Customers don’t really like entering information into an IVR, but you’ll probably need them to do it. Reasons to ask for customer input include:
- To identify a customer, account, case/ticket number, etc.
- To verify a customer (enter your PIN, date of birth, etc.)
- To authorize a credit card for payment card without a human listening in
- To enter a payment amount
Store Customer Input
The Store Customer Input block performs this function. The customer input is stored in a system variable, so you’ll need to copy it to a user or external variable to do anything useful with it.
I have two quibbles. First, there’s no option to ask the customer to terminate their input with a “#” or “*” character. For variable length entries, you HAVE to wait for the timeout1. It could be argued that using a special character to terminate entry is kind of obsolete (and I partially agree). However, relying on timeout only for termination is tricky, as the optimum timeout is dependent on the individual. Plus, people that design IVRs are used to the termination character, and I’ve learned telling them “you don’t need it” doesn’t go so well.
Second, it’s common practice to confirm what was just entered by playing it back to the customer (You entered Five Two Three Seven One. Press one if this is correct, two to change it”). There’s no nice way to do this at present. As a test, I entered this (illegal) credit card number: 1000 0000 0000 0000. It confirmed it as “one quadrillion”.
To get it to repeat the digits, you’ll have to have Lambda convert the numbers into a word string. It looks like sticking spaces between the digits, then treating it as text will do the trick.
One final point. If you ask the customer for information “to serve them better”, USE IT. Use it in a manner that it is obvious to the customer that their valuable time and effort gave them better service.
1At the time of writing, it doesn’t look like the timeout behaves. And, I’m assuming the “Delay Between Entry” field in the Store Customer Input block means timeout. Fair assumption, right?
Standard Disclaimer – My comments are based on Amazon Connect at the time of posting, and I endeavor to be accurate. The nature of SaaS is that there can be improvements and changes at any time. If I’ve got something wrong, please let me know, and I’ll correct.