3 Reasons Kustomer’s Amazon Connect Integration Will Revolutionize Your Contact Center

Kustomer has just announced it’s newest integration with Amazon Web Services’ Amazon Connect to deliver next-level omnichannel support and experience for enterprises and contact centers.

Amazon Connect is the cloud-based contact center voice solution created by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and based on the same technology used by over 70,000 Amazon customer service associates around the world. Kustomer’s integration with Amazon Connect seamlessly pulls AWS’s robust technology into a single convenient timeline view.

Not only will this help contact centers and support teams deliver a more personal and memorable experience over all of their channels, but agents can stay in a single screen uninterrupted while answering calls.

The integrated solution is already live in enterprise-level contact centers in companies such as Ring, the global home security provider. As COO Jon Irwin noted, “Moving forward with Kustomer’s Amazon Connect integration was one of the best decisions we have made for our community support team as well as our end customers, or ‘neighbors’.”

“We’re excited to be using Kustomer’s robust platform, which is not only reliable, but increases service efficiency, giving us an edge in providing unparalleled neighbor experience.”

You can see our native Amazon Connect integration in the video below. To see more of our integration in action, register for our webinar on November 15th.

Personalized IVR Experience

 Customers expect more personal and convenient experiences, even when they get an automated response after calling your customer service number. With Kustomer’s Amazon Connect integration, IVR can become more responsive and personalized than your customers ever imagined. Because Amazon Connect’s IVR data-dips directly into Kustomer’s CRM database, contact centers of any size can easily customize their phone trees based on customer information. You can route customers based on their interaction history or previous issues, create a shortcut for VIPs or those affected by a specific outage, present different options for customers with open orders, and more.

Everything in a Single Screen

Consolidating all your platforms into one intuitive interface massively increases agent efficiency and improves the experience for your customers, because agents have all the information they need at their fingertips. Once agents accept a call from a customer, they can see the full timeline and history of whoever is calling in. Then the call recording and relevant data is automatically saved as part of the conversation, along with the agent’s notes, and agents can easily follow up over SMS, Email, Phone, Chat, and more.

Streamline Service with Multichannel Routing

Kustomer and Amazon Connect provide the modern features omnichannel team managers expect. Amazon Connect is the only voice integration that syncs with the Kustomer router, giving managers the utmost flexibility in building and monitoring their queues. Kustomer includes reports and live dashboards, providing managers with a real, live look into the performance of their contact centers. That makes it easy to ensure the right agents are handling the right customers at the right time based on your needs over every channel. Our integration even takes into account whether blended agents are or are not on a call, pausing incoming messages when they’re on the phone so that your workloads are always properly managed.

The Amazon Connect Enterprise Application is available today. For more information, visit our dedicated Amazon Connect integrations page, or sign up for our webinar on November 15th for a live demo with our product team.

Platform Improvements, Channel Updates, Integrations, and more

Product Update

Our engineering and product teams have been busy launching new features, adding new integrations, and making your top requests a reality. Here are the highlights of what we’ve added in this past quarter, in case you missed any.

Queues and Routing

Kustomer is happy to announce our brand new, enterprise-grade queueing and routing feature. Queues are integral to managing high-volume contact centers, and for good reasons. Queues enable contact centers to monitor their inbound traffic in real-time and optimize the wait time in the queue. Kustomer has adopted this model for the omnichannel world. Now organizations can create queues according to their business priorities across channels, assign queues to teams, and have full visibility into the real-time status of the queues and agents’ capacity. Read more in our blog post.

Platform Improvements

Inbound Messages Heatmap

Check out our new report that will help you better understand the volume of inbound messages that your teams are handling, and which time of the week has the highest volume. You can also filter the report by specific Teams and Channels to further segment inbound messages.

Team Mentions

You can now mention entire teams in a note! Mentioning a team is just as easy as mentioning a user- simply type the @ sign and type a team’s name.

Sending a team mention in a note will notify all members of that team that they have been mentioned. Clicking the notification will link them back the conversation in which they were mentioned.

