WTF is a DNIS Map?

Route by DNIS?

A common call center request is to provide a custom greetings or route a call to a Customer Service Queue (aka CSQ) based on the number the caller dialed.   DNIS or “dialed number information service” is usually the solution to this request.   Typically you create a database table in which the index is the DNIS.  In this way we can pull back all the information we need to greet and route the caller.  The solution consists of mapping a DNIS number to a contact flow that has a lambda function that looks up the greeting and routing details in the database referenced the function.DNIS MAP

Assign the incoming DNIS number, actually all incoming numbers should hit this contact flow, and we do the usual setup.  Turn on logging which is very useful during testing and you can turn it off later to save a few pennies.  Set up recording, preferred voice and then invoke the lambda function that will retrieve the desired greeting and routing information.  It is a good practice to set the contact attributes so that you can easily reference the returned variables in subsequent contact flows and to make them available for the CTR records and potential screen pops.

Contact Attributes

Clicking on the “Set Contact Attributes”  call flow step in this example we get the following:

Contact Attributes You can see that the lambda function is pulling back two variables from the associated database tables: queueId and flowId.   in the above contact flow, after we set the contact values, obtained from an “External” database  we”transfer to flow”.   The external flowId points to the flow we want this DNIS to be used for follow on call handling.

The flow will eventually transfer to a queue, which we obtained from the same “External” database. Like the flowId, the queueId is now a “user defined” value. No reason you could skip the “set contact attributes” step and just use the $,External.flowId but by the assignment and the use of $.Attributes.flowId we associate the value with the CTR and make it more easily available for screen pops etc.

(see the blog on should I route to a queue or route to a flow?)

Additionally we could also pull back any other information we might want that would change based on the number the caller dialed. For example a customer greeting.   Did the call the Kin-sue Knife help line or the Hotel reservation line?   Maybe this is an Executive suite application in which the operator has to answer “thank you for calling <yourcompanyname>.

Advanced DNIS Routing

It may be that we want to route the caller to an IVR Menu of options based on the DNIS. You can easily handle this by the flow you route the caller to, but do you really want to do the newbie “copy and save as” to repeat the same contact flow for each DNIS?   There is now reason why the database can point to a generic IVR flow.  The generic IVR menu would have menu options that are variables that might be named “optionOne”, “optionTwo” etc.   These options would be defined in the database and in this way, each DNIS could point to the same IVR based contact flow but the menu prompt and all the options would be obtained via the lambda function from the referenced database.

This solution along with the Lambda function and Video tutorial is also available in our online store!

As always we would be glad to assist with this solution just click or call! – DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com

 

 

 

 

Adding Video to your Amazon Connect Contact Center

Why Video?

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is an encyclopedia of information!   I remember a team building exercise in communications in which all the team mates sat with their back to the grease board at the front of the room.  Each team mate  had a blank sheet of paper and a pen on their desktop.   Another team member drew a simple share on the grease board and then described it verbally to the rest of the team.  Instructions included how to orient the paper and a verbal map of how to replicate the grease board drawing was narrated.   It was amazing how many different versions of the illustration were created by the team with verbal descriptions from the team artist!  No two alike!

So now put yourself in a technical support contact center listening to your caller describing how they have the yellow cable plugged into the thing next to the other thing?   How more effective would it be if the help desk technician could see the wifi router the caller was trying to install.    One call resolution time would be reduced,  average holding time would be reduced and SLA’s would improve as agents spend less time listening to caller descriptions and more time seeing issues enabling them to handle more calls and solve more problems more quickly.

Mobile Video Chat!

Enabling a link on the company website that opens a chat session with a customer service representative in your call center has always been possible with Amazon Connect.   Now with the aid of AWS Chime, you can escalate a keyboard chat to a video call complete with audio!  You can also push the chat link out to IOS and Android devices, making it possible for mobile video solutions.    Insurance companies could see real time accident reports.    Contractors could quote jobs more quickly, reducing time by eliminating site visits in favor of  video ‘meet ups”.   Telemedicine is also a rich vertical for video in the call center.

Video for Amazon Connect Contact Centers

Integrating video into your Amazon Connect contact center is relatively straight forward.   The solution makes use of a custom CCP, Chime SDK and a bit of serverless code on the back end.    Agents are alerted to an incoming request through the Amazon Connect chat facility using LEX to orchestrate the dialog and gather preliminary data from the caller.  Once the chat is connected between the caller and the agent, both have buttons to escalate to video.

