If CX is a real differentiator for your organisation, you need to build your own cloud contact centre platform rather than buy one off the shelf.
Having done just that using Amazon Connect, TSA Group can help you make it a reality and create a powerful new business asset for your brand.
Built on AWS (Amazon Web Services), the world’s undisputed number one cloud platform, Amazon Connect is part of an incredible suite of advanced customer contact, omnichannel, and AI technologies. Being cloud-based, literally anyone can access the platform on a cost-per-use basis to set up a contact centre within hours and deploy it anywhere in the world.
This is why sales of Amazon Connect grew by 150% in 2020, making it one of the most popular platforms around. After all, if it’s good enough to power the contact centre and customer service operations of the world’s largest retailer – whose empire has been largely built on providing a fabulous customer experience – then it can certainly do the job for most other organisations, particularly with the might of AWS behind it.
There is just one catch. Isn’t there always?
Setting up a generic omnichannel contact centre, even including automation, using Amazon Connect and its associated suite of technologies might be easy enough – but setting up your contact centre, to do exactly what your business needs it to do, in a way that integrates with your existing systems and processes? That’s not quite so easy.
To do that, most organisations need some help from a partner that’s already been there and done it.
We recently wrote about our experience of building our CX Capability Suite from the ground up using the Amazon Connect platform. At the same time as rolling out this cloud-based, modular infrastructure in our own contact centres, we are also leveraging that experience to help organisations that operate their own contact centres build and optimise similar platforms for themselves.
If you are using or are thinking of deploying Amazon Connect for your own contact centre, you can spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get it to do exactly what you need. Or you can bring in some experts. From our experience, the total cost of ownership with Amazon Connect and a technology partner is lower than the cost of purchasing a platform from a traditional contact centre vendor.
But first of all, why would you think about building your own platform at all? And why would you do it using Amazon Connect?
Take control of your brand and CX with your own technology platform
Customer Experience (CX) is really the way you express your brand, and bring it to life, during one-to-one interactions with customers. These moments of truth with customers, whether they happen face-to-face, over the phone, in live chat, or are automated via the website or contact centre, are precious as they occur so rarely. Each one is an opportunity to create a relationship and deliver on the brand promise that got the customer to this point.
If you believe that your CX is a source of competitive advantage, and your contact centre is at least partly responsible for delivering that, you simply have to build and own your own CX delivery platform for both automated and live interactions across all your channels.
The alternative, and what most contact centres have traditionally done, is to buy an off-the-shelf solution from a large software or SaaS vendor and then integrate it with your CRM, back-office and other systems. If CX is not much of a differentiator for your business, then you can probably work within the limitations imposed by a traditional vendor platform, but companies rarely face into this reality when they are selecting their contact centre technology.
Why you should use Amazon Connect
Amazon Connect is not like other contact centre platforms. Traditional vendors will sell you access to a platform as a service which includes telephony, comms, a UI, various modules such as QA, call recording, and reporting, and some automation functionality.
Although the platform will be customisable to an extent, and will of course need to be integrated with your organisation’s existing technology systems, it is not and never will be fully your own.
With AWS and Amazon Connect, on the other hand, you are paying to access a suite of best-in-class tools that your engineers and CX experts can use to build your own fully customised CX platform. You will never be limited to the functionality a vendor makes available, as you can create whatever you need. With Amazon Connect you design and build your CX platform, which becomes your own IP.
Even if you don’t need a differentiated platform, the cost of ownership is lower with Amazon Connect, so you might want to consider it anyway. As it’s genuinely cloud-based rather than hosted services – AWS is a backbone cloud service that your traditional vendor’s software is likely at least partially hosted on – then you get all the benefits that brings. When it comes to costs you only pay for the telephony minutes, CPU cycles, and data storage you actually use. There is no guesstimating in advance how many seats or FTEs you will need every month.
If your business already uses AWS in some way for security, hosting or data storage then you are also likely to get a discount across your entire usage.
Barriers to building what you want
The reality is that potential Amazon Connect users are attracted to the final product they know can be built using the platform. The challenge they face is finding the capability internally to build their dream CX platform. It takes a special combination of operational understanding and technical know-how to get from the blank canvas your new Amazon Connect account gives you to a fully realised delivery platform that becomes one of your major business assets and source of competitive advantage.
