In our first blog, we covered our news that Vonage achieved the AWS competency for machine learning in applied AI. Vonage now partners with AWS to bring AI into the contact center environment through AWS Contact Center Intelligence (CCI). This blog details CCI, its customer and partner benefits, and the problems it can solve.
So What Is CCI?
Contact Center Intelligence, or CCI, represents the augmentation of existing contact centers with new services such as AI, machine learning, translation, transcription, sentiment analysis, bot services, and many other scenarios. CCI basically provides a wide range of new features for contact centers to impact customer support experience and satisfaction, optimize contact center costs and efficiency, increase support capabilities for agents and supervisors, and provide more data and self-service opportunities among the customer, agent, and contact center.
The key is that customers who operate their contact centers don’t necessarily have to move immediately to a more modern cloud native contact center (CCaaS). They’re able to enhance their existing contact center based on legacy technology or even cloud technology with augmentation.
Why Customers Should Look Into CCI
Contact centers are fundamentally changing. They once were mostly a customer service function focused on troubleshooting and resolving issues. Today, contact centers have become the key point of contact for businesses to support customers across the journey—from the point of consideration to post sales.
Representatives who once focused on a limited set of tasks and knowledge must now handle a multitude of inquiries. And these span the entire spectrum of customer types, from first-time buyers looking for more information to long-standing customers who need troubleshooting support. Layer in customer expectations of timely and accurate outcomes, and the challenge to keep up by simple human power becomes a near-Herculean task.
Globally, the volume of contact center interactions continues to increase. That’s why companies see multiple opportunities to leverage AI technology to improve the customer experience. These can include 24/7 self-serve virtual agents that can provide timely and accurate answers to customer queries, agent assist solutions to improve agent productivity, or call analytics to generate further operational improvements.
Still, piecing together the various technologies to build an AI- and ML-driven intelligent contact center—unique to the goals and needs of each business—can be a significant undertaking. Also, adding multiple components to an existing contact center further complicates matters. And it can be enormously challenging to connect multiple contact centers and vendor solutions, enhance contact centers in a scalable way, and maintain the increasing complexity with new services and enhancements.
Why Vonage for AWS CCI?
Contact centers provide a wide range of functionality and channels to efficiently support customers. But the rich feature set, complexity of components, and integration between contact centers and other legacy or third-party systems make it difficult to enhance specific capabilities—such as adding AI/ML, automation, self-services, and others into an existing solution.
IT and contact center teams continually modify and customize their contact center platform. And in some cases, it’s not feasible to invest in custom development to improve the overall contact center experience. Another challenge is that every contact center vendor has different interfaces, APIs, and technical support capabilities for integration and customization—what works for one contact center vendor might not work for another.
With AWS CCI and the Vonage API platform, contact centers can intuitively improve and augment with the latest AI/ML services. Vonage and AWS provide a simple, scalable, and fast route to deploy AWS AI and ML services with nearly any contact center. This connects the Vonage API platform in between the AWS cloud and legacy or cloud contact center—all based on standard mechanisms, interfaces, and protocols.
Vonage for AWS CCI is also a great opportunity for custom integrations. That’s because many customers still require external resources to design, modify, and deploy CCI use cases for their contact center.
A Typical CCI Topology
The architecture illustrates the integration between all core components, the contact center, the Vonage API platform, and AWS AI services. In a simple voice call example, the Vonage API platform manages the complexity of connecting the call—so all you need is to provision a Vonage virtual number, assign it to your app, and implement HTTP request handlers (webhooks) to instruct the voice platform with the desired call control actions.
Quite a similar approach can be used for other scenarios to integrate IVR, video, messaging, and more.
In a call scenario that connects the caller to an Amazon Lex bot—similar to what’s shown in the diagram below—a call comes into a Vonage Virtual Number, and the Voice API will fetch an NCCO (Nexmo Call Control Object) from the application server. From there:
- The NCCO will give our Voice API platform instructions to connect an outbound call to a WebSocket endpoint
- The WebSocket connection is established back to the voice application, which is acting as the middleware between the Vonage Voice platform and Amazon Lex
- The middleware application will take the chunks of audio from the Voice API platform and send them to Amazon Lex
- Amazon Lex will return both an audio response from the bot as binary data and a JSON payload containing transcription and sentiment data
- The middleware will forward the audio response back through the WebSocket connected to the Voice API, where the user will hear it and process transcription or sentiment data
Transcription and sentiment data can then be displayed in a contact center view for real-time analysis or stored for post-call analysis.
Vonage on AWS CCI is not limited to voice-only scenarios. With the integration of the Vonage API platform, it’s also possible to add other channels and use cases like text-to-speech; speech recognition; SMS; video; notification services; real-time analytics for agent assist; post-call analytics; WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger integration; and more.
One of the key advantages is that the Vonage API platform provides a rich set of tools to customize nearly any form of augmentation for the contact center. Additionally, many of the building blocks are ready to plug and play into the existing contact center and connect with AWS CCI services.
With these building blocks, the Vonage API platform provides the opportunity to integrate an existing contact center through SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and connect to AWS Services by leveraging a WebSocket. By connecting AWS AI services with the Vonage API platform, Vonage provides the ability to intercept calls; modify and customize the contact center logic; tap into media; add security, intelligence, and automation; and offer a universal connector to link nearly any third-party contact center with modern AI/ML services.
Let’s Look Into Some Scenarios
It doesn’t matter if you’re building a contact center solution from scratch or already have a legacy contact center. Vonage can help you enhance services with modern features and workflows, such as AI voice assistants, sentiment analysis, Voice API, and partner solutions. There are three categories of contact center-focused use cases where the Voice API can help:
- Self-service: Offer more choice where customers can select self-service for faster resolutions or smart FAQs for low-complexity inquiries
- Real-time analytics and agent assist: Empower agents with real-time insights and in-call tools delivered through AI engines; also provide feedback to the customer’s real-time call experience and populate key information so agents can provide a top-level customer experience
- Post-call analytics: Extract meaningful insights from recorded calls or chats to help agents and supervisors better understand conversations with customers; uncover patterns and quality concerns so that they can resolve issues faster and ultimately improve the overall customer experience; and reference post-call speech analytics dashboards and operational performance statistics and provide insights for managers, quality assurance personnel, and other leadership groups
Where to Start?
These handy references can help you start with Vonage on AWS CCI: