How to increase customer satisfaction with the Peak-End Rule


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SEO, brand awareness, social media – there’s a mountain of info out there on ways to increase traffic to your site, and boosting customer satisfaction while you're at it. But getting new online visitors is only half the battle. Once they’re there, the metric you need to look at is the conversion rate. Do people just come to your site, have a look around and then clear out? Or are they taking the next step and going through with a purchase? The Peak-End Rule, which describes a little mental shortcut we all take, can help you to ensure that your customer is left with a positive impression. We don’t assess an experience based on what happened as a whole. Instead, we tend to take away a feeling of what happened based on just two factors. One: what the experience was like at its best (or worst), and two: how it felt at the end. So even if an experience was just so-so all the way through, the overall perception will be positive, and the customer satisfaction high, as long as there was a good point and a good ending. That’s all well and good, you say, but why is it important from a marketing viewpoint? Well, for starters it means that your website doesn’t need to be perfect down to every minor detail – isn’t that a relief! Potential customers will overlook any minor shortcomings in site usability, as long as you pay attention to three main points.

  1. Don't do anything badly wrong

If your webshop has major problems, then you’re creating a peak experience which is overwhelmingly negative. Say your site is incredibly difficult to navigate, or makes it hard to perform basic actions like removing one item from the shopping cart, you’ve got to take action. These are ‘details’ your client is going to remember, and which will result in a negative overall impression. If, on the other hand, you do things right – the site is well-designed, items placed in the shopping cart stay there and are easy to add and remove – you will go a long way towards ensuring that the peak experience is a positive one.

  1. Finish on a good note

You need to do more than just including “have a nice day” on your confirmation email, that’s for sure. The checkout experience is of vital importance. If it’s inconvenient or annoying (or worst of all, stalls completely), you’re letting your customers down badly. And if your payment system provider is hard to use or unreliable, switch to a new one. It’s also important to provide a clear ending to the shopping ‘event’. Don’t just leave your buyer hanging – include a final screen thanking them for the purchase, explaining when they can expect delivery and who to contact with questions or problems.

  1. Brighten your post-purchase contact

It’s essential to ensure that any post-purchase contact is positive too, from follow-up customer service to the delivery of the order itself. If you deliver electronic goods, need we remind you that the download process must be simple and straightforward, with clear instructions for non-technical types? If you sell tangible items, take the opportunity to make a lasting impression. Take ikbenmama.nl, one of our most beloved clients. This online store for mothers (and, of course, their little ones) is amazing at making an impression: not only do they deliver super fast, but their presentation is downright impressive. My order from them was delivered in an ordinary brown cardboard box. So far, so normal. But instead of plain brown tape, the box I received was sealed with customised pink-and-white ‘ikbenmama’ tape, and my purchases were wrapped in the webshop’s signature bright pink tissue paper. Instead of just unpacking an order I paid myself, I felt like I was getting a present! If you pay careful attention to how your business handles these three factors, both your online conversion rate and your return rate is sure to increase. There’s always room for improvement in every aspect of your business, of course, but starting with the Peak-End Rule is a great way to bring quick results, and ensure great customer satisfaction.