The online customer experience varies greatly. In a physical store, customers use physical indications to assess the professionalism and capability of an establishment. For an e-commerce merchant, these facilities are absent. The design, language, processes, and content determine how a buyer identifies and ultimately interacts with a business. For the consumers, trusting an online organization with payment information, to deliver the product on time, and to provide service after the sale, is the potential encumbrance to the buying process.
A positive customer experience leads to more sales. A negative experience not only decreases the possibility of the future sales but can also lead to negative word of mouth that prevents new customer obtainment. Even though technology is improving in the e-commerce empire, much easier than ever, yet ignoring the emotional and logical cues that buyers need to feel secure and confident while making an online transaction can block the growth of the best business models.
Customer Satisfaction as a measure of success
Delivering complete customer satisfaction should be the key goal of organizations. It has been proved that customer satisfaction is directly proportionate to the loyalty of the customer with the organization, leading to subsequent profits for the organization (Anderson & Mittal, 2000). With increased global competition, tight profit margins, several buyers in the market, and shorter loyalty spans of the customer, getting customer attention through unique ways is the key focus.
Organizations must exceed certain rules set by them and reach out to the expectations of their customers and even they have to travel an extra mile to achieve their customer’s loyalty. These little things make a great change in the growth rate of an organization and also lead the customers to revisit and repurchase goods with the organization. Consequently, customer satisfaction leads to large turnovers and profits. Through customer referrals, the organizations can grow their considerable database to add new customers in a very effective manner.
The key to customer loyalty is to satisfy the customer completely in all aspects at every level of interaction with the organization. Totally satisfying all the members of the targeted customer group should be a top priority for all organizations (Jones & Sasser, 1995). Some articles discuss the “customer process model approach” (Behara, Fontenot, & Gresham, 2002), which involves a process study of the customer while he goes through the life cycle of using the product or service, to gain an observation of customer’s evaluation of that product or service with the ultimate goal of increasing customer satisfaction and bringing in additional revenues for the organization. This can be achieved by collecting accurate data on its customer’s expectations, real-time experience- based expectations rather than ideal situation based expectations and using this data to develop an enhanced customer service capability for the organization Another way of achieving a high level of customer satisfaction is to understand what a customer goes through before, during and after the interaction with a company that provides a product.
Thus for sake of the analysis, we can assume three modes: pre-sales, sales, and after-sales when the customer is made certain promises towards the functionality of a product or excellence and promptness in service. At the time the customers can be provided with few samples where the product is provided to the customer for free with the service coming at a premium and in the after demo-sales mode, the customer gets a true feeling of the company’s product and service. It is at this stage that customer loyalty is set towards the company, based on the delivery of promises made by the company.