Mar 08 2024

How to Harness Artificial Intelligence to Transform the Customer Experience

The CDW Tech Tipoff Series will explore how organizations can use AI to make a meaningful difference in how they interact with customers.

With seemingly every business and industry sector trying to figure out how to respond to the surge in interest in artificial intelligence, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.

Thankfully, there are methods and resources business and IT leaders can tap to help their organizations leverage AI to improve both business and the customer experience.

This month, coinciding with the spring college basketball tournament, CDW is hosting a Tech Tipoff Series of events that will dive deep into how AI is reshaping business and how businesses can get a handle on the trend.

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Why It’s Critical to Identify Use Cases for AI

The most important thing that leaders can do is identify a strategy that aligns to their business outcomes, according to Ken Drazin, head of the intelligent customer experience practice at CDW. “Each business unit will vary,” he explains. “Every department within an organization will have a unique perspective in terms of use cases and outcomes.”  

The best way to get started is to consult with trusted partners that can work with organizations to understand pain points and help prioritize, Drazin says. Businesses can then develop strategies and a roadmap that uses the right kind of AI solutions to deliver outcomes that provide the biggest return on investment.

Organizations also do not need to start with the most complex use cases, according to Drazin. In fact, he says, “sometimes, the simplest use cases can also provide the highest ROI for your organization.”

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Chatbots and Call Centers Are Ripe for AI Enhancements

Two relatively easy use cases Drazin identifies use generative or conversational AI as the backbone for virtual chatbots and to enhance the productivity of call center workers.

AI-infused chatbots can help HR and IT departments internally by responding to commonly asked questions in a more natural way. The same technology can also be used on the front end of customer-facing websites to answer questions from customers.

Additionally, AI-powered virtual agents can make contact center workers more productive and improve the customer experience, Drazin says, replacing the traditional interactive voice response system (“press 1 for …”) and either helping customers complete transactions or routing them to the right customer service agent to address their concerns. AI tools can also listen in on a customer’s interaction with a live agent and in real time suggest the best course of action for the agent to propose.

These tools not only help agents, they also “make the customer experience a heck of a lot better because you're providing answers and helping them in the interaction just that much faster,” Drazin says.

On the back end, these tools can also analyze customer interactions to provide predictive analytics and sentiment analysis about products or services. That data can then be used by salespeople to target specific customers with offers they might be more receptive to based on past behavior, Drazin says.

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How to Get Started with AI in Your Business

The first step, Drazin reiterates, is for leaders to identify a strategy for applying AI and what use cases should be prioritized. Then, working with trusted partners, they should determine if they have the requirements in place — such as the appropriate data and internal expertise — and if not, how they can fill that gap.

Leaders should also consider how they will maintain such services moving forward, and how reporting and updates will work once a solution is deployed.

“Be thoughtful and methodical, and have a strategy of how you’re going to deploy these technologies to make sure you get it right,” Drazin says.

To find out more about how to take advantage of AI, sign up for CDW’s Tech Tipoff Series of events happening around the country in March.

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