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How Scalefocus Is Transforming Customer Experience for Contact Centers Worldwide

How Scalefocus Is Transforming Customer Experience for Contact Centers Worldwide

Published on: 31 May 2023 9 min read

Ana Jovanovska, a DevOps engineer from our North Macedonian team, played a key part in a project for an end-to-end digital CX solutions provider. The company implements Amazon Connect across call centers globally. This entails various levels of DevOps interventions and optimizations that help these centers take advantage of all benefits that Amazon’s innovative cloud-based solution offers.

In this article, Ana talks about the intricacies of working for a company that navigates clients from around the world and gives a detailed overview of the technical approach she and her team adopted in the project. 

Introduction

At the core of every business, apart from generating revenue, there is another desired result: positive customer feedback. One fact has become increasingly obvious — we can’t talk about good customer experience (CX) in the context of IT without acknowledging the important role DevOps plays in it. 

With the introduction of new approaches to technology and the world embracing DevOps culture, the scale to which software development can make an impact is expanding rapidly. Software engineers across the world are becoming more agile and are building a mindset whose primary goal is to bring teams closer together for better business results.

Why is DevOps especially important today?

DevOps grew from the Lean management approach, a long-term strategy seeking to achieve small, incremental process changes to improve efficiency and quality. That is why Agile as software development methodology fits in with DevOps culture. With the help of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), both disciplines can be integrated to allow teams to collaborate more effectively in the whole product delivery lifecycle. This results in increased quality for the customer.

How the Agile methodology fits in with DevOps culture

The DevOps approach to software development is an iterative process as projects move from development stages (plan, design, build, and test), through to operations stages (release, deploy, operate, and monitor), and back to the development stages for continuous improvement.

Customer Experience and how DevOps culture fits in it

Customer experience (CX) is defined by all interactions customers have with a company at all stages of the customer journey—even if none of them results in a purchase. It focuses on the relationship between a business and end-users. 

DevOps for Customer Experience takes DevOps practices and focuses on the unique aspects of CX software, enabling speed and quality. One of the key focus areas in DevOps for Customer Experience is the customer’s perspective. If a company can learn to integrate demands from its clients through their DevOps culture, it will meet customer demands faster. 

Until fairly recently, DevOps hadn’t intersected with customer experience yet. Over the last few years, however, it has become much more commonplace as companies are forced to diversify their ways of staying ahead of the competition. To get into the DevOps CX mindset, IT providers must realize that CX is not limited to just the look and feel of a software product. 

We are starting to see DevOps adopted almost universally for its capacity to bring efficiency at the forefront quickly. Companies can use it to overcome business obstacles and ensure a seamless workflow between all SDLC stakeholders. They can set clear goals, improve communication, develop an innovative culture, and create a customer-centric development plan.   

The project in focus 

Scalefocus’s DevOps team worked for а digital customer experience leader with a focus on service design, strategic consulting, and technology platforms delivering digital CX transformation. The company excels in delivering cloud-based enterprise contact center solutions helping businesses improve customer engagement while maximizing the benefits of the cloud. The company is an expert in CTI Integration for Amazon Connect, a cloud-based enterprise contact center solution. 

What is Amazon Connect? 

Amazon Connect is an enterprise cloud solution for contact centers. It enables customer service representatives to respond to phone calls or chat inquiries from end customers just as if the contact center infrastructure was set up and managed on-premises. It allows even small companies to have their own call centers without investing huge budgets. Amazon Connect provides an omnichannel experience meaning that customers that call in can choose between voice and chat to get the assistance they need. Any conversation is maintained across both channels and callers can easily swap between them without restarting the conversation from scratch. 

Amazon Connect has integrations with several other services, such as RDS, DynamoDB, Lambda, Kinesis and Lex. It also supports a feature called Contact Lens, which provides sentiment analysis, transcriptions, and the ability to redact sensitive information from recordings and transcriptions. The solution, created in 2017, revolutionizes traditional contact center experiences for agents and customers alike. 

Success story 

Adopting technologies in and out of the Cloud was challenging for the company Scalefocus worked with as it was facing several clients with various requirements. The DevOps unit facilitated the collaboration of teams, improved the existing structures, and provided guidance and innovation consultancy. Our main focus was bringing best practices when building Infrastructure as Code with Terraform. The solution uses Amazon Connect as the leading solution representing public cloud contact center service.  

Amazon Connect can interact with systems and dynamically take different paths in contact flows. To achieve this, engineers invoked AWS Lambda functions in a contact flow, fetched the results, and called a company’s own services or interacted with other AWS data stores or services.

How call centers utilize Amazon Connect

This meant the execution flow was completely automated, and the code was reusable for different environments.

The primary resources created with Terraform were:

  • DynamoDB
  • Lambda
  • AWS Connect

The Lambda Function resource allows the triggering execution of code in response to events in AWS Connect. The Lambda Function itself includes source code and runtime configuration. The integration with AWS Connect and DynamoDB was made entirely with dependency on Terraform resources.

It’s worth mentioning the use of AWS Developer Tools like CDK and SAM, and the implementation of Lambdas using different programming languages like Typescript and Python. CI/CD systems vary from client-to-client requirements starting from the native AWS CodeBuild, CodeCommit, CodeDeploy and CodePipeline to Jenkins or GitHub Actions.

The DevOps team refactored the entire Terraform infrastructure from 4000 lines of code to just 200, following reusability and integrations of other interactions to the configuration, without breaking what was already created in one or more environments. They accomplished this thanks to adopting development from the DevOps workflow so anyone could contribute to this infrastructure without the explicit knowledge of Terraform.

How was this achieved? 

Some of the user inputs were mapped in CSV files. Instead of implementing those directly as local values to the Terraform configuration where the appropriate resources absorb them, thanks to the collaboration between developers and DevOps, they created a JavaScript script that reads and converts CSV inputs as JSON objects and then with a single call of a proper function for JSON files in Terraform IaC that was accomplished. In this way, a company doesn’t need only DevOps people when another set of new data comes in because Developers can contribute too. 

However, engineers are not always building or repairing what’s inherited, and do their fair part as the middle person, primarily during the planning phase. Why? Because many hidden risks may appear along one project, like a Region limitation of available services or some tools not being supported in that scope. So our experts did a lot of upfront Proof of concepts to ensure that what they offer the client is 100% optimal. 

The rapid adoption of a company’s culture is a must for agile engineers in the Scalefocus DevOps team. We learn how to understand the client, and in that way, we make sure we provide fast and reliable solutions. We attend our clients’ meetings to make sure the design phase and what we deliver are fully aligned. Besides being experts in our field, we do constant training from the client side to understand the culture better and build a mirror character of their environment. 

A job well done

As a result of the Amazon Connect implementation that our DevOps team completed for a number of call centers, all of them became agile and can now handle an increased call volume. Thanks to features such as automated call recording and integrated call-back, agents can help people faster, while simultaneously improving service quality. Through Amazon Connect’s sentiment analysis, the call centers now generate consistent and objective results when analyzing customers’ opinions. 

The Scalefocus team also helped develop conversational designs, which is a two-way interaction between a user and a system, usually a chatbot. Good conversational designs make end users feel heard and allow call centers to get better insights into what their customers really need. Scalefocus also assisted a call center with their CX digitalization by setting up a browser-based phone system that allowed the removal of analog lines and made call processing from around the globe faster and more effective.

About the Author:

Ana Jovanovska

DevOps Engineer

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