REQUEST  A DEMO

If you would like a demo of this functionality, send us a request and we will send you a link. DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Connect Call Center Frequently Asked Questions!

We offer an illustrated Detailed Planning guide for outlining the issues you need to should consider if you are designing a new Amazon powered Call Center.   Here you will find answers to the most often asked questions about AWS services in general and Amazon Connect Call Center in particular!

  1. DrVoIP Amazon Connect for the Business Manager

    1. What makes up a Basic Amazon Connect Call Center?
    2. Amazon Connect Discover Questions for Call Center Planning
    3. Amazon Connect Planning Questions
    4. Amazon Connect Historical Reporting Options
    5. The ROI and TCO when using the Dextr Dashboard
    6. Amazon Connect Check List
    7. Amazon Reporting Elements
    8. Understanding Amazon Connect Billing
    9. Amazon Connect & Dextr.Cloud Agent Dashboard
    10. Dextr Dashboard offers Historical Reporting 
    11. Three Minute Video Overview of the Dextr Dashboard for Amazon Connect 
    12. What are “soft limitations” on new accounts?
    13. Advanced Post Call Survey strategies 
    14. Speech Analytics now a standard part of Amazon Connect and Dextr!
    15. Enable Agent to leave pre-recorded messages when reaching Voice Mail on outbound dial

    DrVoIP Amazon Connect for the Technical Manager

    1. Amazon Connect Basic Configuration Tutorial
    2. Amazon Connect Custom integration Tools
    3. Amazon Connect Configuration “tips and tricks”
    4. Tech Tip – Understanding LEX BOT Versioning and Alias 
    5. Deep Call Back from Queue without losing your place in Queue 
    6. Simple, Cheap and useful Voice Mail Solution 
    7. Is Today a Holiday Check?
    8. Amazon Connect “Forced Release” Options 
    9. Amazon Connect building prompts with Polly
    10. Building Conversational LEX Solutions
    11. Amazon Connect Call Back from Queue Options
    12. Email Routing in Amazon Connect
    13. What are “Soft Limits”
    14. Building Custom CCP for CRM Integrations
    15. Custom CCP example using start/stop/resume voice recording
    16. Custom CCP to enable Agents to change their outbound Caller ID 
    17. SMS Inbound request for call back 

    DrVoIP YouTube Channel – Complete Amazon Connect Configuration training!

Summary

We have yet to find a Call Center requirement we could not implement with Amazon Connect and the every growing library of Amazon Web Service solutions!  If you can imagine it, we can implement it.   Let’s put our heads together and construct a call center that meets and exceeds your call center requirements!   We deliver on time, on budge with the highest customer satisfaction scores!

Contact DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com or call and ask LEX for the Doctor and we will send you a copy of our design and planning guide.

Amazon Connect – Start/Stop/Pause/Resume voice recording?

Recording and Analytics

While configuring Amazon Connect contact flows you will find a “SET Recording and Analytics?  step that you can make use of to set the voice recording behavior.   When you set the recording behavior you select recording only one channel or both the Customer and the Agent.

LENS Speech Analytics

In addition to setting the recording behavior you can switch on LENS a transcription and comprehension service.  This service is typical of call centers as they manage to improve Agent performance and customer satisfaction.   You also make a choice between post call transcriptions or real time subscriptions that can be used to alert supervisors to a real time need for interaction.

 

Start/Stop/Pause/Resume

 

Often for reasons of compliance  HIPA or PIC for example you might want to turn off voice recording while personal data, like credit card information, is being provide.   To do this, it will be necessary to create an extension to the CCP to enable the buttons need to effect the feature.    The clip below reviews a customized CCP we created to handle several features including the start/stop recording API as published.

Give us a call and let us help you with this requirement!  DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com 

 

Amazon Connect – Play Pre-Recorded messages to remote Voice Mail?

Recorded Message Use Case

In an outbound  call center an agent may make several hundred phone calls each and every working day.     When the person they dialed does not answer and the call is forwarded to voice mail, the Agent leaves a message requesting a call back indicating who to call and at what number?    The message is most likely very similar for each called party, requiring the Agent to be enthusiastic and engaging for each message left!

Is there a better way?

There is a cheap and dirty way to do this!   Each Amazon Connect Instance has a “Default Outbound” contact flow.   This contact flow is used for all outbound calls even if you do not specify it.  In fact you cant specify it, or an alternative.  Usually in contact flows, you can do a “save as” on any of the sample or default contact flows and then reference them in your own contact flow designs.   The Default Outbound contact flow however can not easily be used n this way.

