Researchers at Ohio State University and Australia’s Deakin University list ways in which sales completed with SSTs differ from those completed through conversations with a salesperson. The consumer must:
- Be an equal partner with the retailer in completing the transaction
- Know how to use the SST system provided by the retailer
- Resolve problems with the transaction even when immediate face-to-face interaction with the retailer is not available
The researchers propose characteristics for a proper SST service guarantee. Chief among these is that the guarantee be attribute-specific rather than unconditional. An unconditional guarantee says that the problem will be fixed no matter what the reason for dissatisfaction. An attribute-specific guarantee lists the reasons the retailer will take remedial action. It might be for late delivery of a perfect product or for inaccuracies in a prompt delivery, for instance.
Here’s why I agree with the recommendation for attribute-specific guarantees:
- Consumers are more likely to believe an attribute-specific guarantee.
- Listing the attributes allows you to describe again the benefits of what you offer, such as promising prompt delivery and flawless accuracy.
- In making your promise more specific, you protect yourself better against exploitation by unscrupulous shoppers.
Then, regardless of a guarantee’s conditions, urge SST customers to let you know about the problems so you can correct them.
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