Research Hub > Automation & Virtual Assistants Help Transform Customer Care
3 min

Automation and Virtual Assistants Help Transform Customer Care

Businesses can improve the customer experience by understanding and taking advantage of automation.


Artificial intelligence is today’s big buzzword in the technology world. Often, when an organization thinks of leveraging AI, it either concludes the technology doesn’t apply to its business needs or that the price tag is out of reach. One of the reasons for these faulty conclusions is that the term itself, like many other buzzwords, is overgeneralized.

AI Goes Beyond Futuristic Applications

When the term AI is tossed around, people tend to think first of complex algorithms, machine learning and natural language processing, which mimics human behavior.

Self-driving cars provide an example of these advanced forms of AI in action: A self-driving car must be able to operate in any driving condition, on any terrain, and handle the unexpected in milliseconds or less. The whole idea behind this use case is that the AI operates in a complex scenario with minimal to no human intervention. (There is a good video explaining how AI works in Tesla vehicles. If this topic is interesting to you, check it out.)

But AI is about so much more than self-driving cars and other futuristic use cases.

Learn how CDW can help you modernize your contact center.

How AI Enables Automation of Customer Care

Remember how I said organizations don’t think they have any use for AI? That’s largely because they overlook an important capability that AI enables: automation. AI can help organizations set up processes for handling common, repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

So, what does this have to do with customer care? Well, you are either using AI in your customer care workflows or there are ways to use it that you may not have considered. Virtual assistants, for instance, are a prime example of how automation can transform both workflows and customer experiences.
Some common examples of virtual assistants are patient appointment reminders, post-purchase follow-ups and surveys, payment reminders and callback scheduling capabilities that mean callers don’t have to wait on hold. All of these are also examples of automation, as they’re simply following a set of rules or tasks that are laid out for them. These automated processes may include some sort of text-to-speech or automatic speech recognition. However, unlike self-driving cars, these forms of automation do not typically have to deal with ambiguity. They are usually initiated by a trigger, which starts off the “if this, then that” logic.

There are many use cases for virtual assistants built on automation, including:

  • Reducing the number of dual-tone multifrequency submenus in interactive voice response systems by allowing callers to speak naturally (in conversation form) instead of asking them to “Press or say 1,” and taking the customer experience into account by transferring callers to a human representative, when appropriate.
  • Reducing the load on operators in hospitals by integrating with electronic medical record software to look up patient room phone numbers.
  • Enabling front-end web chat conversations with automated responses in a conversational context while agents monitor the conversation and intervene when necessary. This also can increase productivity by allowing agents to easily handle multiple conversations at once.

Getting Help with Automated Intelligence

All the above-mentioned use cases require expert knowledge of the technology and proper design. This is where CDW can assist you, providing access to customer care experts on multiple platforms, expert knowledge with speech enablement via Nuance or LumenVox and business analysts to understand how best to design and implement the technology to meet your customers’ needs.

We can advise you on how to best leverage virtual assistance to increase productivity and your overall customer experience.

Nathan  Cartwright

Nathan Cartwright

CDW Expert
Nathan Cartwright has been a part of CDW's Cisco collaboration practice for 9 years and has been in the industry for nearly 15 years. He started in CDW's ACE program and is now a technical lead providing mentoring/support to CDW engineers as well as subject matter expertise to sales teams. Prior to CDW, Nathan worked for a small IT consulting firm as his first job and later as a systems and networ