Conversational Maturity Index: Consumer Electronics Retailers 2021 Ranking

7min read - Terrence Fox

What makes a brand or retailer conversational? When it comes to addressing customer needs, many ingredients must come into the mix to create the recipe for a scalable, humanized approach. AI chatbots, in store associates, and outside experts all come together to create memorable CX and keep customers coming back.

To support our goal of putting customer experience first, iAdvize created a unique assessment known as the Conversational Maturity Index(CMI). The CMI uses a quick online simulation to generate a score based on six pillars to evaluate how conversational brands are in relation to their industry.

This month, we have addressed consumer electronics and provided a ranking for the most conversational retailers in the industry.

Consumer Electronics Retailers 2021 Ranking

Our CMI research found the most conversational retailers in the industry. Industry leaders stood out in creating authentic, empathetic responses and rich messaging. Their conversational approaches were more user friendly, leaving customers satisfied with the digital experience.

Industry Standouts

P.C. Richard & Son

P.C. Richard & Son’s chat offers expert advice for their many products. Shoppers can ask detailed questions, like about video quality in this example, and expect an accurate, professional response. The retailers provide the ability to process an order with a discount through chat after receiving a recommendation. Shoppers can even choose to receive a phone call and complete their order through that channel.

Adorama

Adorama’s chat is unique in that the respondent’s profile is listed at the top of that chat window. In this case, Courtney who has extensive photo experience, helps customers choose the right camera. The chat is seamless and responses are lighting fast. The respondents infuse personalized advice and emotion into the conversation. Chatters can even use emojis to add a friendly touch!

ABT

ABT allows customers to select a category even before they are paired with a chat respondent. Shoppers can choose from sales, customer service, appliance service, or electronic service. A snapshot of the expert you will be messaging with is shown along with a short description of how long they’ve been an expert in the consumer electronics space. Customers are even able to switch to an SMS chat or download the chat transcript. Respondents can help shoppers through all stages of the buying journey, including pre-sales support, and placing the order.

Key Findings for Sporting Goods

Scalable, Omnichannel Approaches Still Need Work

The lowest scores for Consumer Electronics Retailers were in the Scalability and Omnichannel & Seamlessness pillars. What does this mean? Essentially, retailers need to employ a conversational strategy that will allow the always-on customers to get constant support. Today’s shoppers are looking for 24/7 help. They want to be able to pull up a site on their mobile device and chat to get an instant answer.

The current digital-first times call for easy communication. With the expectation of a few, most retailers did not offer the ability to return to a previous conversation thread, leave a message if a respondent isn’t available, or use additional features such as video chat or Facebook Messenger. Additionally, bots were not always utilized to create a best-in-class scalable approach. This could mean having an AI chatbot start the conversation with a shopper and escalate to an in-store associate or outside expert as needed. 

Achievements in Empathetic, Authentic, Personalized Messaging

Top scores for the industry include Empathy, Expertise, & Authenticity and Personalized Engagement. Winning retailers have dedicated human respondents who can establish 1:1 relationships with shoppers. Product experts provide a pre-sales support system and create a natural conversation flow without long wait times. The customer receives real time advice from experts who are relatable, empathetic, and friendly.

How Conversational Maturity Index Research is Conducted

This CMI is powered by insights from more than 2,000 retail brands and 10 years of experience in the CX industry. It has become essential for retail brands to provide online consumers with the kind of authentic, seamless conversational experience they have everyday through messaging. The assessment helps retailers to analyze their conversational strategy and find out how they can improve to better meet customer needs. 

For this third industry analysis on consumer electronics retailers, we examined leaders using the CMI framework of 80 discrete-value questions based on the six pillars. We analyzed top retailers based on revenue, reputation, and market presence. We visited each website to perform assessments of conversational features using our standard question sets.

To dive deeper into conversational capabilities, we utilized available chat or messaging features on websites. We would engage with a customer-facing representative to gain information on a specific product and ask both general and specific questions to evaluate the experience.

With this information, we would then assign scores using our standard question set and calculate scores for each pillar, each brand overall, as well as industry averages.

A Framework Built on Six Pillars

The CMI examines the current experience of a brand or retailer measured against six critical pillars of an ideal CX for today’s consumer. Those pillars include:

  • Expertise, Empathy & Authenticity
  • Scalability 
  • Personalized Engagement
  • Rich & User-Friendly Messaging
  • Omnichannel & Seamlessness
  • Business Drive

Expertise, Empathy & Authenticity

An exceptional conversational approach can provide genuine, humanized connections between shoppers and brand representatives. There’s nothing more memorable about a digital experience than when a chat respondent recognizes needs and priorities 1:1 conversations that flow easily and invoke emotion. Those interactions represent what is measured in the "Empathy, Expertise, and Authenticity" dimension.

Scalability

Scalability can be challenging when it comes to delivering personalized conversations. Using chatbots to keep up with rising demands is a simple fix, but it can often lead to impersonal conversational experiences. Leading retailers use a mix of bots and humans intelligently and perform well on the "Scalability" dimension of conversational maturity.

Personalized Engagement

Purchase history and browsing interest might seem like an obvious way to recommend products for customers, but these methods aren’t necessarily personal. Forward-thinking retailers have human agents who foster personal connections to understand shoppers' true intents, needs, and questions while shopping online. These are the factors taken into account when looking at the “Personalized Engagement” pillar.

Rich & User-Friendly Messaging

In an online shopping environment, messaging should be integral to the digital experience. Ideally, messaging options should be easy to locate and use while blending seamlessly into the user interface (UI) which should match the branding and be uncluttered. Messaging should also open on that same shopping page, preventing the need for customers to switch back and forth between tabs.  Retailers who lead in this dimension offer a rich, engaging multimedia experience that allows for consumers to even share emojis, photos, and documents. 

Omnichannel & Seamlessness

As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, brands and retailers need to offer support in various ways. Leaders use asynchronous messaging approaches, allowing customers to start a conversation with messaging and add to it overtime. They offer the ability for shoppers to have a complete conversation, or stay connected with messaging even after leaving the site. This signifies a job well done in the “Omnichannel & Seamlessness” category.

Business Drive

The first five pillars of conversational maturity are found in features and experiences delivered on a brand's external website or mobile app. Business drive, however, is the internal factor that underpins an organization's conversational efforts and thus can only be uncovered through close examination of a company’s culture and values. 

How Consumer Electronics Retailers Compare

Our last Conversational Maturity Index industry assessment was conducted on the sporting goods sector. We found that the most conversational brands in sporting goods excelled crafting authentic, relatable experiences, something shared by consumer electronics retailers. Both industries crafted an overall sense of understanding and empathy for the customer.

Retailers in the consumer electronics and sporting goods industries both shared low scores in the Omnichannel & Seamlessness pillar. Personalized Engagement scored the highest for sporting goods, and the highest for this deep dive into consumer electronics.


To find out where you stand, complete the CMI or send it to our team here.

About the iAdvize Conversational Maturity Index

Launched in March 2021, the iAdvize Conversational Maturity Index (CMI) is a resource for brands to evaluate their digital strategy and benchmark against other companies in their industries. iAdvize independently analyzes well-known companies in select industries to report on the state of conversational maturity. In addition, brands can complete an online self-survey to understand the current state of their conversational initiatives.

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