Over the past few decades, business-to-customer (B2C) has grown significantly and drawn attention of the business community to a large extent to market their products. Consumers at present day have the option of buying their desires products and services via online rather than going for shopping into the marketplace. With the rapid growth of internet, internet marketing has got immense popularity within the business community and despite having an offline version of B2C, they actively engaged in online activity to promote and sell their products and services (Mangiaracina and Perego 2009).
A lot of entrepreneurs engaged in this B2C activity online who do not have an offline version and established a successful online venture (Grudzewski, et al. 2008). However, developing relationship and gaining trust at consumers’ end has become more and more challenging for businesses due to a variety of reasons like poor online security, effectiveness of electronic payment system, lack of effective marketing program, delay in delivery, poor quality of products and services than promised, inefficient return and refund policy and so on, which impact profoundly in their business success lately (Kamari and Kamari 2012; Mangiaracina and Perego 2009). Creating a loyal customer base is, therefore, highly crucial in order to achieve business objectives, which can be done by building relationship and gaining trust of the prospective and current customers.
Trust branding the services
Trust is something that the businesses have to win over in order to be successful. Customers are the most important element of business and without being able to engage them in the business process and develop relationship with them, it is impossible to achieve business success (Aggarwal and Law 2005). Branding can have a much better positive impact in this case as brand adds value to the products and services that a company is offering to its customers in terms of developing company image, building relationship with customers and providing customers the assurance of quality, uniqueness, safety, security and most importantly, of reliance (Chen and He 2003).
For trust branding, one of the key aspects is the supply of brand and products information via online. The company needs to ensure that it is taking every effort to reach the products and services information that it is offering to its target customers. It also needs to make sure that the information is communicating and informative. Besides establishing an eye-catching website, the company needs to ensure that all information is there that their consumers will be looking for. There should be all supportive information that what the company is offering, how it intends to provide them and how customers can avail the services (Tan and Rasiah 2011). The information must incorporate the company profile, who are behind the scene, affiliation of the company with other financial institutes, its success, reputation, awards and customer testimonials and the like as Simmons (2007) stipulated that such aspects are really significant to make customers’ realize and assure of the authenticity and the capability of the businesses’ provision to provide quality and reliable services.
Among the issues that are the reasons for customers’ distrust and downsides for online e-commerce business, insecure payment system is the one that is highly portrayed in the e-commerce business world. The lack of trust in the electronic payment is the one that impact negatively in this sector and this issue is still prevalent. This is the most serious issue among all for distrust and reluctance of customers’ for using and engaging them to avail the services in the area of online e-commerce (Mangiaracina and Perego 2009). Chen and He (2003) specify that customers will not use a service where there are elements of risk in availing them as availing the services may result in loss of their personal information and they will be more prone to economic loss. Aggarwal and Law (2005) denoted that there are a numerous number of cases of fraud and loss of personal data that consumers suffer from using the online shopping channel when they tried to purchase some products and services, which dictate the reason of distrust. However, Tan and Rasiah (2011) points out that partnering with trusted financial transaction providers, designing a sophisticated and secure website, updating the website on a regular basis and assuring money back guarantee can help businesses regain their trust.
Another aspect of trust branding is efficient and customer tailored customer support and complaint services. Consumers who wish to initiate and avail the opportunity to receive online financial services in order to manage their debt well like to make sure that the company has an experts panel of online customer administrators who can provide customers better assistance and guidance, unlike some other customer service centers where customers are put on hold for a long time as the staffs are incompetent, and not eager to listen to clients’ problems attentively.
Trust can never be built with customers if the company fails to ensure dedicated customer services.
Further, the company needs to have a well designed frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, which must portray what consumers should do and how they can get benefitted from online financial services (Simmons 2007). A comprehensive overview of the online financial services and the supports and benefits of customer for being with the company should be well depicted through the company website.
An interesting point has been raised by Mangiaracina and Perego (2009 that portray that customers tend to turn to the companies with whom they have positive experiences in the past transactions. This is known as Regency Effect and is highly significant from businesses perspectives. Any previous bad experience is good enough to make customers change their mind and switch to someone else. So the importance of ensuring customer satisfaction cannot be over accentuated as it is the key to ensure the long term relationship between the company and consumers and is highly crucial for gaining the trust of customers and central to the success of the business (Ali 2005).
Other factors like Business Certification from accredited and trusted institutions, customer testimonials from the served customers, an optimized search engine, a customer oriented approach and a frequently updated blog can be of excellent help for building relationship, gaining and rebuilding customer trust to a great extent (Alam and Yasin 2010).
In this era of dynamic and volatile business environment, there is no alternative for businesses that the utmost priority should be given to customers (Basu 2001) and it is important for businesses (regardless of the platform online or offline) to listen to the customers, give priority of customers’ interests and ensure the satisfaction of the customers. For online e-commerce business, the importance is undeniable and unquestionable (Tan and Rasiah 2011). By ensuring customers’ security and satisfaction and giving them the priority, an online business can thrive where the businesses need to make customers certain that they are not strangers.
• Aggarwal, P. and Law, S. (2005). Role of relationship norms in processing brand Information, Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 453-464.
• Alam, S.S. and Yasin, N.M. (2010). What factors influence online brand trust: evidence from online tickets buyers in Malaysia. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 5.
• Ali, H. (2005). Security and Trust in Agent-enabled E-commerce: Survey. Proceedings of the 4th WSEAS International Conference on Information security-Communications and Computers, Tenerife, Spain.
• Basu, R. (2001). New criteria of performance management. Measuring Business Excellence, 5 (4), pp. 7-12.
• Chen, R. and He, F. (2003). Examination of brand knowledge, perceived risk and consumers’ intention to adopt an online retailer, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence , 14 (6), 677-693.
• Grudzewski, M. W., Hejduk,K. I., Sankowska, A., Wantuchowicz, M. (2008). Trust Management in Virtual Work Environments: A Human Factors Perspective, CRC Press, Nevada.
• Kamari, F., and Kamari, S. (2012). Trust in Electronic Commerce: A New Model for Building Online Trust in B2C. European Journal of Business and Management, 4(10), 126-133.
• Mangiaracina, R., and Perego, A. (2009). Payment systems in the B2C eCommerce: Are they a barrier for the online customer? Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 14(3), 1-16.
• Simmons, J. G. (2007). I-branding: developing the internet as a branding tool, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 25(6), 544-62.
• Tan, M. T., and Rasiah, D. (2011). A review of online trust branding strategies of financial services industries in Malaysia and Australia. Advances in Management and Applied Economics, 1(1), 125-150.