What you can do is modify the outbound contact flow and add a “set disconnect” step in that contact flow.    This step is activated when the Agent hangs up and the outbound line is still up.   In this use case, the “set disconnect flow” point to a simple contact flow that has  “play prompt” which contains the message you want to leave in the called parties voice mail box.  The agent, hearing the call has been forwarded to a voice mail, simply hangs up!  The contact flow then plays the prompt asking for a call back!  Cheap but very workable!   (This is a video clip that reviews this configuration).

Note: The Lambda function in this configuration is to support a different function, that of selecting the Caller ID the agent wants to display to the called party.  You can see the details of that configuration at this link.

How about multiple message play options?

What about enabling the Agent to select from multiple messages?  Can each Agent have their own pre-recorded messages? The use case would be the same as configuration as above, but with a couple of changes.  The first change is we need to create a custom CCP that would have the buttons we need to indicate which message the Agent wants published to the called party.  This might be individual buttons or it might be a drop down list of available numbers.    Secondly, we would need a lambda function to retrieve the messages from a Dynamodb table prepared for this purpose.

The following video reviews how this configuration might work with a customized CCP.

Give us a call or email DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com if we can help you with this function!

 

Amazon Connect – Setting Caller ID and Name for Outbound dial by Agents

Amazon Connect Caller ID Name and Number basics!

Historically, the only caller ID you can send, is that of a phone number that actually appears on your Amazon Connect instance.  This has now been modified and AWS will let you send the CID of a number you can prove you own.   Lets assume you want to send the CID of your company’s main number when agents make an outbound call.  Open a ticket with AWS support, include a copy of the phone bill proving you own the number, and they will let you display that number in your outbound CID.

The following are strategies for selecting the desired CID on outbound calls.

Each outbound call is controlled by several factors:  First each queue has a setting that enables you to select an existing number for Caller ID.  It also enables you to display a Name.  The name however, must be set in a National database and to do this, you will need to open a technical support request with AWS.  They will manage the database update but you will need to provide the following details:

1) It is important to note that the calling name has the restrictions: no special characters, and will appear in all capital letters. Given that, please provide: a) Up to 15-Character desired Calling Name to be displayed (limit on wireline is 15) b) Up to 25-Character desired Calling Name to be displayed (limit on wireless is 25)

2) Name of business, city and state (if city and state are left blank, there are circumstances when the NPANXX of the dialing number will appear instead)

3) Type of business (technology, government, utility, etc.)

4) Type of usage for the phone number (survey, customer service, etc.)

Support will alert you when the CNAME has been associated with your selected number/

 

 

Routing Profile impact on Caller ID

Each Routing Profile associates a User or Agent, with the Queues that they should be a part of.  A Routing profile may contain one or more Queues which can also be used to determine the priority in which calls should be answered by an Agent.  Assume that an Agent is a member of a routing profile that contains both Technical Support and Customer Service Queues.   Given two inbound calls, one for each Queue, which call  should be presented to the Agent?   This is determined by routing profiles priorities!   Also note that the Routing Profile indicates which Queue – read Caller ID – should be used when an Agent who is a member of that routing profiles makes an outbound call.

Dynamic Caller ID Strategy #1

It is possible to set the Caller ID by editing the ‘Default Outbound” contact flow that is called for each outbound call that is dialed.   This Contact Flow determines what the recording status is, names a possible disconnect flow and it also indicates the caller ID to be used for this call.  This is set by the Call Phone Number step in the contact flow.   You can hard code a number here and it will over ride the settings established in the Queue and Routing Profile configurations.

Dynamic Call ID Strategy #2

How can we set the caller ID on a call by call basis?  Is there a way for an Agent to set the Caller ID each time they make an outbound call?  The simple answer is yes.   You will need to create a Custom CCP, a Lambda function and a Dynamodb table. AWS publishes an API for dynamically setting the caller ID that will help create the configuration, but you will still need to create a modified soft phone or CCP.

 

The following video shows how this might work in a real world application.   The Agent is presented with a drop down list of all the numbers that are attached to the Amazon Connect Contact Center.  The Agent selects the desired number and places the outbound call.     Give us a call or email DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com if you need some help getting this designed and deployed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon Connect Transfer to Queue or Transfer to Flow?

When to Transfer to Flow and Why?

