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Modernizing the Support Center with Amazon Alexa

September 25 2018

Any business operating today is familiar with the need to provide support to their customers. Typically, this involves a call center solution when a product or service is first rolled out and, over time, grows to include support tools like online forums or knowledge bases to help manage the increased complexity to support a growing customer or product base.

Although technologies continue to advance and changes have been made to how support centers operate, the costs to maintain or sustain these types of solutions continue to grow. ClearScale, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, recognized this challenge after talking with a number of different clients and set out to determine if there was a way to overcome this barrier to support using more modern technologies while minimizing costs.

The Challenge

One popular method of extending support to customers is for organizations to adopt chatbot technologies. If done correctly, these online automated response systems can serve to deflect many incoming customer questions without the need of them calling into the call center. With the advent of voice-driven technologies, these chatbots have taken on a new form and have become, by extension, easier to use and more preferred over their online counterparts.

ClearScale wanted to demonstrate how a voicebot solution could work in the AWS environment by leveraging QnABot. When executed effectively, QnABot allows companies to recognize the power of Amazon Alexa and Amazon Lex to respond to commonly asked questions, thus allowing for a smoother interface for your customers while still providing an avenue to deliver responses in a more natural way thereby lowering call volumes.

The Solution

To develop the proof of concept (POC), ClearScale deployed QnABot to an AWS instance, which took around 30 minutes to configure. From there, developers populated the QnABot with a series of questions and answers that a support center might answer on any given day using the Content Designer UI that comes as part of QnABot.

Once the initial content was populated, ClearScale used the Web Client UI to test out the solution via both voice and chatting before then configuring Amazon Alexa to interact with the service. This allowed them to test the voice interaction in a hands-free manner to confirm that the initial implementation worked well.

From there, ClearScale developers were able to augment the answers with images, rich text, and SSML content and set up a series of follow-up questions customers might have. This allowed the chatbot and voicebot combination to be much more robust than typical solutions. The implementation also meant that ClearScale could integrate the solution with other services or data sources to provide richer, more dynamic answers. All the while, they tuned the QnABot service to rectify wrong answers and improve the accuracy of the results.

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The Benefit

ClearScale was able to take the POC and demonstrate it to a variety of existing clients to get feedback on the result. The approval received was confirmation that this unique approach to a common problem than many businesses face was a step in the right direction. If fully implemented, the ClearScale solution could provide a much needed additional channel for support issues while lowering overall costs of support by reducing hold times and allowing agents to focus on more complex support issues.

Further, the solution can scale as needed and allow organizations to leverage it in other operational business operations, both internal and externally facing. This modernization of querying and interacting with systems and processes in a hands-free voice-only manner could allow many organizations to realize real cost savings while improving overall processes and allowing employees to focus on more complex problems by leaving the QnABot service to handle the more mundane and repetitive activities. With ever evolving tools like Amazon Alexa, Lex and Skills that are becoming more popular with consumers and businesses alike, it makes sense that leveraging these will make an organization more competitive.

ClearScale was able to take a simple concept and expand on it in ways that others have not considered previously. Our technical expertise and acumen allows us to see patterns and solutions that are critical to business operations and devise architectures and products that leverage AWS Services in unique and interesting ways.

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