surprise to some people. Rumors and leaks from February suggested that AWS might be planning to take on traditional call centers. The service was codenamed “Lily”, according to the report from The Information.
The service will leverage the same technology which is already used by Amazon.com’s customer service system to route and manage calls through automatic speech recognition and AI. Amazon says, its custom-built Lex technology is used “to power millions of customer conversations.”
The cloud-based subsidiary of Amazon is trying to expand beyond its core infrastructure and its high-level web services. The new call center service will make use of Amazon’s Lex technology, an artificial intelligence platform for natural language processing and speech recognition. Amazon uses the same speech recognition technology for its Alexa virtual assistant and all its voice related offerings.
Amazon Connect will integrate with other AWS services i.e. Amazon DynamoDB, Redshift, Aurora, and third-party services like Salesforce.
It will also work with Amazon’s newest, innovative natural language products to build automated responses, like Amazon Alexa, to support users. Companies will have the choice to customize Amazon Connect using AI so that customers don’t have to go through long menus.
Here’s a short video introducing how Amazon Connect works:
Impact on the Call Center Market & Pakistan
With the launch of Amazon Connect, the company is moving towards market which is already very crowded. Some companies like Zoho, Zendesk, Freshdesk and more also offer cloud-based call center solutions. Some of those companies have already announced partnerships with Amazon for its Connect service.
Together, all these companies will take on more costly and traditional call centers service providers used for technical and other kinds of support services. Most of those traditional call centers are operated from countries like Pakistan, India and others in the South Asian region through outsourcing or in-house teams.
The success of this service could have a negative effect on call centers in Pakistan and other South Asian countries, with fears that automated call centers might necessitate the need for layoffs in the industry.
Clearly, Amazon aims to take a major share of the call center market which is estimated to be worth around $10 billion by 2019.
As with other AWS products, the company hopes to place itself competitively by offering cost-saving price plans. Amazon Connect will also do away with up-front costs and long-term contracts.
The company says that the “Virtual Contact Center” can be setup in “minutes” and requires no training at all. Clients will be charged based on the time (in minutes) they use the service. This should make it cheaper compared to others. Companies looking for short term campaigns or call services could also benefit from Amazon’s price plan.