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Day 2 Update: Internal Hackathon Focused on Creating COVID-19 Response Solutions

Developers Working In Their Office.

Yesterday, our Customer Engagement Solutions team started an internal Hackathon focused on creating COVID-19 response solutions. The challenge aims to address the current pandemic by building solutions on Amazon Connect and Twilio Flex—both cloud contact center platforms. Solutions range from handling businesses’ increasingly high call volumes during the crisis to integrating customer care with telehealth and expanding medical reach to the community at large.

Five teams of three developers each are working on solutions, and they plan to present what they’ve built to the team later this week. Let’s check in with our teams to see how they’ve progressed.

Team 1

Team 1 is working on an interactive phone menu that allows callers to check their symptoms against CDC guidelines and obtain local hospital information using Amazon Connect. This tool would be useful for the general public, especially valuable for those who may not have access to COVID-19 online self-assessment tools. The team has already created two call flows for the project—a symptom checker call flow and a hospital information call flow.

They’re currently working on adding the ability to retrieve local hospital information based on the caller’s postal code. Hospital information will be repeated to the caller over the phone, along with an option to receive the same information via SMS. All of this is done using Amazon Lex, AWS Lambda, and Simple Notification Service (SNS).

Tomorrow, the team plans to work on integrating the services as well as test what they’ve built.

Team 2

Team 2 is building a solution that offers callers waiting in queue the option to participate in an SMS conversation to more quickly handle their concerns. The team is specifically working on integrating SMS with Amazon Connect Chat to build a service that proxies chat messages to SMS. The service is currently working locally, and the team is now focusing on the best way to send and receive SMS using AWS services.

Team 3

Team 3 is creating a rapid remote assessment of potential COVID-19 cases. Their solution will include a symptom checker, risk scoring, and immediate routing of high-risk cases to a remote medical professional, with the option of adding a telehealth voice or video call. The team is building the solution using Twilio Flex, and they have two channels supported so far—voice and SMS. They’ve also built a simple interface to allow doctors to respond to callers with a pre-recorded message asking patients to either stay home, directly connect with the doctor via SMS, or place an outgoing voice call to the doctor depending on the caller’s symptoms.

Tomorrow, the team plans to polish the user interface and potentially add another communication channel.

Team 4

Team 4 is working on a quick set up voice notification service for community-based organizations using the Twilio Flex platform. A good use case for this solution would be a local organization tasked with checking in on seniors’ health and needs, delivering food to people without transportation, or reaching out to those who have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Yesterday, the team explored various ways to use Twilio Programmable Voice and Twilio Studio to capture notification recordings. Ideally, organizers would be able to simply dial a number, confirm with a PIN or access code, and then record a notification message that would be sent to a pre-existing list of recipients.

Today, the team is focusing on various aspects of the solution such as answering machine detection, connection failures, retries, and other real-world issues to consider when automating outbound voice.

Team 5

Team 5 is setting up offloading systems that reduce the number of calls in queue by offering options like callbacks to ensure as many callers as possible can be helped. The team already created a Twilio Flex call flow that accepts calls from end customers as well as agents. When end customers call in, they are placed into a conference and put on hold with music until an agent is available to take the call. When agents call in, they are authenticated using a whitelisted phone number and a PIN. The agent is then conferenced to an end customer already waiting on hold. Alternatively, if there are no customers waiting on hold, the agent is notified that no callers are waiting at this time.

The team is also working on the ability to place a Twilio outbound call to an agent if an end customer calls into the system and there are no agents waiting. This would allow agents to be notified when a customer calls in even if they aren’t logged into the system. Additionally, the team is looking to incorporate Twilio TaskRouter, a system that distributes tasks to resources, to gather statistics and serve as a future integration point.


Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow as our teams continue to work on their solutions. Perficient may adapt these solutions to create packaged offerings available for broader use. Let us know what you think in the Comments section below!

Our Team

Customer engagement goes beyond customer service. Our team takes pride in our personal approach to the customer journey. We typically help enterprise clients transform and modernize their contact center with platforms like Amazon Connect, a self-service, cloud-based contact center service, and Twilio Flex, a programmable cloud contact center platform.

We have over 10 years of experience in delivering customer care solutions, including building, supporting, and deploying contact center solutions, and we consider it our personal responsibility to apply our expertise to helping our global community through the pandemic in any way we can.

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Alexandra Elledge

I'm a Senior Technical Writer and Trainer for Perficient's Amazon Connect Practice. Amazon Connect is a pay as you go cloud-based contact center service that’s part of the Amazon Web Services platform.

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