We have spoken with plenty of organisations who have undertaken pilot projects trying to build even a basic solution for themselves and been disappointed with the outcome. Amazon Connect really is a box of tools; when you get started, the basic elements like a User Interface, reports, and campaign management do not come ready out of the box, you have to build them.
This means that the platform’s great advantage is also its major weakness. You can build everything yourself from the ground up, meaning you can create it to look and work exactly how you want; but you do have to build it yourself.
What a partner can bring to the table
What you need, if you’re thinking of building your own contact centre platform using Amazon Connect, is a partner in your space who has already been there and done it.
Most organisations, and certainly most contact centres, do not keep specialist cloud engineers on staff. But even if you did, this would not be a solution. While your engineers might have the technical skills needed, it’s unlikely they would have the contact centre and CX specific experience required to translate your business and operational needs into the design for your proprietary CX platform; and then lead a programme to build it, user test it, pilot it, optimise it and roll it out.
Your operational people, on the other hand, while they might know what they want from such a platform, are going to lack the technical skills and software development experience needed. Not to mention, they are probably quite busy with their day job of running your CX and contact centre operations.
Ideally, you find a partner that has the technical know-how to build out solutions in Amazon Connect, as well as the operational experience of actually running contact centres and delivering CX solutions. A partner versed in both worlds can act as a conduit, translating CX and operational needs into the schematics, UIs, and specification documents that software and cloud engineers need to build your platform.
TSA can be the bridge between the operational and technical worlds
As a CX consultancy and services provider, TSA Group has operated contact centres for 24 years. We’ve built a network of high-quality CX centres across Australia and the Philippines housing a talent pool of almost 3,000 team members. Building and running sector-leading contact centres is our core business and we are very good at it. We run contact centre operations for major banks, utilities, and financial services companies.
At the same time, we have built our own cloud contact centre and CX platform for our business around Amazon Connect and its associated technologies. Our capability suite uses Connect for cloud telephony and messaging capabilities, but also extends into in-house developed telephony extensions, which gives us the flexibility to deliver corporate phone and mobile workforce solutions, as well as cater for homeworking teams.
Also built-in are Machine Learning (ML) tools for automated transcription, personalisation via next best action recommendations, sentiment and keyword matching for conversational analytics, and automation of chat or voice interactions through natural language processing (NLP).
The whole platform connects to third-party modules including our clients’ CRM tools such as Salesforce, payment processing solutions, marketing automation platforms such as Hubspot, and knowledge bases. Our own Innovation Lab has also built proprietary tools for use with the platform, including a next-generation predictive dialler, self-service analytics and reporting capability, and customer journey management.
For Amazon Connect users all this has several major benefits. Firstly, we have already built many of the modules any contact centre will need as its basic building blocks. These are thoroughly tested and enterprise-grade, and give you a good starting point on which to custom build your own solution.
Secondly, because we work in the space and have built and optimised our platform based on broad and ongoing operational feedback, we can tell you what the problems will be ahead of time and bring you the expertise needed to push through those challenges. We have built an end-to-end development team consisting of over 20 engineers, backed up by our own operational teams and specific subject matter experts in dialler management, WFM, QA, compliance, automation, and so on.
As an AWS Consulting Partner for Amazon Connect, we are also able to access funding directly from Amazon to help you build your CX and contact centre platform. This can potentially offset quite a lot of the development costs.
Tear down barriers to innovation and make CX a differentiator
Having been on this journey of building our own proprietary CX and contact centre platform in Amazon Connect since 2018, the opportunities for innovation and cost-reduction it brings for our business and for our clients are almost limitless – as you can see from our recent article.
These include reduction in IT maintenance overheads, pricing models based on usage, not annual licenses, reduced development costs, a more flexible operating model, greater stability and redundancy, best in class security, ease of integration with other systems, seamless omnichannel customer experience, and an improved agent experience. Best of all, we now have a CX and contact centre platform that is totally our own, which can grow with and adapt to our needs rather than us having to constrain what we do to the limitations of the technology. It also means you can be up and running with an omnichannel, enterprise-grade contact centre platform in a matter of weeks.
As a vendor-independent technology partner born from a contact centre operator, TSA Group is uniquely positioned in the Australian market to help you access all these benefits for your own organisation.
TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX consultancy and services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.