AWS Public Sector Blog

Improving government contact center agent experience with Amazon Connect

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From local school districts to large federal agencies, today’s citizens expect to connect with government services in secure and frictionless ways. Sometimes, there is no single owner responsible for the end-to-end citizen experience, which results in a disconnect and makes it difficult to find information. As generations—young and old—move toward mobile channels and app-based workflows across commercial industries, customers expect a consistent, enjoyable experience when receiving critical government benefits and services.

Contact center agents are an important part of delivering this consistent experience to customers. While helping customers, agents typically switch between numerous applications, such as their contact center platform, CRM, ticketing, and knowledge management systems. Designing an experience that delivers timely insights and recommendations in a single screen enables agents to be the final and definitive resource in the customer service journey. In this post, we will explore how Amazon Connect, Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud contact center solution, delivers relevant information to agents through a unified experience.

Peraton, an AWS Premier Partner, has worked with multiple government agencies to improve both customer and agent experiences using Amazon Connect.

“Amazon Connect has been one of the fastest growing AWS services across our customer base. With its ease of implementation and our ability to rapidly stand up new deployments of Amazon Connect, we are meeting our customer needs for speed, innovation, new capabilities, and cost reduction,” said David Hammond, senior manager of the AWS Alliance at Peraton.

Integrated desktop for contact center agents

Amazon Connect Agent Workspace is a single web-based window where agents can accept customer contacts, access relevant caller information and prior issue details, and receive automated guidance to resolve issues as they arise. With native case management, unified customer profiles, and customizable guided experiences, agents are empowered with relevant and contextual information about callers inside of the application. Amazon Connect now delivers third-party applications support, which means agents can access their mission-critical, homegrown, and vendor-built applications in the same workspace. Having these core contact center systems available natively through Amazon Connect with minimal setup allows organizations to increase their speed of implementation and reduce the complexity of their infrastructure.

This speed of implementation is critical for Peraton, who sets up contact centers for multiple government agencies. Amazon Connect’s out-of-the-box agent workspace was a natural choice for Peraton.

“The agent workspace is simple to configure, easy to customize, and allows us to provide relevant information to our agents at the right point in the customer interaction,” said Robert Mullen, senior operations and support manager at Peraton.

Figure 1. Collage of images from the Amazon Connect Console, including screenshots of Voice Authentication, Customer information, Case management, Task management, and Third-party applications, each explained in more detail in the body of this blog post.

Unified customer and citizen profiles

When agents and government employees are interacting with the public, they typically have a small amount of background information about the citizens they are interacting with. Not having the full picture can cause delays, incorrect processing of information, and friction when a citizen is forced to repeat themselves.

Amazon Connect’s Customer Profiles allow agents to quickly access context about a caller, including name, contact information, contact history, prior issues/tickets, purchase history, and more. When the agent accepts a call, a customer profile will automatically pop open with the caller’s name or phone number. Customer profiles can also be used to personalize the interaction via interactive voice response (IVR) before a call reaches an agent.

When implementing contact centers for two federal agencies, Peraton chose Amazon Connect’s Customer Profiles, a native capability of the agent workspace, to tackle these challenges. With Amazon Connect’s Customer Profiles, caller data is captured and displayed immediately at the point of contact. For one contact center, Peraton used the out-of-the-box connectors to create Customer Profiles from caller data stored in ServiceNow, a third-party IT service management solution. By having customer data right inside of the agent workspace, Peraton saved agents significant time from having to manually search through customer data in ServiceNow.

“Our staff has a lot of verification steps that must be followed at the start and during most interactions. Customer Profiles have saved our agents time and data entry steps for citizens that already have a customer profile, increasing overall accuracy,” said Mullen.

Native case management capabilities

Government case management systems can be antiquated and difficult to integrate into the rest of the enterprise. Without a system that tracks the resolution of an issue from beginning to end, user issues can fall through the cracks. Amazon Connect’s agent workspace supports a flexible integration model, allowing customers to choose its native case management capability, or aggregate cases from third-party case management and ticketing systems inside the agent workspace.

Amazon Connect Cases, part of the agent workspace, empowers agents to track and manage customer issues that span multiple interactions, teams, and workstreams inside of the contact center. As a native part of their workspace, agents can view case history and activity through a single screen, eliminating the need to swap back and forth between applications. Amazon Connect Cases can also be brought into the IVR experience, enabling the capture of case data, providing case lookup and self-service operations without requiring the citizen to wait on hold. Together, with Amazon Connect Tasks, various cases can be associated with follow-up items for timely issue resolution without the need for a live conversation with a customer.

