Amazon announced the launch yesterday of Amazon Connect, a cloud-based contact center solution offered by Amazon Web Services. Touted for its “ease of use and setup,” according to Pasquale DeMaio, Principal Product Manager of Amazon Connect, the new service aims to leverage AWS’ hosting prowess -- its scalability and flexibility -- to provide cost advantages and convenience for the many businesses whose services are hosted on its servers.
Zoho, which is hosted on AWS, is no exception. The company has already announced integration between Amazon Connect with Zoho CRM and helpdesk solution, Zoho Desk. The integration is achieved through Zoho’s existing PBX integration platform, called PhoneBridge; the Amazon Connect integration will enable Zoho CRM customers to opt for a call center service in which minutes are paid for on a per-use basis, similar to AWS. This allows them to use Amazon Connect’s call center services to augment their existing PBX solution -- for short-term promotions, seasonal spikes or new product launches -- and in some cases, no doubt, entice users away from those existing PBX providers.
The Zoho CRM integration with Amazon Connect is free for paying Zoho customers. The features will largely replicate that which PhoneBridge already provides -- automatic call logging, single-click calling, call reminders, the ability to add notes during and after calls. It will also have the potential to obtain contextual caller data based on their relationship with Amazon. Given that Amazon is the single largest online retailer and one of the largest in the world, with a wealth of data on its customers, this contextual could be invaluable for B2C businesses or account-based marketers.
The same goes for customer support: the Amazon Connect integration with Zoho Desk aims to provide contextual insight for support agents outside of what’s stored in the CRM. Zoho Desk call integration already allows agents to record calls for later review, voicemail for missed calls, Interactive Voice Response for customer navigation of the hotline and linkage of calls to new or existing support tickets. Whether or not the contextual caller insights add value in a company-specific support setting remains to be seen, but the per-use, as-needed billing model could presumably be of use during periods of unexpectedly high customer service activity.
Zoho will not be alone in their integration with Amazon Connect. Salesforce, Zendesk and Freshdesk have already announced their integration with the cloud-based call center service. Other CRMs and helpdesks can be expected to roll out their own integrations in the weeks and months to come.
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