A typical call flow might have a caller reach an IVR Call Tree that offers options to reach different departments and workgroups in your company.   “Thank you for calling, Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Customer Service and Press 3 for Administration” as boring as it might sound, is a typical call tree self navigation audio instruction prompt.  Let’s assume the caller presses 1 for sales,  do you “transfer to flow” or “transfer to queue”?

Transfer to Flow?

A flow enables  you to string together a number of setup options that customize the callers experience and enable different call handling options.  For example, you may want to reset LENS, change recording behavior, change voicing, set contact attributes and set the queue hold flow.   These options would not be available if your set the working queue and then transfer to queue from the main IVR menu, robbing you of the opportunity to establish a unique caller experience.

 

Transfer to Queue

You will notice that within the Customer Queue flow, there is not option to transfer to another flow!   There is an option, however, to transfer to another  queue.  You will also notice that this is one of the times you can transfer to queue without first setting the queue!    Assume you have a caller in the “customer service” queue hold flow and periodically you offer them the the option to transfer to another queue.  More likely, you may have a loop in the wait time that after an extended time transfers the caller to a “high priority” queue.

Generally, you will always transfer to flow and only use transfer to queue within the main contact flow or the queue hold flow!

Fun Fact: Brain Teaser Question:   What is the queue hold flow that the caller will be associated  with when they transfer from the “customer service” queue hold to the “high priority” queue using the transfer to queue flow step?

 

 

Dextr configures Amazon Connect Voice Call Recording by individual State Law!

To record or not to record, that is the question

It is very common to call into a contact center and he the warning message “You phone call may be recorded to improve customer service”.   Sometimes you might even hear “Press 1 if you do not want your call recorded”.    Each of the States has a law governing the recording of telephone calls.  In some states, only one party in the conversation must consent to recording.  In other states, both parties must consent to the recording.

One-Party Consent States

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Main, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

All-Party Consent States

These states clearly or potentially require consent from all parties under some or all circumstances:

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania,  Vermont, Washington

Note that in many states, consent requirements only apply in situations where the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g. not in a public place). Further, what constitutes “consent” in a given jurisdiction can vary in terms of whether it must be express or can be implied based on the circumstances.

When and How to Control Contact Center Recordings?

Dextr will compare each incoming phone number, extract the area code and map the area code to the State that matches that area code.  Based on the state law, Dextr will reconfigure your recording to either be “Agent only” or “Agent and Customer”.  You have the option of playing  prompt to the caller that indicates the status of your recording.  This option can easily be applied to both inbound phone calls and outbound phone calls!

Save 80% on Amazon Connect Design and Deployments

We build Amazon Connect Call Centers, Chat Bots and Speech Recognition based customer experience management solutions.  We do this for a fixed price, on time and on budget using Dextr the omni-channel wrapper for Amazon Connect.  Dextr enables you to significantly reduce the cost of design and deployment!  Give us a call at 800-946-6127 or email us at CustomerCare@Dextr.cloud – DrVoIP

 

 

 

Advanced Post Call Survey using Amazon Connect and LENS!

Post Call Survey configurations

Configuring a post call survey in Amazon Connect is very straight forward and many others have outlined strategies for doing such a configuration.    The usual strategy typically prompts the caller to enter a “digit” from 1 to 5 to rate a particular agent or service.   Then, if the caller has not yet hung up, you prompt them with yet another question and so forth until you either exhaust the patience of the caller of tire of asking to many questions.

The answers are typically stored as contract attributes that become part of the contact record for that phone call.  Then an outside report generator would have to be created to read the data and provide a human readable summary of survey results.  Typically creating the administrative interface and reporting facilities take more time an effort that creating the post call survey!   The good news is this is a workable strategy and can get the job done, it is dirt cheap and easy to do!

Why not use Sentiment Analysis?

Why exhaust the caller with 20 questions?  There is a better way and it is more effective strategy that provides even more details about the customers experience while interacting with your call center team.   Using the same facilities that we described in our previous blog on voice mail transcription options, you can now use LENS to provide a deeper understanding of the customer experience.  Creating a post call survey using these tools enables you to “hear” the customers voice if you like,  transcribe the voice and use sentiment analysis to better grade both agent performance and customer satisfaction.

Enter Media Streaming!

In the following call flow, we can provide a post call question and enable the caller to freely speak their experience which is recorded. The recording can be free form, allowing the caller to use a stream of conscience approach to outline their experience.  This is powerful because you can, if you chose to, hear spoken nuances that easily identify frustration and other indicators of how people really feel about their call center experience.