SAML 2.0 Integration

For many organizations, the usage of a SAML provider is key to providing easy access to all necessary systems for their employees. We’re happy to announce that you can now add Kustomer to that list of systems which can be accessed by your SAML provider.

For customers in our Ultimate Tier, you’ll be able to create an App within your SAML provider and tie it to your Kustomer account. Once set up a “Sign in with SAML” option will appear on the login screen for your users.

Channel Updates

Knowledge Base Image Upload

We’ve added the ability to upload images directly to articles within your Knowledge Base. Images can be hosted on Kustomer media library or on an external URL. When uploading images, you can either browse your computer or easily drag and drop right into the upload area.

That’s it for product updates this quarter, follow @Kustomer on social media for to-the-minute updates of our new features and integrations!

Kustomer Queues Make Routing Painless for Contact Centers

Kustomer is happy to announce our brand new, enterprise-grade queueing and routing feature. Queues are essential to managing high-volume contact centers, and for good reason. Queues enable contact centers to monitor their inbound traffic in real-time and optimize customer wait times. Kustomer has adopted this model for the omnichannel world. Now organizations can create queues according to their business priorities across channels, assign queues to teams, and have full visibility into the real-time status of queues and agents.

Unique benefits to using Kustomer Queues are:

  • Queues work in real-time so managers can identify peaks in traffic and reassign agents accordingly.
  • Queues are set up so that every conversation can be in a single queue, so conversations are viewed and handled by a single agent.
  • Wait time, handle time, and wrap time are well-defined so are easier to track and optimize through reports and live dashboards.
  • Agents’ status is connected to the Kustomer Router, thus agents will not get assigned with new conversations when unavailable or during a call.

Queues that work for you

Queues can be defined in any way that makes sense for your business. You can create queues as simple as channel queues (like chat or email) or create more sophisticated queues like “Customers with Lifetime Value of more than $10K”, or for “Conversations with a ‘Return’ tag”. Each queue is assigned to a team, so the Kustomer Router will route new conversations to an available agent with that team. As conversations can only exist in one queue, view collisions between agents are eliminated and productivity increases.

Availability-based Routing and Reassigning

When agents start their shift they switch their status to Available to start getting conversations from the queues assigned to their team. If agents go on a break or finish a shift, they can toggle the status to the relevant unavailable status (e.g., Lunch, Break, or anything else). That will indicate the Kustomer Router to automatically stop sending new conversations to these agents.

The agent status is clearly indicated in the platform, so fellow agents can reassign conversations and managers can monitor and reassign agents, based on their availability. This is especially useful when managing remote teams.

 

Multichannel Routing for the Omnichannel Contact Center

As an omnichannel platform, Kustomer Router includes a multichannel routing capability ensuring that when an agent is on a call, the router automatically stops assigning new conversations to this agent (either voice, email or chat), and resume once wrap-up is done. This capability is available, for example, via the Amazon Connect integration.

Real-time Contact Center Insights

Live dashboards provide managers with real-time information on the status of different aspects of the contact center. This is especially useful when managing remote teams. Such aspects include:

  • Agent status – How many agents are available, what agents are working on (overall and down to the conversation), and what their workload is.
  • Queues – How many conversations are waiting in different queues, and are some queues more busy than others.
  • Customer experience – The average wait time for customers on different queues and channels, and the average handle time once they interact with an agent.

Dashboards are updated as frequently as every 15 seconds, managers can even display them on a big screen in the office.

For more information about Queues and Routing and how to implement them in your own organization, check out this article or request a demo below.

 

Kustomer + Michael Pace: Is Agent Empowerment Today All Wrong?

How do you empower your customer service agents to deliver a great experience and delight customers? How do you hand down your company’s vision and purpose, so that they can bring that to all of your stakeholders? Well, we thought we’d speak with Michael Pace to find out.

