Press 1 for…. Why?
It is the 21st Century and there are two technologies that are still in use: Fax and DTMF Call Trees! Why, I am not sure as there are so many more effective technologies available to replace them. Why we still have caller “self navigation” by “Press 1 for this and Press 2 for that” is one of the great mysteries of life in the 21st Century (the other is why are folks still sending faxes)? I get that Speech Recognition used to be so very expensive that it could not be adopted by but the largest enterprise organizations. Today however, thanks to services like LEX in the AWS ecosystem, there is no longer any economic deterrent to the rapid adaptation of Speech recognition to the basic IVR based call tree.
Phone System or Call Router?
Amazon Connect is not a phone system in the way that Ring Central or 8X8 is a phone system. Amazon Connect is a call routing solution with telephony functionality that enables call answering, screening, routing and queuing services to be applied using “rules” and “contact flows”. You can configure a variety of AWS services to significantly enhance the basic call routing engine to achieve superior functionality within a reliable, resilient and elastic cloud based architecture. Now instead of saying “Press 1 for this and Press 2 for that” we can say “Hello, tell me how I can route your call”?
Amazon Connect Dial By Name Contact Flow
One of our most popular configurations is a “Dial by Name” functionality that we enable on our LEX based, Speech fired automated attendant. “Thank you for calling DrVoIP, my name is LEX and I can route your call if you speak the name of a function like sales or support, or say dial by name”. Now that is a powerful caller experience and significantly functional while providing a memorialized customer experience that differentiates your enterprise from those companies stuck in the 1980’s with DTMF IVR automated attendants.
Building LEX solutions into your Amazon Connect instance is not that complex though it will require a considerable amount of trial and refinement. If you want to do a dial by name IVR you will also need to be a competent software engineer and have an understanding of both lambda functions and dynamoDB data structures. (Better yet, contact DrVoIP and we will do it for you)! LEX will prompt your callers to provide spoken input like someones last name, but you will need a lambda function to take that input and use it to index a database structure. The database will contain the target information you will transfer your caller to.
Interestingly enough, you can transfer a call to a phone number or the ARN of a Queue, Contact Flow and Prompt. This makes it very possible to route calls to individual agents within the contact center or to a service in your call center. The processes requires:
DynamoDB – Table to hold endpoint contact data
Lambda Function – Interaction between Contact Center and LEX
LEX – Speech recogntion BOT to ask callers who or what they want
The new Contact Flow will greet the caller and prompt them to “speak” the name or function they are calling for. The Lambda function will take the Intent from LEX and pass it to DynamoDB which will return the endPointID that the caller should be transferred. Not only does this functionality increase the personalization of the customer experience, it significantly reduces the complexity of constructing contact flows by using a dynamic configuration end point ID.
The DrVoIP.com Youtube Channel has a great deal of material on these subjects including a basic configuration and advanced configuration tutorial updated for 2020. This site also has training materials.