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

 

 

 

 

Amazon Connect adds a CRM package?

Is Amazon building a CRM Competitor?

Amazon Connect continues to innovate and is adding new features at an accelerated rate.   They do not seem to be leaving any flesh on the bones for other third party providers and seem to be taking aim at the CRM market.  There are two new features that address the most common request of call center supervisors: can we pop a screen with info about the caller on call presentation to an agent?   Historically, this was done by integrating the CRM or Practice Management system with the call center though a complex web of connectors, API’s, Internet Gateways and the other RESTFUL tools that populate the wonderful world of inter-networking.  (See the DrVoIP article: What do you mean Integrate?)

Here is a summary of these new features:

CUSTOMER PROFILES

This feature enables you to assign a profile to a caller. A profile is a form that you create that contains the usual contact data.   When that caller enters the system  again, we can greet them by name and also “pop” the profile to the agent on call presentation.  The profile is filled with data extracted  from two locations:  First, your caller history which is basically the CTR database of all the callers that have contacted you through the call center.  Secondly, it can draw data from your CRM or Practice Management database.   AWS supports a growing list of these databases which today include Salesforce, ServiceNow, Zendesk and S3.    You can also output data from a CRM or Practice management database into an S3  bucket in the call center and this can be tapped by the customer profile feature as well.

CASES

This feature enables you to open a “case ticket” during an active phone call that is associated with an above “customer profile”.   You can see existing open tickets, create new tickets and you have the ability to “assign” the ticket as a task to another team member along with due dates and follow up actions.
These features are “permission” based and assigned to your agents through their security profile.  The use case for these features should be obvious.   AWS is basically developing its own CRM and Practice Management solution and this is just the first release of what will undoubtedly become a very powerful solution in the management of you practice.  We can’t wait for the WFM option!
We are happy to set this up for you,  so please click or call! – DrVoIP

 

 

Powerful Amazon Connect Call Back from Queue Configuration Strategies!

The Amazon Connect Call Back from Queue Dilemma!

Assume you have a call center that follows the sun from coast to coast!  You team starts in NY at 7AM EST and ends in California at 7PM PST.    You offer call back options to callers waiting to speak with an agent.   A caller enters the queue at about 6PM PST and leaves a request of a call back when an agent becomes available.   The call center closes at 7PM PST but the call was not yet handled by your contact center.  The next morning, at 7AM,  Agents start the new day and the first call presented to an Agent is from the call back queue, the call left over from last night.  The outbound call is dialed, and your Agent is now speaking to a very angry Customer in San Francisco where the time is no 4AM PST!

The Call Back Queue Problem

Once a caller is sent to the call back queue, there is nothing you can do about this!   Let’s look at some options that we might apply to better control this call back activity:

Call Back From Queue Configuration Options

First, let’s create a switch to turn off call back requests during times outside a 10AM-4PM window.    This is a simple “check hours of operation” step in your queue hold flow.  Check the current time, and if it is outside the window, your contact flow will not offer the  call back option to callers.    This will keep callers from being left in the call back queue over night at the end of the working day.

Optionally, we can still offer the call back, but use the time window to determine if we should route the caller to the call back queue.  We can still offer the call back, but if check the time and find it is outside of the window, we do NOT want to send the caller to the call back queue.  Remember once the caller is in the call back queue, we lose control of the call back!   Using Lambda and DynamoDB, we can write the callers request to a call back list for later processing,  rather than putting them in the call back queue.    We can then develop a watch dog timer, that scans the call back list and when the call back window reopens, we can stuff the caller request into the call back queue.

These options will offer a greater degree of control over the call back process, but what about that San Francisco caller?  How do we make sure we are not calling folks back in the wee hours of the morning?   We need to add additional logic to our function and additional attributes to our database items.   We can look at the area code of the caller requesting the call back, then compare the area code to a time zone map.

 

How can we improve these configuration options?

Clearly you can ask the caller what time they would like to be called back.  That would work and can be an additional attribute in your database items.  You would still use the above configuration options, but also take note of the time range the caller wants to be called back.

Check for existing call back requests!

Your call back configuration should also check to see if this caller has already made a request to be called back?  If you run a call center,  you know folks call in and request a call back, hang up, wait a few minutes and then call right back in and impatiently request another call back as if that might speed up the process.   We need to check our database of call backs and make sure this caller is not already subscribed to a call back request.

Check the caller’s phone number?

After requesting a call back, your configuration should note “I see you are calling from 1-844-4DrVoIP, is that the number you want us to call you back at”?    We can then confirm that number, or ask them to answer another number.

How to get to an Extension number?

The standard call back strategy is to dial the number and hope the target caller is reached.  Unfortunately, more times than not, a receptionist or voice mail IVR answers and wants to know how to complete your call.   Your configuration may need to not only ask for the number to call back on, but an extension number of name of an individual to ask for when the call back is dialed and answered by other than the person who requested the call back!

These are simple but powerful ways of taking the Amazon Connect call back engine and adding features and functionality to achieve a level of control over the call back function.  They distinguish a call center configured with little though to the call back strategy form a call center configured to maximize customer interaction success!

If you would like some help configuring these options, give us a call at 844-4DrVoIP or email and we would be eager to help you! – DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com

 

 

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

 

 

 

What exactly is a Contact Trace Record?

Exactly what  is a CTR?

Amazon Connect creates a “contact trace record” with a unique “contact ID” for each phone call in or out of the contact center.   Older legacy telephone folks would call this a SMDR or CDR (station message detail record or call detail record) but Amazon calls it a CTR.  The end result is the same, it is a record of the details of every call made or received into the system.    From within Amazon Connect you can search for these contact records through the dashboard in 14 day increments and review the details of each record.   Amazon keeps the CTRs for 24 months in a secret location that you can not access and for which no API currently exists!    You have two options:  First, search for them using the dashboard in 14 day increments  or setup a kinesis stream and a consumer to send CTR records to an S3 bucket or some other data lake for later review.   The basic CTR is ugly but it does have a great deal of useful data and all the more reason to make it more easily accessible!  Even if you were to save the CTR records you would then need to write a custom report generator to take this data and make it human readable to fit your reporting goals!

Dextr has an Activity screen that captures all of this information and makes it available in human readable format!