Michael is the Principal and founder of the consultancy The Pace of Service, which helps organizations to realize the full benefit of Customer Service, Social Business, Business Process Management, and People Leadership. There he’s worked with some amazing brands like Tory Burch, David Yurman, and Rue La La among many others. He’s also the President of the Northeast Contact Center Forum, which puts on quarterly events for contact center and customer experience professionals.

In this episode, we go deep into the world of agent empowerment, covering what empowerment means, how to build trust between manager and agents, how to build trust, and how to set guidelines for responsible freedom. Listen to the podcast to get all that great knowledge, and check out this related post from Michael’s blog below:

Leaders: You Are Doing Empowerment All Wrong

Every management book will tell you that you need to empower your associates. In many ways, it does make perfect sense; the more your associates can do the right thing for customers on their own, everyone wins.

  • Customers get their issue resolved or the product they want with limited hassle.
  • Your associates are more fulfilled and their overall engagement and morale increases.
  • And you, as the leader, get the opportunity cost of focusing on more strategic priorities
    But you are doing it wrong (maybe).

Somehow the word empowerment turned into something that you can give to another person, like a magical gift. Or I can bop you on your head, like a holy man, and now you are empowered (dusts hands off in a proud manner of achievement). Or you have been hypnotized by my mystical words of leadership.

Empowerment is like energy, I cannot physically give you mine; it already resides in your associates. If you believe you can actually pass it along, you may be essentially passing over nothing. However, if we believe empowerment is something that I (your manager) can help unlock within you (associate), we can take the appropriate steps to unleash it. So instead of talking about empowerment, I talk with my reports about how I can help them exercise their responsible freedom, and how they can help their reports exercise theirs.

I discovered the phrase in a book by Chip R. Bell & Ron Zemke called Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service. It’s a great book for the Customer Service Leader who looking for direction that spans both strategic and tactical, combined with real life stories. Exercising Responsible Freedom is simply knowing the right thing to do, understanding the risk, recognizing your proverbial guardrails, having solid rationale, and most importantly doing something. Sounds a lot like empowerment, but with some real power.

How do you do it?

  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Have the respect for your associates to treat them like adults. Far too often, I encounter people leaders who act more like parents than business leaders. Your associates typically have mortgages, rents, insurance, bills, children, and a whole host of other responsibilities, they can handle more than you think. If they can’t, you probably need to reassess their future and the time you invest in them.
  2. Paint the Vision: You cannot expect people to know and do the right thing if they do not know what direction you are going. Describe to your associates what the realistic future looks like, and have conversations (two way) about what it means to them.
  3. Provide the Flexible Guardrails: Talk about what would be going too far, and talk about what is too safe. Use examples of what is in scope and what should remain out of scope. In regulated industries, providing this detailed information is critical for wary associates.
  4. Discuss Possible Outcomes: Have a discussion about if something did go wrong. Develop operating agreements that provide a safe zone for both you and the associate to review lessons learned. I find myself often saying to people, if you had a good rationale for actions, you will never been in trouble. But if I asked “why”, and their answer is “I don’t know” or “I just did it”, we will need to talk more. And don’t forget to talk about the incredible things that can happen if they take the appropriate leap.
  5. Let them know you TRUST them: Just overtly saying to associates, “I trust you to ….” is amazingly powerful confidence builder. It reaches them on both a professional and personal level. See prior post on Trust for more info.

It is evident that service and relationship building are key differentiators between similar businesses. Customer’s expectations are pacing with the speed of technology and process innovation. If you provide scripted and/or automated responses to customers, they will repay you with the equal amount of passion. If your social support team is tweeting right out of the traditional public relations handbook, you will most likely anger or disenfranchise your customers. Same goes for customer service representatives who must use the caller’s full name 3 times in a call.

We need to hire, develop and foster our associates (and our associates’ associates) to think critically, do what they believe is the right thing for the customer, and not feel they have done something wrong by erring on the side of the customer. When they exercise their responsible freedom, they engage customers on a human level, they build strong relationships, and they have the true opportunity to “WOW” a customer.

Deliver effortless, personalized customer service.

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