What customer
experience (CX)
channel is right
for your business?

Author: Rose de Fremery

Not long ago, a customer might have only been able to contact an organization by email or a voice channel like the telephone. Now, they have a wide range of choices, including social media, messaging apps, SMS survey, chatbots and text messaging. According to research by Salesforce, over three-quarters (76%) of customers prefer different channels for different types of interactions and messages.

So, how should businesses respond to this new multiple channel customer experience expectation? Is there a magic formula to know which CX channels are most useful for your business?

Customer expectations for a satisfying experience

According to Gartner's 2022 Customer Service Trends and Priorities report, 74% of respondents say creating a seamless customer journey across assisted and self-service channels is "important" or "very important."1 This means customers are looking for a consistent experience where each channel is another venue for initiating or continuing the same conversation. If a customer has to switch from one channel to another to engage with an organization, they fully anticipate that the experience will be the same—and they notice when it's not. This means not having to repeat their name or the issue they are trying to resolve.

However, despite these increasing expectations, customers are still encountering pain points that cause them unnecessary friction and waste their time. According to the Gartner report noted above, 53% of organizations don't believe they make it easy for customers to handle their issues or requests.2

Customer engagement channels

Just like customers, organizations have many channels at their fingertips. The range of options includes a traditional CX channel (i.e., a voice channel or email), messaging apps, live chat, SMS, and social media. Newer channels can create a more intimate and personal experience, giving customers and organizations an opportunity to connect with one another more naturally than they could in the past. By engaging with customers in these digital spaces where they have everyday conversations with friends and family, organizations have a much greater chance of developing strong customer relationships with the potential for long-term loyalty.

Research conducted by Demand Metric indicates the importance of establishing a wide variety of channels. SMS was reported as the best channel to drive customer engagement by 75% of their survey respondents.


Research by Kustomer found that 58% of surveyed consumers prefer to solve their own service issues instead of talking to a representative. This demand increases in younger age groups, with self-help tools featuring in the top three preferred channels for customers under 35. Self-help tools such as chatbots can take the experience further by not only giving customers the resources they need to help themselves but also lightening the volume of inbound calls to the contact center, which in turn enables human customer service agents to deliver speedier and more satisfying service. In the event a chatbot cannot give a customer the help they need, it has the ability to connect that customer with a knowledgeable human agent and pass the crucial contextual information needed for a seamless experience. That way, the customer won't be forced to repeat basic information to the human agent all over again.

Customer engagement strategies

Now that customers are using a wide range of channels to engage with organizations, it's more important than ever to have a clear and coherent strategy for customer engagement, taking all these channels into account. The strategy should reflect how your customers use the various channels. For example, the use of social media platforms can vary widely based on different demographics. Likewise, CX channel use can vary depending on industry trends, business goals, products or services.

How your organization could use customer engagement channels

It's wise to be intentional about which channels you will leverage for customer engagement. Ultimately, you'll want to meet your customers where they are. If your customers demonstrate strong enthusiasm for SMS, for example, you will want to include it in your customer engagement strategy.

When selecting channels, it can be helpful to understand customer engagement trends. For example, the Demand Metric report found that SMS and Google Business are top choices for customer support and marketing teams. Over three quarters of survey respondents indicated that SMS is better at driving customer engagement than any other channel they use. In addition, these organizations achieved even greater impact from SMS when leveraging it as part of a complete omnichannel deployment.

Customer engagement varies by industry, as well. According to CSG's State of the Customer Journey 2022 report, which draws on 10.2 billion international customer journey interactions, companies reach their customers through an ever-broadening mix of digital channels as they refine their ways to connect with their customers at scale. For example, in the retail sector, Email was used for 77.4% of communications, social media came in at 13.5%, in-store notifications accounted for 8.6% and websites represented only 0.5%. In financial services, however, the breakdown of channel use was quite different: phone use represented 77.4%, email came in at 19.8% and web use was only 2.8%. As the report notes, this difference is likely because insurers and financial institutions are in frequent contact with their customers for a variety of reasons—collecting payments and notifying them of potential fraud, for example—whereas retailers tend to collect payment immediately and may be less reliant on voice calling to connect with customers.

Even after you've identified the channels where your customers currently spend their time, it is wise to keep tabs on new channels that may be attracting their interest. As the Demand Metric report notes, it's good practice to monitor customer conversations and continually identify new opportunities across the technology landscape. This way, your organization can spot the next CX channel that is gaining traction among your customers.

Deliver a satisfying customer experience

Now that customers understand how technology can enhance their lives, they expect organizations to deliver a satisfying customer experience on every CX channel—whether that's a traditional voice channel or the latest messaging app. For their part, organizations are looking for the most effective ways to serve their customers and drive both revenue and loyalty. To achieve this goal, organizations should first understand what their customers want and what pain points they are experiencing. Then, they should select a customer engagement strategy that addresses both customer desire and pain points. An omnichannel customer engagement strategy can help enable organizations to deliver a satisfying customer experience on nearly every channel, every time.

Discover how Verizon's Contact Center and CX solutions can help you deliver your CX strategy.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

2022 Gartner, 2022 Customer Service Trends and Priorities, as on April 25, 2022, https://www.gartner.com/en/customer-service-support/insights/service-leaders-priorities.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.