November 19, 2019 / 1:05 PM / 23 days ago

Salesforce to use Amazon's cloud for call center services

The company logo for Salesforce.com, Inc. is displayed on a screen on on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Business software provider Salesforce.com Inc said on Tuesday it would use Amazon.com Inc’s artificial intelligence for its customer service offering.

The partnership brings Salesforce and Amazon into more direct competition with call center technology providers such as RingCentral Inc. RingCentral has built out cloud technology for call centers and recently executed a deal to supply Avaya Holdings Corp, which was evaluating sale or merger options after struggling to build out similar technology on its own.

Artificial intelligence is a closely fought front in the battle to provide cloud services. Amazon and Microsoft Corp are the biggest players and others are mounting challenges.

Last week, Salesforce announced it would use Microsoft’s Azure for some of its marketing services.

For Salesforce, Amazon Web Services will turn the customer’s spoken words into text, where it can be translated into different languages or analyzed to determine whether the customer is angry or satisfied.

From there, Salesforce’s software can recommend answers to the customer’s questions.

Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s president and chief product officer, said the practical effect of the software could be as simple as not having to put a customer on hold.

For instance, he said, when a customer calls an insurance company to ask the size of a policy’s deductible, the software can fish it out of the system automatically.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Lisa Shumaker

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