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Healthcare Contact Center

How to send SMS from cloud based contact center

Here’s how to send SMS to customers from Amazon Connect Contact Center. You can use Amazon Connect Contact Center along with a few other services of AWS to create a pretty advanced, intelligent contact center. In this post, let’s walk you through how we send SMS to callers when they call our company phone number.

Here’s how to send SMS to customers from Amazon Connect Contact Center. You can use Amazon Connect Contact Center along with a few other services of AWS to create a pretty advanced, intelligent contact center. In this post, let’s walk you through how we send SMS to callers when they call our company phone number. 

In many cases, we need our callers to fill out forms before our customer service representatives can call them back. This saves us time spent on the phone and lets us service more customers / callers with less staff. 

Here’s what you are going to learn

  1. You will set up a number where your customers can text you
  2. You will set up automated help text messages for your customers
  3. You will reduce the number of phone calls your customer service reps have to handle
  4. You will starting getting all SMS that customers send you and can choose to call customers that did not finish your forms 
  5. You will introduce your SMS number to customers on the IVR set up before.

Start a new project with Amazon Pinpoint

Head over to the Amazon Pinpoint web page within your AWS console.

Let’s create a new project first

On the next page, you can see all the options available. Here, choose SMS.

Choose transactional because at this time, you are not sending promotional messages.

Next, choose a long code (choosing short codes are beyond the scope of this post)

Note that you were NOT able to choose the area code or the specific phone number you want, on this page.

Set up some basic responses to customers

You are going to need to set up a “Default Help Message” e.g. “Text APPT for appointments, BILL for billing questions, MEDS for pharmacy help. For anything else, call us at 1-888-508-9242.”

And also the “Default STOP message”. E.g. “Thank you. We won’t send you text messages any further”

Set up the keywords you want as well.

E.g. you can set up keywords that callers text you – APPT, BILL, MEDS etc

This is how you set it up

So now, if your customers text you, they will get automated responses for keywords they type

Let your customers know that they can now text you at this number.

Notice that when you texted “can I get an appt”.. You did not get an automated response back? That’s because this keyword is not registered. I am sure that your CSRs do not want to miss out on such callers – right? On top of this, you never really know if the caller really filled out the form or not – or whether you missed that “lead”.

Set up automated SMS to callers

Send SMS using Pinpoint

All you have to do is to copy/paste some samples from AWS Pinpoint code repository into an AWS Lambda function. Once you do that, you call this Lambda function from your AWS Connect contact center.

Head over to AWS Lambda and create a new function (e.g. sendPinpointSMS)

Plain and simple – copy the code from AWS blog. Then, add your pinpoint project ID here.

SenderID won’t always work as expected unless you have registered your pinpoint number with a CNAM database.

Make sure that the lambda function’s role is allowed to send SMS messages via Pinpoint

Add the function to AWS contact flows

Modify your contact flow a bit

Remember the “NH 1 queue configurations flow” you had created? Go ahead and modify that a little bit to add another option of sending text.

Add a branch to your previous node

Store the customer input and call the lambda function you just created

That’s it. Now, introduce your phone number to the callers here

Now, customers can text you HELP and get automated responses from you.

Introduce your SMS number in your IVR

Very simple to do. Go back to the IVR you were working on and just add this to the first prompt “Please give me a moment to connect you with one of our representatives. You can also text HELP at 857 763 3357 to avoid being on hold.”.. or something along those lines. That’s it.

Create an SNS subscription to get SMS that customers sent

You will notice that during this process, you created a new Amazon SNS topic. If you want to 

You will have to create a subscription to get the SMS that your callers are sending you.

You can choose Email since that’s the easiest one (keep in mind that AWS is going to send you some JSON so it is kind of hard to read). You will have to add your email address here. Then, AWS will send you a confirmation request to that email address. Go ahead and confirm that subscription and you are off to the races.

After that, everytime a customer sends an SMS, you will get an email like this

Of course, you can take this as far as you want to (more on this in later posts).

Here’s what you learnt

  1. You set up a number where your customers can text you
  2. You set up automated help text messages for your customers
  3. You reduced the number of phone calls your customer service reps have to handle
  4. You get all SMS that customers send you and can choose to call customers that did not finish your forms 
  5. You introduced your SMS number to customers on the IVR set up before

Learn more..

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