Holiday Calendars, Emergency shutdowns in Amazon Connect

Holiday Calendars, Emergency shutdowns are part and parcel of running call centers. Here’s how you do these in Amazon Connect

Categorized as Technology Tagged

Amazon Connect comes with basic operating hours out of the box.

It works well, but more often than not, it is not enough.

As hospital call center managers, we need to manage holiday calendars that are more complex than the default working hours that Amazon Connect gives us.

Some hospitals also have teams set up that revolve around doctors/providers.

This means that these teams operate only on the days that those providers are available at those locations.

This kind of variability in the operating hours quickly escalates to a nightmare if not managed appropriately. 

However, there’s a very easy solution to this as well.

Here’s how you would create and manage holiday calendars in Amazon Connect contact center for your hospital.

  1. Create a DynamoDB table that can be modified to add as many holidays as needed.
  2. Create a Lambda function that performs a data dip into a DynamoDB table. This is the Lambda function that your Amazon Connect contact flow would call.
  3. Update your inbound Amazon Connect contact flow for checking holidays each time an inbound call is coming in.
  4. If it is not a holiday, proceed with the call flow, otherwise proceed with other automation you might have set up within your contact flow.

That’s it. As simple as that.

How to handle emergency shutdowns in Amazon Connect

As we saw, creating hospital holiday calendars was not really a big deal.

But another situation does prop up from time to time – emergency call center shut downs.

Sometimes, this extends beyond a single center and cuts across to multiple locations.

I have had emergency shutdowns a few times already.

For this, we scramble and try to change Amazon Connect.

Instead of that, sitting in front of the computer, there has to be an easy way to do so.

Call center managers can set it up from their mobiles. 

Your hospital decides what the emergency protocols are. It could very well be that you want the contact flow to be exactly the same as a holiday contact flow.

Or, you might want to route all the calls to another contact center location.

Whatever your protocols are, that needs to be decided upon and needs to be baked into your alternate contact flow.

Here’s how the entire process works.

  1. Create a DynamoDB table that can store emergencies, type of emergency, who is authorized to activate emergencies.
  2. Create an Amazon Pinpoint project and claim a phone number that can send SMS. You don’t have to set up a 2 way SMS on this one.
  3. Create a Lambda function that performs a data dip into a DynamoDB table. This is the Lambda function that your Amazon Connect contact flow would call.
  4. Set up another Lambda function that will create a random PIN on demand.
  5. Set up another Lambda function that will update the emergency table on demand.
  6. Set up a separate phone number that is used to activate these emergencies. This would not be a published number. Attach it to a contact flow. In this contact flow, Amazon Connect checks the ANI (calling number) of the administrator caller using a Check contact attribute block. If the ANI is in the list of Check Contact Attribute Block, an AWS Lambda function is invoked to generate a random PIN number. 
  7. Store this PIN generated by the Lambda function in the contact Flow. Then, from this lambda function, pass this PIN to Amazon Pinpoint to be sent as an SMS to the administrator / call center manager. The administrator has a few seconds to enter the PIN using their phone. 
  8. You are waiting for “Customer input” in the Amazon Connect contact flow block. If the PIN entered by the administrator matches the PIN sent by Amazon Pinpoint, the admin is considered validated, and the call proceeds to the next flow.
  9. In the next part of the contact flow, the lambda function to update the emergency DynamoDB table is updated.
  10. Meanwhile, update your inbound Amazon Connect contact flow for checking for emergencies each time an inbound call is coming in.
  11. If it is not an emergency, proceed with the call flow, otherwise proceed with other automation you might have set up within your contact flow.

A bit more complicated than the holidays one, but it allows you to handle emergencies (even team meetings btw).