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3 Signature Amazon Connect Moments in 2021


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At the outset of 2021, businesses and customers looked forward to returning to ‘normal’ business operations and customer interactions. As the year unfolded, it became apparent we had a new normal that reshaped customer interactions. For contact center leaders, anticipating and responding to everchanging customer needs remains a top business priority.
Along with continuous change, continuous innovation has also become the norm — thanks in a big way to cloud-driven digital transformation. Many Amazon Connect customers have embraced this idea, leveraging cloud and machine learning to accelerate transformation and scale dynamically to deliver exceptional customer experiences, especially in the contact center. Their achievements, insights and practical advice are reflected in this countdown of three of the top signature moments from 2021.
Number Three: Priceline's Commitment to Customer Loyalty Shines at AWS Contact Center Day
In July, AWS hosted their first annual Contact Center Day. To appreciate the growth seen across the customer experience industry, they developed a curated list of industry and AWS thought leaders on contact center and customer experience. These leaders shared key insights on market trends and best practices in customer experience (CX) and customer service for over 8,000 attendees worldwide.
Director of Contact Center Technology at Priceline Jennifer Featherling and renowned CX expert Shep Hyken shared two key insights on customer experience:
  1. Consumers today are smarter than ever and they will compare their experience with you to the best one they’ve ever had – from anyone.
  2. Customers loathe friction and want the ability to connect easily with the right level of customer support. This means being knowledgeable, convenient, and consistent.
Jennifer Featherling then explained how Priceline stays committed to those principles regardless of external market conditions. For them, the pandemic meant that thousands of travelers flooded the contact center to cancel or rebook their itineraries, nearly three times Priceline’s normal volume. For a traditional contact center, this would have been an insurmountable challenge with long queues, lack of data, and frustrated customers. With Amazon Connect, Priceline was able to respond with the right level of customer support immediately. Because Priceline had been operating its contact centers on Amazon Connect since 2019, they were able to handle the spike in demand by rerouting calls and quickly implementing new features, such as machine learning powered chatbots, to reduce backlogs. This allowed Priceline to prioritize callers based on travel date and urgency, dramatically reducing wait times and friction.
These insights shared during AWS Contact Center day underscore the fact that Amazon Connect enables customer-driven innovation by giving contact centers the information and tools to solve problems quickly.
Number Two: Government Agencies Lead the Way in Customer Experience Accelerating Contact Center Transformation in the Cloud
The dramatic, fast onset of the pandemic prompted immediate action by federal, state, and local government agencies to reinvent their customer service approach – in weeks or less — in order to respond to crisis-level surges in citizen demand for information and services. These practices were optimized and refined throughout 2021 as agencies continued innovating upon the changing needs of the customer. Kim Majerus, AWS Leader for State and Local Government & U.S. Education, shared how this brief moment in history is reinventing government customer service forever.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Kim shares how public sector customers turned to Amazon Connect to rapidly transform customer service departments and response strategies. The customer service improvements and the positive impact these agencies achieved drives home several key lessons:
  • Provide service that scales: Facing unprecedented surges in unemployment claims, agencies were able to stand up new cloud contact centers in just 10 days, and boost call handling capacity to up to 2,000 concurrent calls per minute. In Rhode Island, Amazon Connect helped the state to certify 90,000 Rhode Islanders for benefits — one out of every 14 citizens — on the first day of operation.
  • Continually adapt, providing better assistance to the public: Agencies used Amazon Connect to quickly adjust to the changing public needs, sometimes on an hour’s notice.
  • Leverage ML and AI to augment agent impact: Agencies were able to use advanced AI technologies like sentiment analysis, caller authentication, chatbots, and agent assistance to intelligently listen to every citizen and understand their needs, then match them to the right agent.
These three cloud-based strategies allow government agencies to be more innovative, agile and nimble in serving their “customers” whether the need be ordinary or extraordinary.
Read the full article here. 
Number One: A Big Idea in Customer Experience: AWS Keynote at Enterprise Connect 2021
In the Enterprise Connect 2021 keynote, General Manager of Amazon Connect Pasquale DeMaio and Director of Partner Jen Walsh Fisher, put forth the idea that the substantial changes in customer needs, constant disruption, and frequent isolation have sparked a “customer obsession revolution.”
The idea posits that cloud technology has been the catalyst for a host of innovation focused on adapting to shifting customer expectations. New and evolving products are coming to market to address three key drivers:
  1. Customers want faster, more responsive, and more personalized customer service.
  2. Services have to be both relevant and secure for the new digital and mobile first customer.
  3. Front line staff and agents need better tools, specifically more flexible productive workforce communications.
AWS is driving the customer obsession revolution on all three of these fronts leading to new Amazon Connect features we launched this year:
  1. Amazon Wisdom, which can listen to customer conversations and deliver to agents real-time recommendations for solving customer challenges from internal sources and third-party data from customer platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow.
  2. Amazon Connect Voice ID, which uses voice-based biometrics to authenticate customer ID to streamline support and reduce fraud.
  3. Amazon Connect outbound communications, which enable high-volume voice, text, and email campaigns directly from the Amazon Connect experience.
AWS technology is also being integrated into existing enterprise platforms to meet new workforce needs. For example, the Slack messaging app integrated Amazon Chime to add audio/video conferencing capability into the app – including Slack Huddles, its audio-first quick conferencing capability. Slack is using the Amazon Chime SDK to create more functionality including text subtitles for the hearing impaired and live audio-to-text transcription using another AWS service, Amazon Transcribe.
“Customer obsession,” whether they are external or internal, is a core Amazon tenet and a galvanizing idea in the contact center marketplace.
Watch the keynote here.
While there were many more insights and learnings, these three moments represent the progress technology, businesses, and customers made in 2021. It’s remarkable how each tells a unique success story, and they all work together to teach us how customer experience and contact center operations are changing every day. Kudos to our customers, partners, industry experts, and visionaries that made these moments possible.