Transform Customer Service and Support with Dynamic Customer Engagement

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Despite many service leaders prioritizing a shift from reactive to proactive service, only 19 percent of service interactions begin with the organization initiating the engagement. What's more, 74 percent of service journeys involve customers using multiple channels. This leads to mounting customer frustration as well as high service costs, impacting overall profitability and customer loyalty.

This reactive service paradigm is a consequence of many years of looking at the service experience as a discrete transaction vs. a customer journey, part of a broader, contextual set of events. Despite efforts to streamline assisted services and promote self-service as a solution, for most organizations, these efforts have fallen far short of expectations.

In 2024, organizations must adopt sustained proactive engagement throughout the customer lifecycle, moving beyond the reactive paradigm by implementing a dynamic customer engagement (DCE) strategy. This enterprise strategy focuses on delivering proactive, highly personalized, and contextual next-best actions to customers, enabling frictionless, consistent journeys and conversations.

DCE improves the customer experience by transforming organizations' approach to customer engagement across the following six key capabilities:

  1. Reactive interaction to proactive engagement, where the organization uses insights and converts into next-best actions delivered proactively to customers.
  2. High-effort to low-effort experiences, where instead of switching channels or completing many steps to complete a transaction, customers expend less energy to find answers.
  3. Out-of-context to contextual actions, where customers receive relevant, trusted, and timely actions and information.
  4. Generic to personalized content that is customized to customers, thus increasing their willingness to engage.
  5. Disconnected to connected journeys, where orchestrated customer journeys across channels eliminate the need to start over when switching channels.
  6. Single interactions to continuous conversations throughout the customer lifecycle by ongoing engagement in a series of communications.

Central to the DCE strategy is the creation and deployment of personalized and contextual next-best actions. These actions are delivered proactively to customers and designed to remove the customers' burden and ultimately recalibrate the customer-organization relationship. These actions usually take one of the following forms: proactively notifying customers to take action, acting on behalf of customers, or proactively notifying them an action has been taken; or preempting customer-initiated contact and providing information.

Data is the building block for generating and triggering next-best actions. It is curated and ingested from various data sources. It is then analyzed and transformed to identify actionable insights. These insights serve as the triggering mechanism for the proactive actions. For organizations getting started, these triggers could be something simple like a contract renewal date or an update to a customer health score. For more mature organizations, the triggers could be predictive, using machine learning to anticipate a likely outcome based on customer behavior.

How do service leaders get started with DCE?

Service leaders should first determine which business challenges or opportunities they want to solve. Are you trying to reduce customer churn? Improve self-service success? Reduce inbound call volume? Cross-sell or upsell to customers?

Service leaders should then determine their organizations' technical, people, and process capabilities by assessing criteria, such as their data and analytics maturity and current interaction channel portfolio. Gartner then recommends leaders follow these three steps when starting down the DCE path:

  1. Identify initial use cases and prioritize them. Develop a list of potential use cases, leaning toward highest-volume contact types. Determine the business impact of each use case and then prioritize the use cases by asking questions such as Which use case has the opportunities to deliver the greatest benefit? or Which use case presents the lowest risk?
  2. Build the business case. Develop and analyze solutions options, seeking input from analysts to provide recommendations. Develop a high-level implementation plan.
  3. Champion the business case. Engage key stakeholders, refine the business case based on their feedback, and submit for approval.

DCE transforms the service experience through a dynamic customer engagement strategy, layering in both proactive and prescriptive capabilities to customer interactions. This roadmap can help leaders kickstart their organizations' path to DCE and recalibrate the customer-organization relationship with laser-like precision.

Jennifer MacIntosh, John Quaglietta, and Daniel O'Sullivan are analysts with the Gartner Customer Service and Support practice, covering topics such as CRM strategy and customer experience, service and support strategy and leadership, and more.