Ciena CIO Craig Williams has an ambitious mission: to deliver a ticket -free help desk experience to the networking systems, services, and software company of 11,000 customers, employees, and contractors.
The decision to change Ciena’s support system means letting its call center partner and instead move its operations to Amazon Connect, a cloud contact center service offered by AWS, also used by Priceline, CI Financial, Traeger Grill, and Ring.
And by integrating its platform with Connect, Ciena can provide its customers with not only instant solutions to most help-desk problems-password reset, for one-and close to real- time answers for other common questions but also access to many others AWS services such as the Amazon Lex chatbot, Wisdom’s natural language processing capabilities, and Voice ID for providing real -time caller authentication.
“Our goal was to be ticket -free, and we really didn’t have the tools to get us there,” Williams said. “If you look at the history of the help desk, no ticket flies in the face of tradition.”
Williams hopes that, by going cloud-based, the contact center of the Hanover, Md. Company. will be as fast and easy to use as Amazon’s shopping cart.
“Finding a help desk that allows us to reach 5 to 10 percent of customer challenges that aren’t easy to do in an automated way is where we need to be, and Amazon is the only vendor I’ve seen that understands that. . problem, ”Williams said.
The Cloud partner offers Ciena’s advanced services
Connect isn’t the only AWS service Ciena trusts. The company launched its own move to Amazon’s cloud in March 2020. Following the move to Amazon Connect in June 2021 and Amazon Connect Self Service six months later, the company saved $ 50,000. But the main driver of using cloud-based services is about enhancing customer service, not reducing costs.
So far, Ciena has eliminated about 50% of tickets and reduced wait times from 10 to 15 minutes to two minutes, said Williams, who has served as CIO at Ciena for more than five years. Williams attributed the ‘no ticket’ goal to Ciena’s service desk chief Lars Enderlein.
The process of building and running a Connect call center may only take a few hours for some customers, but it is not plug and play, and each customer must make changes to integrate their respective systems, Williams says, that the IT team has developed customized user interfaces and accessed Amazon Connect APIs to make integration seamless.
Ciena has also enabled integration with ServiceNow and Amazon Lex for natural language and automated customer interactions, the CIO said.
Additionally, Ciena has integrated its contact center platform with AWS directory services for identity management and access and with Amazon Kinesis for advanced tracking. Ciena is currently “requesting AWS Lambda functions to perform data dips, to send encrypted customer inputs and other necessary integration into contact flows,” Williams added.
Ciena is also investigating the possibility of using voice authentication and hopes to use Amazon Quick Sight’s interactive business intelligence dashboards to detect patterns and outliers powered by AWS machine learning capabilities.
Another future goal is to take advantage of Visual IVR, an interactive voice response system that “will allow us to have mobile customer interaction to guide incoming callers to a web-based experience. support, ”the CIO said.
Gartner research director Megan Fernandez expects that cloud contact center solutions such as Amazon Connect will benefit from sustainable hybrid and remote workplace policies after the pandemic.
Future innovations in AI and virtual customer assistants with contact center platforms like Amazon Connect will avoid investments from on-premises implementation and toward cloud solutions, Fernandez said, noted that this change would translate into substantial savings as live-agent labor costs could represent. 95% of contact center costs.
But there is more work to be done to fully automate cloud-based call centers, he added. “At this stage, the professional services associated with design, data engineering, machine learning to enable offloading can be complex,” Fernandez said. “As AI and VCA talks [virtual customer assistants] continues to age and service professionals are gaining experience and expanding resources, Gartner expects the ability to offload interactions from agents to significantly accelerate. ”
Savvier’s automated cloud-based call center services can not only deliver huge savings but also change customer service. For example, Connect has enabled Ciena to offer “white glove” services to the VIPs of its 1,700-plus corporate customers.
The implementation of Ciena’s Connect also allowed the company to free up staff to focus on urgent issues such as security and on deploying other emerging technologies as they deliver to the cloud. In the future, the company is looking to use augmented reality in headsets that will allow non-technical workers to listen to live instructions and act as system administrators, Williams said, noting that, even without he currently plans for implementing AR on Amazon, Ciena is “Pivoting here as an IT service and plans to use it in several areas within.
“For example, we can send headsets to any of our facilities right now – the person on the other end just needs to place the device and the IT expert can teach them what to do remotely,” the CIO added. . “This is great for us because we can keep our highly paid talent at home and can make installations on our sites faster. We also create a POC for our supply chain where they can. the same for QA on the assembly line. ”
Williams said efforts like this are not about cutting back from the bottom line but about exceeding customer expectations as more sophisticated digital services emerge.
“We had different types of contact centers,” Williams said. “Going to Amazon Connect isn’t about getting rid of them, per se, but about going where the puck is going, not where the puck is.”
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