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Today’s customers want to connect with businesses across multiple channels, including live website chat, social media messaging, in-app SMS, voice calling, and video calling.

57% of customers from all generations prefer to engage companies through digital channels like live chat, text, social media, etc.[*]

Omnichannel communication helps call centers offer a more personalized customer experience while relieving some of the stress on live agents.[*]

Here, we outline the most popular voice and digital communication channels and cover trends in omnichannel communication. Then, we’ll help you choose which channels most benefit your contact center.


Most Common Contact Center Channels

Below are the key contact center channels that are shaping the customer service today.



Voice calling is the most traditional communication channel, and is still widely used by companies and customers in nearly every industry to express empathy and build rapport. Now, virtual voice calling tools like VoIP and PBX power voice calling, and come with advanced features like call routing, self-service IVR, and AI voicebots.

Usage statistics 

Voice communication remains popular amongst people of all ages, with 59% of consumers saying voice calling is their preferred channel.[*]

Technology/tools used 

Many tools help contact center agents deliver direct, informed, and effective service via voice. Most are included as business phone system features, within a UC platform, or as part of a CCaaS solution.

  • Call recording: Enables agents to manually or automatically record their calls so that they can reference them later or use them to train new agents
  • Auto dialers: Automatically dials numbers on a preset list, screens out answering machines to increase productivity for outbound call center agents
  • Call pops: Integrate with the company CRM to display caller information such as purchase history and geographic location



Email is the original digital channel and remains an important part of business communication for Generation Z, Millennials, and Generation X. Email allows consumers to reach out or respond to brands in writing, creating an automatic written record available to both parties.

Usage statistics 

People first began to use email in the 1970s and its usage remains widespread with 92% of U.S. citizens reporting using it as a communication form. It is estimated that by 2026, there will be 4.73 billion email users worldwide.[*]

Technology/tools used 

Although CCaaS platforms have traditionally focused on voice features, many providers now include business email tools such as:

  • Email routing: Admins can automatically, classify, prioritize, and route emails to the most appropriate agent based on predetermined rules and criteria (order status, subject matter, purchase history, etc.)
  • Canned responses: Allows agents to respond to customer emails by providing pre-written, customizable answers to common customer queries that agents can copy-paste and edit as needed
  • Outbound email campaigns: Create customer email lists, send bulk marketing emails, create and edit email templates, schedule outbound email delivery


Live Chat

LiveChat Interface

Live chat, or web chat, is a digital channel that lets customers chat with live agents in real-time, directly on the company website via a pop-up chat interface.

Usage statistics 

Live chat is appealing to customers because it is text-based, has the immediacy of a phone conversation, and is generally available 24/7. 72% of consumers have reported that they prefer connecting with a brand via live chat as opposed to voice.[*]

Technology/tools used 

Live chat platforms may include features such as:

  • Preset messages: Automatically engage with website visitors via outbound proactive messaging
  • AI assist: Generative AI tool assists live agents by checking each message for errors, adjusting tone, rephrasing, etc.
  • Message sneak peak: Enables live chat agents to see what customers are typing before they hit “send”


SMS/MMS Texting

Texting has become so common in personal communication that it is sometimes jarring to receive a phone call. SMS, or short message service, refers to short text messages, while MMS, or multimedia messaging service, allows users to send images and files along with short-form text messages.

Usage statistics 

Texting is very popular with consumers and Millennials and Generation X, as both rank SMS text messaging as their preferred communication method.[*]

Technology/tools used 

There are several tools available to help businesses leverage text messaging in their contact center:

  • Automation: Create trigger-based custom workflows to automatically send out SMS appointment reminders, follow-ups, notifications, promotions, etc.
  • Opt-out options: Include an easy way for consumers to opt out of text messages to stay in compliance
  • Multimedia attachments: Attach files, images, audio clips, and even video to text messages


Social Media

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are important to consider when implementing contact center channels. Many consumers, especially younger generations, spend a lot of time on social media and want to engage with brands on their preferred social media platform.

Usage statistics 

Usage of social media for contact centers depends on the customer base and particular social media platform. According to one study, Facebook is the most popular platform for interacting with companies, with 60% of consumers stating that they use Facebook for customer service issues.[*] Instagram is next with 35% of consumers stating that they use Instagram for customer service. Other common social platforms are YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.[*]

Technology/tools used 

Implementing social media channels can be a challenge, given many already exist and more are being created every minute. Know your customer base and what platforms they are using so that you can focus your efforts. Social media tools include:

  • Insights and analytics: Allow companies to track metrics such as the number of messages, resolution time, first contact resolution rate, etc. across all social platforms under one pane of glass
  • Social listening: Allows companies to track millions of conversations based around specified key topics using NLP and AI
  • Social network integrations: Enable businesses to publish content, monitor topics, engage with customers, and access social media analytics directly from their CCaaS dashboard


Video Chat

Rebecca reviews Zoho webinars

Video conferencing is mainly known for its utility in team meetings and onboarding, but it can also be used as part of a multi-channel contact center solution Video chat is particularly helpful for customers who have issues where they need to show support agents something, like a damaged product or desktop screen interface.

