Rethink 3 Areas of Customer Service to Transform the Service Experience

In today's always-on, digital-first market, customer service and support leaders must transform their service experiences to enable personalized proactive conversations with customers. A Gartner survey of more than 6,000 customers revealed that only 13 percent reported receiving any type of proactive customer service. However, that same research showed that proactive customer service results in a full point increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, and value enhancement score.&

To deliver more personalized proactive conversations with customers, customer service and support leaders must take a more dynamic approach to customer engagement. What Gartner calls, dynamic customer engagement (DCE) is a strategy that transforms data into insights that enable organizations to deliver differentiated service experiences resulting in optimal outcomes for both the customer and the service organization.

DCE transforms customer service experiences, with the most significant change being the ability to shift from purely reactive to proactive customer service. Reactive service experiences place the burden on customers to find the best channel for resolution, whether it's to check on the status of a request, conduct a transaction, or troubleshoot a repair issue. Customers often switch channels or use multiple channels concurrently, further increasing both effort and service costs. The positive effects of DCE extend well beyond cost and the service experience to the organization's revenue and its ability to retain customers, maximize wallet share, and increase profitability.

This requires a significant shift in three major components: technology, people, and process.


Many service organizations today have multiple and often competing technologies across business units. To deliver proactive engagement, customer service and support leaders must instead implement a common enterprise technology architecture to remove organizational silos and enable a customer-centric vs. a company-centric program. This will require many technologies, which fall into three distinct systems, to realize full maturity and maximize business value:

  • Systems of record - Sources of data from organization applications/databases and third-party providers;
  • Systems of intelligence - Applications necessary to transform data into insights with advanced analytics and determine a next-best action; and
  • Channels of engagement - Channels used by customers and employees for reactive and proactive communications.


The change in strategy and technology also requires a change in talent and skills. Many organizations are set up with domain-specific experts operating in siloed business units. While some domain-specific experts are necessary, employees must be combined with highly specialized resources working together to achieve organizational goals.

New talent and skills will be needed in most organizations, especially in the area of data management and analytics. This could require hiring new talent to join the organization, and customer service and support leaders will need to work with human resources to evaluate and identify skills gaps and develop a plan to address these gaps.


Process is the third key component of the operating model that will need to be adjusted for a more dynamic and proactive approach to customer engagement. Today, siloed efforts focus on delivering specific business unit goals. Collaborative, cross-functional efforts focused on delivering customer-centric solutions to achieve organizational goals. This will also include changes to business case planning and prioritization and program management and development methodologies. For example, service organizations will need to use both waterfall and agile development methodologies to deliver on the long-term transformation to proactive customer engagement.

The changes to the service operating model will enable increased capabilities to deliver dynamic customer experiences. These capabilities include the following:

  • Proactive engagements - Ability to send outbound messages and/or preempt customer journeys during eactive engagements;
  • Low-effort experiences - Ability to reduce customer effort to engage and complete transactions;
  • Contextual actions - Ability to present relevant, trusted, and timely actions and information to customers;
  • Personalized content - Ability to personalize content to specific customers, increasing their willingness to engage;
  • Connected journeys - Ability to orchestrate and connect customer journeys across channels, eliminating the need to start over when switching channels; and
  • Continuous conversations - Ability to engage customers in a series of communications and next-best actions, creating a continuous conversation throughout the customer life cycle.

Philip Jenkins is a senior director analyst in Gartner's Customer Service and Support Practice.