Category: <span>Amazon Connect</span>

Announcing General Availability of Step-by-Step Guides for Amazon Connect Agent Workspace

At AWS re:Invent 2022 we announced the availability of step-by-step guides for Amazon Connect agent workspace in preview. My colleagues who collaborated to write the announcement post wrote about some of the challenges that contact centers face with training new agents to get up to speed with their agent desktop. They also mentioned that until agents become proficient, it takes them longer to address customer needs effectively, resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

Amazon Connect agent workspace was announced in 2021 and is a single, intuitive application that provides contact center agents with the tools that are required to onboard an agent quickly, resolve issues efficiently, and improve the customer experience. With Amazon Connect agent workspace, the agent is provided with all the tools on one screen. To think of the agent workspace, imagine the agent accepting a call, a chat, or a task and being given the necessary information about the customer and the case, plus real-time recommendations, all in one place without the need to switch between applications.

Step-by-step guides enable organizations to provide customizable experiences for their agents within the workspace, enabling them to deliver exceptional service from their first day on the job by surfacing relevant information and actions that the agent requires in order to resolve customer issues faster. This is because the step-by-step experience guides agents by identifying customer issues and then recommending subsequent actions, ensuring that the agent never has to guess or rely on past experience to know what comes next. This is helpful for both new and experienced agents. New agents can learn the system and get acquainted with their job and experienced agents can keep to the organization’s standard operating procedures instead of diverging in how they handle the same type of customer request.

Because of this intuitive experience, onboarding time for agents can be reduced by up to 50 percent, time to proficiency for the agent can be reduced by up to 40 percent, and contact handle time is reduced by up to 35 percent ultimately resulting in an improved and consistent customer experience.

A High-Level Overview of Step-by-Step Guides
During the announcement of step-by-step guides in preview, I was fascinated to learn that the experience was researched and developed in the context of Amazon Customer Service. However, step-by-step guides can also be generalized to apply to other types of organizations and use cases including the following:

  • Retail – You can customize guides to suit your retail organization, for example, guides for returning a purchase by a customer.
  • Financial Services – An example would be adding an authorized user to a credit card. Using guides, the agent can help the customer capture new user information and handle approvals through a single workflow that is consolidated within the guides.
  • Hospitality – A great example here would be creating a new reservation at a hotel by consolidating all the processes involved into a single workflow.
  • Embed as a Widget – With this, you can embed guides as a widget in your existing CRM or use APIs to bring guides to a custom workspace that you are already using in your organization.

The preview announcement post provides a deep dive into how to get started with step-by-step guides. It also shows how to deploy a sample guided experience and demonstrates how to customize guides to meet business needs. In this post we look at a high-level overview of what the agent, and the manager, can expect from step-by-step guides.

Agent experience
Step-by-step guides help with onboarding and ramping up of new agents and making them proficient faster by surfacing contextually relevant information and actions needed by agents. The intuitive experience of step-by-step guides provides agents with clear instructions of what they should be doing at any point in time when handling a particular customer case and supports agents in managing complex cases more accurately by automatically identifying issues.

As an example, when a customer calls, the agent workspace automatically presents the agent with the likely issue based on the customer’s history or current context (for instance, making a flight reservation). Then, the step-by-step experience guides the agent through the actions needed to resolve the issue quickly (such as booking a hotel after the flight reservation has been completed).

The following screenshot provides a visual image of how this might look.

Step-by-step Guides

In the UI, the agent is provided with a sequence of simple UI pages to let them focus on one thing at a time, whether that’s an input field or a question to ask the customer. They can go step by step, getting the right information that they need to help the customer’s issue. Along the way, the agent receives scripting that they can read to the customer upon successful completion of the process.

The agent can always escape out of this workflow if it turns out that the workspace surfaced the wrong one, and they can find other workflows by searching for the correct one. This allows them to self-serve and find the right solution in case what was predicted by the step-by-step guides based on the context of the contact wasn’t perfectly aligned to what they needed.

Manager experience
Amazon Connect already has a low-code, no-code builder known as Amazon Connect Flows. Flows provide a drag-and-drop experience for building IVRs, chatbots and routing logic for customers. To enable the same low-code, no-code configuration of step-by-step guides, managers are now provided with a new block within Flows known as the Show View block. The drag-and-drop experience of configuring step-by-step guides ensures that the manager no longer needs to have developers write code to build the custom workflows for the agent. Managers also no longer need to rely on static and difficult-to-follow instructions to use later to train agents.

