As customers buy more gadgets online, consumer electronics brands have beefed up their sites to focus on showcasing their products and providing customer service. Index brands have dialed back on providing customer service phone numbers and emails, and instead offer live chat, which has increased in adoption from 47% to 56% according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Consumer Electronics.

Just having the feature available to customers isn’t enough, however: 45% of brands also arm their customer service representatives with user information prior to the start of a conversation so they can more quickly address issues and add a personal touch to build customer trust. For example, Sonos live chat representatives are aware of which products a customer has recently looked at, allowing the customer service agent to skip frustrating setup questions and instead start immediately answering product-specific queries.

In addition to phone numbers and email addresses, other forms of customer service have fallen by the wayside. Only 53% of brands tracked in Gartner L2’s study allow customers to submit questions via web forms, down 19% from the previous year. Twitter, which once showed promise as a channel for customer service, is now stagnating and has lost almost as many users as it has gained in the last two years. The platform accounts for just 1% of brand social interactions, down from 3% last year, with only a few gaming brands rustling up traction on the platform.

Relying on live chat might not prove enough to satisfy all customers or to keep brand sites relevant. If customers don’t find adequate service via brands’ live chat feature, peer reviews continue to be one of the most trusted sources of information for consumers, with 38% turning to family or peers for advice when researching a product. In addition to better equipping customer service reps, brands should also make sure to include ratings and reviews on their brand sites to prevent shoppers from looking elsewhere.

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