In an e-mail context, assurance can best be considered as the quality of response. In the survey reported by Chaffey and Edgar (2000), of 180 responses received, 91 per cent delivered a personalised human response, with 9 per cent delivering an automated response which did not address the individual enquiry; 40 per cent of responses answered or referred to all three questions, with 10 per cent answering two questions and 22 per cent one. Overall, 38 per cent did not answer any of the specific questions posed!

A further assurance concern of e-commerce web sites is the privacy and security of customer information (see Chapter 3). A company that adheres to the UK Internet Shopping Is Safe (ISIS) (www.imra.ora/isis) or TRUSTe principles ( will provide better assurance than one that does not. Smith and Chaffey (2005) suggest that the following actions can be used to achieve assurance in an e-commerce site:

1 provide clear and effective privacy statements;

2 follow privacy and consumer protection guidelines in all local markets;

3 make security of customer data a priority;

4 use independent certification bodies;

5 emphasise the excellence of service quality in all communications.

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