“We have implemented the Cases view for some customers, which provides a historical reference to all open or pending cases for an incoming contact,” said Pradeep Shukla, senior architect at Peraton. “Connect’s integration to third-party CRM solutions helped agents with quicker updates and faster resolutions. Since the integration, we have observed 15 percent higher customer service scores.”

The results have Peraton considering the use of Amazon Connect’s native case management capability to replace the third-party system.

Amazon Q in Connect

Organizations of any size can have complex policies and workstreams that make it hard for contact center agents to have the information they need readily available. This can lead to incorrect or outdated information being shared with the caller or constituent.

Amazon Q in Connect has been developed to address this issue, delivering real-time recommendations that help agents resolve customer issues quickly and accurately using generative artificial intelligence (AI). Previously referred to as Amazon Connect Wisdom, Amazon Q in Connect infers users’ intent during a call and provides agents with responses and actions derived from knowledge documents. Agents can also ask Amazon Q questions using natural language or keywords to help with other issues. Amazon Q in Connect can integrate with many popular software as a service (SaaS) knowledge bases, including Salesforce, ServiceNow, Zendesk, SharePoint, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Peraton has used the Amazon Q in Connect capability to support a federal agency that handles 200 unique call types. During training, Amazon Q helped agents reach proficiency faster by automatically displaying correct knowledge content during test calls, reducing the time for agents to scale their understanding of troubleshooting steps. For live customer calls, Amazon Q eliminates this mental workload for agents by displaying the relevant knowledge content automatically on the screen for the agent to complete the resolution.

“With Amazon Q in Connect, we shortened agent training time by 30 percent, increased the quality of our customer service from the moment agents began taking live calls, and reduced handle time by an additional 10 percent as agents ramped up,” said Mullen.

Manager configured agent workflows and step-by-step guides improve onboarding

When running a contact center, one of the biggest challenges an organization faces is training new agents to handle requests. Agents who are not properly trained can cause longer average handle times, perform processes inefficiently, and even provide incorrect information. These training processes can span numerous applications and lengthy onboarding processes like security clearances. Step-by-step guides in Amazon Connect can be highly effective in new hire onboarding, training, and whenever a new process is implemented with little to no time to do offline or group training.

With step-by-step guides for the Amazon Connect agent workspace, agencies and organizations can provide seamless experiences for contact center agents, enabling them to deliver exceptional service from their first day on the job. Using no-code UI-based guides, agents have relevant information at their fingertips, execute workflows that integrate with backend systems across the enterprise, and workspace capabilities, like Customer Profiles and Cases. Instead of onboarding agents to case management, ticketing, and CRM systems independently, agents can remain inside the workspace to perform all common tasks and processes. This allows consistent delivery of great customer experience at scale, as the agent never has to second-guess or rely on past experience to handle incoming inquiries.

Conclusion and next steps

In this post, we showed how Amazon Connect and partners like Peraton are helping government organizations and agencies of all sizes improve interaction with customers and employees using the Amazon Connect Agent Workspace.

Visit the AWS in the Public Sector page to learn from leading AWS technical experts who work with government agencies and nonprofits on deploying cloud contact centers and read use cases, customer success stories, and practical tips to easily create and operate a secure, agile, and elastic contact center at scale.

Samuel Frederick

Samuel Frederick

Samuel is a specialist solutions architect for Amazon Connect at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He works with federal government, nonprofit, and healthcare customers to implement scalable customer experience solutions.

David Hammond

David Hammond

David Hammond is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Alliance senior manager for Peraton. David works across the enterprise with programs to drive innovation and modernization. He has more than 20 years of IT experience in the public sector.

Pradeep Shukla

Pradeep Shukla

Pradeep Shukla is a senior architect at Peraton and supports various Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions for federal and civilian clients.

Robert Mullen

Robert Mullen

Robert Mullen is a senior operations and support manager at Peraton. He has more than 25 years of contact center and workforce optimization experience across the government, commercial, and healthcare industries.

Sandeep Rao

Sandeep Rao

Sandeep is a worldwide go-to-market specialist for Amazon Connect at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Sean Mullen

Sean Mullen

Sean is a senior solutions architect in the Federal Partners Organization at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He supports Peraton with public sector missions.