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Perficient’s Amazon Connect Team – Alan Ching

As a member of the Amazon Web Services Partner Network, Perficient combines cloud expertise with the power of AWS to enable quick access to innovative technologies. Clients can spend more time on their core business competencies and less time worrying about the technology behind it.

A product within the Amazon Web Services platform, Amazon Connect creates powerful customer service solutions, providing an easy-to-use, cloud-based customer contact center that scales to support organizations of any size. We’re experts in the implementation, migration and on-going management of Amazon Connect services. In our on-going series about our Amazon Connect team, we hear from Lead Business Consultant Alan Ching. 

Can you tell me a bit about your education and technology background?

I have a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, where I studied computer science and economics. My main interest was in computer science ‑ so programming and development work. After graduating, I started out as a software developer and my career grew from there.

What is your role at Perficient?

I am a Lead Business Consultant in the Enterprise Services Products group, working primarily with the Amazon Connect space. My focus is on helping our delivery team on work items, planning and clarifications. My role involves a lot of communication with clients, aligning their expectations, and ensuring our delivery team has a clear path forward.

I started as a developer, and my career has shifted to include project management work.  I still enjoy development, and at times will go and build out Amazon Connect contact flows. However, if there is project management work that needs doing, I’ll shift my focus to that. There are a lot of moving parts to each project. We need someone tracking everything so that we don’t veer off course.

What is a typical day like for you?

Ideally, all meetings happen in the morning.  In these meetings, we’ll walk-through our plan for the rest of the day, and call-out any concerns. This is something I recommend for all projects.

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After that, it depends on what’s needed. One thing I spend time doing is cleaning up requirements, or grooming client stories. What this means is taking the project requirements from the client and turning them into actionable, bite-sized pieces of work: user stories. By splitting them up into manageable chunks, it becomes much easier to plan-out.  I would then work extensively with the client to put them in an order that provides the most immediate business value, and give the client a clear idea of how our delivery team will ultimately arrive at the end of the project.

Another thing I typically do is identify any areas where I can help my development team improve. As mentioned previously, I could help with contact flows (in Amazon Connect). With my background, I’m able to jump in and help build those out, freeing them up to focus on more technical and complex work items, such as writing Lambda functions, or work on build deployment automation.

What is it about AWS (and Amazon Connect) that gets you excited?

For me, it’s the cost savings. I come from a commerce background and I’m used to seeing customers paying six, or seven figures for enterprise level contracts. I also hear of a similar figure for implementing traditional call centers.  This changes with Amazon Connect, as it is a pay-per-use model, and the fees are very low. Traditional contact centers required buying heaps of equipment, and then having to pay overhead to manage and maintain it. AWS and Amazon Connect completely removes that from the equation. Amazon deals with the equipment now, which allows companies to shift their focus to how their contact center should function and what features they want available. It’s a very big shift, but it’s a good one because customers can now allocate so much more budget on improving customer experience instead of putting it into the equipment.

Can you tell me about a technical challenge one of your clients faced and how you overcame it?

A social services company I worked with comes to mind. The company needed to make a system that would allow workers to conduct appointments and services with clients, and record the time worked. This process needed to be quick, simple, and the time tracking needed to be accurate to the minute.

Knowing the wide availability of phones and cellphones, and the simplicity of dialing a phone number, we used Amazon Connect to achieve our goals.  We built an IVR self-service menu that allowed workers and their clients to confirm their visitation events.

The process is quick; a worker dials into a toll-free number, authenticates themselves, selects the client they are billing hours for, and clocks-in or clocks-out of the system. The system provided multiple validation paths to confirm these visitations:  automatically dialing out to the client to confirm, allowing the worker to hand the device over for validation, or a self-serve toll-free number.  This resulted in a successful implementation that was easy to put users onto the platform and required very minimal application updates or upkeep.

What do you like most about working with clients?

It’s all about the end result. Just hearing in a client’s voice that they’re happy and satisfied with the solution we’ve provided. And all the days leading up to it, striving to set expectations early and ensuring they are informed and up-to-date. This helps avoid the confusion that could occur due to lack of communication.

Do you think it’s important for contact centers to evolve with all the changing technology?

It’s really important. Contact centers need to adjust to how customers choose to reach out to them. It could be that they’ll move away from calls and try to look for some kind of chatting mechanism. Or it could be that they need to provide a more personalized experience. Also, it’s important to find ways to offer self-service. This allows customers to get the information they need without having to speak to a live agent. Studies show that today’s customers are more focused on doing their own personal research before going out to seek help from a person. With things like AI and Lex, AWS is able to support all of that, which is exciting. AWS is enabling us to be ready for the future.

Do you have any advice to a company that might be thinking of switching to a cloud-based contact center but might be worried or unsure about where to start?

I think companies are hesitant to switch because they believe it will result in a six or seven figure investment, and a years-worth of development before seeing an end product. With Amazon Connect, it’s so easy to dip your toes in to experience what it can offer. You don’t have to change everything right away. Most of our pilot projects come in under $30,000, and they are implemented fast. We can have something up and running in a matter of weeks. Amazon Connect makes it easy and fast to see immediate business value.

For more information about how Perficient can help you get the most out of Amazon Connect, please contact us for a demo.

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Amita Parikh

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