An investigation into whether customer care initiatives are being implemented on South African e-commerce web sites.
This study examined whether customer care initiatives are being implemented on South African e-commerce web sites. The customer care initiatives are categorised into four sections: • General section which assessed the website's content, • Contact section which assessed vanous contact mechanisms and community development, • Security section which determined the security aspects of the web site, and • Ordering section which assessed the payment options, shipping and tracking the order. A search engine was used to generate a random sample of web sites that engaged in e-commerce. The web sites were then assessed against a checklist to determine if the 58 customer care initiatives were present or not. In order to capture the data, a generic Internet browser was developed so that the top half of the screen comprised the web site and the lower half of the screen contained the checklist. As the initiatives in the checklist were captured, the data was transferred into a database where it was later analysed both in the database and in a spreadsheet. The results revealed that, on the whole, the web sites fared well in the General section particularly with respect to the designs of the web sites. However, it was apparent that more commitment is needed in the Contact, Security and Ordering sections of web site design. The main recommendations include greater management commitment towards the more costly technologies such as encryption software to increase the security of online financial transactions and protect personal information; the inclusion of shopping basket technology and the inclusion of search facilities on the web sites. To a lesser extent there needs to be more commitment towards the creation of communities via the web site.