Example of the Show View block within the Contact Flow editor

Example of the Show View block within the Contact Flow editor

Step-by-step guides are quickly created within the show view block with the help of five pre-configured views. Views are UI templates that can be used to customize the agent’s workspace, and each view is configurable. For example, you can use views to display contact attributes to an agent, provide forms for entering disposition codes, provide call notes, and present UI pages for walking agents through step-by-step guides.

The following example shows a view that we can use to create a guide for an agent that needs to book a round-trip flight for a customer. Booking this trip requires scheduling a flight to and from the destination, collecting traveler information, and asking about additional add-ons. With the form view, agents don’t have to recall all these specific steps; they can follow the wizard in their agent workspace. For each step, the agent is given form fields to fill in or options to choose from in order to quickly book the customer’s flight.

Example UI (View)

Example UI (View)

Step-by-step guides also help business operation teams figure out new ways to ensure that their agents are operating well and adjusting to new use cases. Step-by-step guides provide managers with insights into what agents do during a contact. During a workflow, data about what is shown to an agent, the decisions they made, the amount of time they spent on different steps, and what actions they took is captured and stored as a log record. Managers can use this data to improve their workflows and the agent and customer experiences.

In this post we discussed what step-by-step guides offer the agent and the manager of a contact center. Our customers are excited about how the guided experience consolidates actions into workflows and reduces the number of screens for their agents – at times from five screens down to one. In addition to all the benefits we’ve discussed in this post, guides provide you with opportunities to save between 15 – 20 percent on maintenance cost.

Now Available
Step-by-step guides are now generally available in all Regions where Amazon Connect is available, except AWS GovCloud (US-West) and Africa (Cape Town).

To learn more, refer to the Getting started with step-by-step guides for the Amazon Connect agent workspace post, and please send feedback to AWS re:Post for Amazon Connect or through your usual AWS support contacts.

Veliswa x.

Happy New Year! AWS Week in Review – January 9, 2023

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2023, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of some 2023 predictions by AWS leaders for you to help prepare for the new year.

You can also read the nine best things Amazon announced and AWS for Automotive at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 in the last week to see the latest offerings from Amazon and AWS that are helping innovate at speed and create new customer experiences at the forefront of technology.

Last Year-End Launches
We skipped two weeks since the last week in review on December 19, 2022. I want to pick some important launches from them.

Last Week’s Launches
As usual, let’s take a look at some launches from the last week that I want to remind you of:

  • Amazon S3 Encrypts New Objects by Default – Amazon S3 encrypts all new objects by default. Now, S3 automatically applies server-side encryption (SSE-S3) for each new object, unless you specify a different encryption option. There is no additional cost for default object-level encryption.
  • Amazon Aurora MySQL Version 3 Backtrack Support – Backtrack allows you to move your MySQL 8.0 compatible Aurora database to a prior point in time without needing to restore from a backup, and it completes within seconds, even for large databases.
  • Amazon EMR Serverless Custom Images – Amazon EMR Serverless now allows you to customize images for Apache Spark and Hive. This means that you can package application dependencies or custom code in the image, simplifying running Spark and Hive workloads.
  • The Graph Explorer, Open-Source Low-Code Visual Exploration Tool – Amazon Neptune announced the graph-explorer, a React-based web application that enables users to visualize both property graph and Resource Description Framework (RDF) data and explore connections between data without having to write graph queries. To learn more about open source updates at AWS, see Ricardo’s OSS newsletter.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Here are some other news items that you may find interesting in the new year:

  • AWS Collective on Stack Overflow – Please join the AWS Collective on Stack Overflow, which provides builders a curated space to engage and learn from this large developer’s community.
  • AWS Fundamentals Book – This upcoming AWS online book is intended to focus on AWS usage in the real world, and goes deeper with amazing per-service infographics.
  • AWS Security Events Workshops – AWS Customer Incident Response Team (CIRT) release five real-world workshops that simulate security events, such as server-side request forgery, ransomware, and cryptominer-based security events, to help you learn the tools and procedures that AWS CIRT uses.

Upcoming AWS Events
Check your calendars and sign up for these AWS events in the new year:

  • AWS Builders Online Series on January 18 – This online conference is designed for you to learn core AWS concepts, and step-by-step architectural best practices, including demonstrations to help you get started and accelerate your success on AWS.
  • AWS Community Day Singapore on January 28 – Come and join AWS User Group Singapore’s first AWS Community Day, a community-led conference for AWS users. See Events for Developers to learn about developer events hosted by AWS and the AWS Community.
  • AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials Day in January and February – This online workshop provides a detailed overview of cloud concepts, AWS services, security, architecture, pricing, and support. This course also helps you prepare for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner examination.