Usage statistics 

The use of video in communication is rapidly growing. According to one report, 78% of large businesses consider video an essential part of their communication strategy.[*] Video chat helps agents resolve issues faster and builds trust between agents and consumers, as customers can see the agent's body language and facial expressions.

Technology/tools used 

There are a number of tools to make video chatting with customers easier including:

  • Escalating: Allows the agent to move a conversation from any other channel to a video call when a visual is needed
  • HIPAA compliance: HIPAA-compliant video chat solutions enable healthcare providers to offer telehealth appointments
  • Video recording: Stored recordings enable supervisors to assess agent performance and create playlists for training purposes


Web Forms

Web forms allow customers to fill out ticketing/support request forms on the company’s website. Businesses can customize web forms to collect essential and relevant customer data. Web forms can appear on a contact page or as a pop-up.

Usage statistics 

Web forms can be used as part of a customer service strategy, with customers using forms to submit tickets, or as a way to generate leads. According to one study, 9.09% of individuals who encounter a contact form choose to submit it.[*]

Technology/tools used 

There are several tools available to help admins create effective web forms for customers and prospects:

  • Templates: Many providers include form templates such as contact, lead generation, order, registration, etc.
  • Security features: Some providers include the option to add spam filtering, email address validation, and CAPTCHAs to forms
  • Traffic analytics: Allows admins to track the web forms performance, organize submissions by time period, and see what part of the website the contact converted on


Virtual Assistant/IVR

An IVR system or Virtual Assistant is a customer self-service tool that provides automated call routing or basic support by letting customers interact with pre-recorded call flow menus. Based on their responses, customers are routed to a live agent, voicemail system, or another self-service tool.

Usage statistics 

IVR systems were once a source of frustration for callers, but AI advancements have made them an essential contact center feature. Out of all the communication channels, IVR systems have the highest FCR (first call resolution) rate.

Technology/tools used 

Many IVR features can help admins create a positive customer experience for callers:

  • IVR payment: Some IVR systems integrate with payment gateway apps to allows customers to pay bills or fees over the phone without needing to speak to a live agent
  • Skills-based routing: The system identifies the agents that have the skills to handle the caller’s needs and then automatically routes the call to the next available, qualified agent
  • Speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP): The system will automatically pick up keywords that the caller says and route the call to an appropriate agent



Chatbots are another self-service tool, but instead of voice interactions, chatbots allow customers to interact by typing in an online messaging box similar to live chat. Chatbots are available 24/7 and do not require a live agent, but can be configured to escalate conversations to a live agent when necessary.

Usage statistics 

Chatbots are mainly used to answer common questions or handle routine tasks to free up live agents for more complex issues. Chatbots are increasingly common, with 88% of consumers claiming to have had at least one conversation with a chatbot in 2022.[*]

Technology/tools used 

Chatbot tools include:

  • No code chatbot builder: Companies can build multiple bot responses and actions using drag-and-drop conversation blocks
  • Testing: Most chatbot builders will include a testing feature that allows admins to test out how the chatbot will respond to prompts before it starts interacting with live customers
  • Knowledge base integration: Enables chatbots to answer industry-specific questions immediately and accurately using the company knowledge base



Growing Trends in Contact Center Communication Channels

The rise in popularity of digital communication channels has led to expansive research and development in the space, plus some exciting trends.


AI-powered Chatbots 

Chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to interpret customer needs. Once the question or issue is identified, an AI chatbot will be able to identify the next steps to provide the customer with a resolution.

AI Chatbots will continuously improve as they acquire more data. Becoming not only better at helping customers in general, but becoming more specialized and attuned to the needs of your customers specifically.


Intelligent IVR (IIVR) 

Intelligent IVR, or Conversational AI, uses NLP and natural language generation (NLG) to enable customers to speak with a virtual assistant like a live agent. Instead of simply listening for keywords, IIVR uses sentiment and intent analysis to determine customer needs and respond accordingly.

IIVR has the potential to greatly improve the customer experience, decrease wait times, and relieve stress on live agents. However, these systems require extensive training and customization to be truly effective. Voice recordings of common questions and issues are helpful to train the IIVR system, especially if the recordings are in different languages and accents.


Customer Self-Service

With all of the improvements in conversational AI, other forms of customer self-service are growing in popularity. AI-powered bots can assist customers through a variety of processes such as registration, payment, appointment scheduling, etc.

Customer self-service not only helps businesses cut costs, but customers often prefer it, especially for routine tasks. For example, around 88% of customers have stated that they want a self service option available to them when shopping online.


Generative AI

Finally, generative AI is exploding in popularity in many sectors, and the contact center space is no exception. Generative AI can be integrated into CCaaS platforms to assist agents with live chat responses, emails, and social media messages. The powerful tools can also be trained with knowledge that is specific to the company, creating the most bespoke interactions.