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Amazon Connect comes to Cape Town

Omnichannel cloud contact centre promises businesses 80% saving over traditional contact centre solutions

Amazon Web Services has announced the general availability of Amazon Connect in Cape Town, bringing the cloud contact centre solution to the African continent for the first time.

Amazon Connect is a highly scalable and cost-effective omnichannel cloud contact centre solution that helps companies provide improved customer service across voice, chat, and tasks at a lower cost than traditional contact centre systems. It is currently used by tens of thousands of customers worldwide, including local customers like Standard Bank Group. 

The solution is now open to any business in South Africa, thanks to its availability in the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region.

Customer experience is critical for any business, but traditional contact centre technologies are often costly and difficult to use. Companies also often lack basic machine learning (ML) capabilities, which empower businesses to improve their customer service. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many contact centre managers using traditional solutions could not easily shift agents to work remotely or scale to keep up with their customers’ changing needs. Amazon Connect helps businesses overcome these limitations. It requires no infrastructure to deploy or manage,  is easy to use, and it scales up and down as contact volumes change. 

The service includes embedded ML to save agents time and enable businesses to provide natural, efficient, and personalised experiences to customers with a few clicks, allowing organisations to automate interactions, understand customer sentiment, and enable self-service operations. Amazon Connect is more cost-effective than traditional solutions because companies only pay for the time agents interact with customers. 

“With increasingly high customer expectations and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, enterprises are accelerating their shift from traditional contact centre solutions to more flexible, scalable, and intelligent cloud-based services like Amazon Connect,” says Chris Erasmus, country manager of AWS. “The launch of Amazon Connect in the Cape Town Region helps enterprises provide consistent, responsive, and personalised support to their customers, no matter where their agents or customers are located. Amazon Connect contact centres can be set up and configured in minutes, and agents only need a headset and an Internet connection to get started.” 

Prashant Prakash, who leads Accenture AWS Business Group in Africa, says: “We’ve seen first-hand benefits from Amazon Connect for clients to improve their business agility and enhance their customer and employee experience. One example is Standard Bank, where Accenture is driving the implementation of Amazon Connect to help modernise one of the largest South African contact centres.

“We helped consolidate more than 70 different entry points into a single-entry point. Over 1,000 users are currently using the platform, handling over 20,000 calls a day. As part of the move to Amazon Connect, Live chat – a channel the bank did not have previously – will be introduced, allowing customers to engage in a truly omnichannel way.”

Alpheus Mangale, group chief engineering officer at Standard Bank Group, says: “Our customer interactions change all the time. Some of our customers prefer in-person interactions in our branch offices or speaking with a person in our call centres and, at the other end of the spectrum, we have customers who prefer a fully-digital experience that includes email, instant messaging, and chatbots.

Providing a seamless experience for all our customers is what we strive for. That’s why we are excited about Amazon Connect, which is omnichannel in nature. It provides task automation, authentication, fraud risk detection, and many other features.” 

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