If you are insistent and really want to ask individual questions, you can loop through steps 1 through 4 asking a different question at step 1 each time.  The entire recording is saved with a contact record ID that associates the recording with a specific contact trace record.  By setting the recording and analytics behavior when you set the recording, you now enable LENS to kick in and add that extra level of analysis that only comprehension and sentiment analysis can provide.

Let us know if we can provide any assistance in getting this setup in your connect instance.  Just open a ticket with DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com  and we will get you “connected”. – DrVoIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct Extension Dialing and queue based Voice Mail for Amazon Connect!

Call Center with PBX like features?

One of the most requested features folks deploying Amazon Connect typically ask for is the ability to directly dial an extension to reach a specific agent or team member.   Clearly Amazon Connect is not a PBX system, it is a call center!  It is possible, however,  to give your Call Center instance qualities that enable PBX like functions including voice mail, Extension dialing and even queue based voice mail.   In a world with geographically dispersed workgroups and most folks using cell phones anyway, a cloud based solution based on Amazon Connect is ideal, practical and easy to administer.

Dial by Name Option

Why we still use DTMF Call Trees in the 21st Century is a mystery to me.   AWS provides speech recognition technology that enables you to replace the old world “Press 1 for this and Press 2 for that” with “So glad you called, I can route your call if you tell me the name of a team member or a function like sales or customer service”.    This interface is an improved customer experience in several dimensions.  It enables “hands free” interactions for mobile users,  is more natural and experientially compatible to human communications.

Dynamic Configurations

Every resource in the Amazon Connect instance including prompts, queues, flows and even agents have a unique identification number.  This number, or ARN,  can be used in contact flows to check the status of a particular user for example.  They can also be used to dynamically configure a contact flow with end points that change on a call by call basis.  An incoming call, for example, can invoke a lambda function that is used to look up the ‘dialed number” in an external database and bring back queue details that can be used to dynamically populate the details of the contact flow.   Rather than create a separate contact flow for “sales”, “customer service and “technical support” why not use the same contact flow, reconfigured based on either the callers self navigation choice or the DNIS the caller dialed?   It takes nothing more than a simple dynamoDB table to quickly define the various required flow parameters and an “invoke lambda” function to greatly simplify the other wise complex world of “cut and paste” contact flows.

Agent ID

Each Agent in a call center instance has an ARN that uniquely identifies that user.  This ARN when defined in an external database that also specifies an extension number, cell phone, user name and even a custom prompt can be configured to create very powerful contact flows.  A caller can either ask LEX for a particular user, or you can prompt the caller to enter the agents extension number.   We prefer asking LEX for the user names as it eliminates publishing a directory of extension numbers.  In either case, lambda might convert name to extension number, look up the contact flow details in the database, indexed by the extension number and  “set contact attributes” step with the details needed to populate the rest of the contact flow.

Is Billy Bob available?

Once we have the individual name and extension number of the user we are looking for, we can use the details returned by the lambda function “getQueueDetails” from the DynamoDB table “QueueDetails” to populate and set “check staffing” step.  If the user is available we can send the caller to that user.  If they are not available, we can offer options like “try someone else” or “leave a voice message”.  Voice messages can be sent as wav files, transcribed as text and even sent as SMS messages!    For users that might actually be field sales or support personnel, we can pull back their “cell phone number” from the same database table on the original lambda invocation and pass the call to an external number as yet another option.

Configure Queues as Users?

Using the same resources described above, we can take voice messages for customer service queues.   The “manage users” directory in the contact center administrator portal contains the first name, last name, login and email address of each users.  By adding a queue name as a user in your configuration you can add an email address for that customer service queues.  This means that you can now create options in your customer queue flow that not only offer a call back when an agent becomes available, but you can also encourage them to take a message.  The message converted to email can then be routed to the next available agent using email routing provided by Dextr and agent dashboard for Amazon Connect.  This is also a handy option for after hours call handling!

Post Call Survey with Recorded options!

In our next blog we will use these same resources to enable audio based “post call surveys” that record the callers answers and use transcription, comprehension and sentiment analysis to grade the survey!

If you can imagine it, we can make it happen!

The options for configuring Amazon Connect contact centers is limited only by your imagination.   The AWS ecosystem is populated with an expanding library of services from speech recognition, AI, Bots, text to speech, chat, transcriptions and even language translations.   We believe we are rapidly approaching the possibility of having an English speaking agent interact in near real time with a Spanish speaking caller.

Give us a call and play our favorite game “stump the vendor” and lets hear your call center dream, we think we can make it a reality. – DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com