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Public Sector Dials In to Benefits of Cloud Contact Center


Picture of call center workers on phone
Image: ASDF -
In early 2020, when the pandemic made in-person customer service impossible, contact centers quickly became a lifeline. Within weeks, hundreds of public sector organizations and companies turned to Amazon Connect, the cloud contact center platform developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Launched in 2016 to reinvent the traditional contact center experience, Amazon Connect was born out of Amazon’s retail business and its need to give customers a personal, dynamic, and natural experience in customer service. When social distancing and lockdowns started, Amazon Connect presented itself as priority choice across sectors; from government agencies to health care providers, from educational institutions to nonprofits, organizations preferred Amazon Connect because of the pay-as-you-go model and the convenience of setting up, using, and scaling a cloud contact center. Below are some examples of how the cloud enabled rapid expansion of customer service capabilities at a critical time for public sector organizations.
Powering customer service in federal government when ‘in-person’ isn’t an option
Amazon Connect is available in nine of the AWS Regions around the world, including the Canada (Central) AWS Region. One early adopter of Amazon Connect has been the Canadian government, which launched a cloud-based call center for its Emergency Response Benefits program with an AWS partner, Accenture, in April 2020. Using Amazon Connect, they created a contact center in Canada that could seamlessly and rapidly expand as necessary. With 1,500-plus agents, the contact center answered 40,000 daily calls at its peak. Those calls helped Canadians apply for the tens of billions of dollars the Canadian government made available to residents — crucial help during a time of emergency.
Answering questions when transitioning students to remote learning
Meanwhile, on the higher education front, the University of Texas at Austin launched a new Amazon Connect contact center to provide IT support for its College of Liberal Arts (CoLA) students. Launched when most of the campus transitioned to working, learning, and teaching from home, the cloud-enabled contact center made a significant impact. In a survey conducted by CoLA for summer and fall 2020, 84% of students rated it as easy to resolve technical issues with online tech support. Student wait time dropped to less than 30 seconds to talk to an agent, compared to average wait times of greater than 15 minutes before the new contact center launched, even with similar staffing levels.
Delivering better health care at scale
Oakland County in Michigan relied on Amazon Connect to schedule their constituents for COVID-19 vaccinations. Oakland County managed to scale Amazon Connect from cloud contact center prototype to production launch within four days. With strong interest in vaccination from constituents, the program expanded from 30 contact support agents to 100 as the county experienced higher call volumes. Once the majority of the county’s population had been vaccinated, daily call volumes for scheduling vaccines naturally receded. With Amazon Connect's pay-as-you-go model, administrators optimized their contact center cost by only paying for the call volumes they supported. Now that the vaccine initiative is winding down in the county, Oakland County will deploy cloud contact center capabilities in other agencies within the state.
Meanwhile, ChartSpan, the largest managed service provider of chronic care management programs in the U.S., uses Amazon Connect to provide turn-key, managed care coordination and compliance programs for doctors, clinics, and health systems. ChartSpan manages 24/7 nurse lines and patient care coordination programs for more than 100 practices and health systems in the country.
“To meet our customers’ needs, we run our business using AWS technology. However, our contact center solution was not built on AWS, and it cost us millions due to repeated outages and performance issues,” said Patrick Carter, ChartSpan’s chief medical officer. “We evaluated Amazon Connect and moved our entire contact center in just under six weeks. Since then, we’ve been impressed with the results. Our clinical contact center staff utilization has increased by 12%, and we have decreased our costs by 80.5% due to the consumption-based pricing of Amazon Connect. It also takes less human capital to maintain Amazon Connect, and that has resulted in a 67% reduction in management and engineering spend. Moving to Amazon Connect has dramatically impacted our business. We’ve eliminated costs, improved productivity, and improved our margins.”
How to scale your contact center needs with Amazon Connect
Communities have turned to the public sector for up-to-date information and emergency resources during the pandemic. As communities return to normalcy, constituents will continue to rely on their educational institutions, government agencies, and healthcare providers for digitally delivered information and services through websites, applications, and contact centers. Organizations will need scalable infrastructure to maintain digital resilience for meeting the remote work, learning, and customer service expectations that have now become a norm for constituents.
To learn more about how Amazon Connect can help build or expand contact center capabilities, the Amazon Connect resources page offers detailed architectural patterns, whitepapers, webinars, blogs, and more to get you started and connect you with technical resources. You can also learn more about how the AWS Cloud can help government agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare and nonprofit organizations expand IT capabilities on our public sector page.