You can browse all upcoming in-person, and virtual events.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Week in Review!

— Channy

This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

AWS Week in Review – December 19, 2022

We are half way between the re:Invent conference and the end-of-year holidays, and I did expect the cadence of releases and news to slow down a bit, but nothing is further away from reality. Our teams continue to listen to your feedback and release new capabilities and incremental improvements.

This week, many items caught my attention. Here is my summary.

The AWS Pricing Calculator for Amazon EC2 is getting a redesign to provide you with a simplified, consistent, and efficient calculator to estimate costs. It also added a way to bulk estimate costs for EC2 instances, EC2 Dedicated Hosts, and Amazon EBS services. Try it for yourself today.

AWS Pricing Calculator

Amazon CloudWatch Metrics Insights alarms now enables you to trigger alarms on entire fleets of dynamically changing resources (such as automatically scaling EC2 instances) with a single alarm using standard SQL queries. For example, you can now write a query like this to collect data about CPU utilization over your entire dynamic fleet of EC2 instances.

SELECT AVG(CPUUtilization) FROM SCHEMA("AWS/EC2", InstanceId)

AWS Amplify is a command line tool and a set of libraries to help you to build web and mobile applications connected to a cloud backend. We released Amplify Library for Android 2.0, with improvements and simplifications for user authentication. The team also released Amplify JavaScript library version 5, with improvements for React and React Native developers, such as a new notifications channel, also known as in-app messaging, that developers can use to display contextual messages to their users based on their behavior. The Amplify JavaScript library has also received improvements to reduce the overall bundle size and installation size.

Amazon Connect added granular access control based on resource tags for routing profiles, security profiles, users, and queues. It also adds bulk import for user hierarchy tags. This allows you to use attribute-based access control policies for Amazon Connect resources.

Amazon RDS Proxy now supports PostgreSQL major version 14. RDS Proxy is a fully managed, highly available database proxy for Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) that makes applications more scalable, more resilient to database failures, and more secure. It is typically used by serverless applications that can have a large number of open connections to the database server and may open and close database connections at a high rate, exhausting database memory and compute resources.

AWS Gateway Load Balancer endpoints now support Ipv6 addresses. You can now send IPv6 traffic through Gateway Load Balancers and its endpoints to distribute traffic flows to dual stack appliance targets.

Amazon Location Service now provides Open Data Maps maps, in addition to ESRI and Here maps. I also noticed that Amazon is a core member of the new Overture Maps Foundation, officially hosted by the Linux Foundation. The mission of the Overture Maps Foundation is to power new map products through openly available datasets that can be used and reused across applications and businesses. The program is driven by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Facebook’s parent company Meta, Microsoft, and Dutch mapping company TomTom.

AWS Mainframe Modernization is a set of managed tools providing infrastructure and software for migrating, modernizing, and running mainframe applications. It is now available in three additional AWS Regions and supports AWS CloudFormation, AWS PrivateLink, AWS Key Management Service.

X in Y. Jeff started this section a while ago to list the expansion of new services and capabilities to additional Regions. I noticed 11 Regional expansions this week:

Other AWS News
This week, I also noticed these AWS news items:

Amazon SageMaker turned 5 years old 🎉🎂. You can read the initial blog post we published at the time. To celebrate the event, the Amazon Science published this article where AWS’s Vice President Bratin Saha reflects on the past and future of AWS’s machine learning tools and AI services.

The security blog published a great post about the Cedar policy language. It explains how Amazon Verified Permissions provides a pre-built, flexible permissions system that you can use to build permissions based on both ABAC and RBAC in your applications. Cedar policy language is also at the heart of Amazon Verified Access I blogged about during re:Invent.

And just like every week, my most excellent colleague Ricardo published the open source newsletter.

Upcoming AWS Events
Check your calendars and sign up for these AWS events:

AWS re:Invent recaps in your area. During the re:Invent week, we had lots of new announcements, and in the next weeks, you can find in your area a recap of all these launches. All the events will be posted on this site, so check it regularly to find an event nearby.

AWS re:Invent keynotes, leadership sessions, and breakout sessions are available on demand. I recommend that you check the playlists and find the talks about your favorite topics in one collection.

AWS Summits season will restart in Q2 2023. The dates and locations will be announced here.

Stay Informed
That is my selection for this week! Heads up – the Week in Review will be taking a short break for the end of the year, but we’ll be back with regular updates starting on January 9, 2023. To better keep up with all of this news, do not forget to check out the following resources:

— seb
This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!