Bridging the trust gap



Nivedita MukerjeeGIVING UP establishing buying behaviours. It looks like that is the baseline for e-business. Applicable to corporate and individual buyer alike, economic logic might be the driving factor for behavioural change, rather than the security element as is taken for granted it is a given that, eventually, technology and cyberlaws would take care of these concerns.

Already come payment gateways have been set up to connect banks, credit card companies and sellers along with the e-commerce portals that want to accomplish online payment settlement. The whole process from cheque depositing to verification and funds transfer would be electronic. And definitely it is only a matter of time, as you will read in the Web Business cover feature, before the enabling technology for online payments is standardized. This would be a means and not an end as it is now.

What would be the issue then? When the laws are in place, when encryption technologies are available (like a commodity) would this enable the fostering of trust in the customer? Trust, which is the missing link between the business that is ‘e’ and the customer who is king? You must be aware that while techies are working on security and governments on laws, there are companies who have realized that bridging the trust hap is very vital and definitely a time-intensive exercise for converting the buying behaviour. Companies like the SGS group of Geneva have tied up with for promoting trust in the B2B marketplace. Such companies that are otherwise involved in third party assurance in on-line transaction-they offer “safe internet trading environment of SITE” services-are now making efforts to build trust in both buyers and vendors through methods suitable and reliable from the point of view of both parties.

What I am trying to say is that it is always habit that constrains any changeover, E-businesses would do well to focus on net-enabling their process delivery mechanisms, and, consequently, providing better value for money to the customer. Still, the response to customer queries takes click-eons, that is days instead of hours as is expected of e-enabled transactions. Fewer sites have even provided for any commercial transaction online!

Users as well as providers need to attain a certain level of what I call ‘perception maturity’ before e-commerce can notch up any volumes of economic proportions.

Did you know that already the number of internet users has far exceeded the number of credit card holders? A technology that would perhaps work directly on converting customers who have less buying-habit baggage? Any thoughts? If you know of someone who is already working on this, do write to us.

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Nivedita Mukerjee