After the checkout: how to use this final moment to generate customer satisfaction

Most websites generating a “checkout confirmed” / “thank you” page and moment do not take advantage of it to further shape customer satisfaction and the relationship they have with their customers. And it’s sad, since small adjustments at this moment are both low cost and can have huge effects.

Get feedback from your customers

Generating useful customer feedback is seen as valuable in nearly all companies. The difficulty is in getting your customers to spend some time to give you their feedback. Even a 30 seconds, 2-clicks feedback survey can be a tough sell.

When they just bought from you though, they are usually more willing to both spend a further 30 seconds on your website and also their shopping experience is still fresh on their mind. So if you ask them: “how could we have made your shopping experience easier and better today?” they are more willing to answer than at other times.

Action: customize your “thank you” page to feature prominently a feedback form with a few radio buttons for 1-click feedback on the issues you think your customers are having. Further offer a large blank text box with a question aksing them their more general feedback and ideas for improving their experience.

You will be surprised how many good ideas and feedback on unknown issues a well-worded question is generating for you to act on. In any case, not requesting customer feedback on your “thank you” page is a wasted  low-cost / high-return opportunity:

  • this page is normally closed afterwards, so you are not burdening your interaction more
  • the cost is negligible and the development straightforward

It’s one of those low-cost/high-return tasks that should be implemented by all websites but isn’t usually because its effects are medium-term and it’s not seen as urgent. It’s one of the first thing I do when working with a new client.

The end of your interaction shapes how you are remembered

Humans judge the quality of their experience according to the Peak-end rule. Essentially, it means that your customers will remember their last interaction with your website according to these parameters:

  • remembering their experience at the peak, that is at the most intense point of their experience
  • remembering their experience at the end
  • neglecting to take into account the total duration of their experience

In brief, customers evaluate ecommerce interactions by their feelings at the peak and the end. So let’s take the case of a customer completing a transaction on an ecommerce website selling shoes. Here are the possibilities:

  • peak experience
    • positive: finds a delightful and very difficult to get pair of shoes
    • negative: knows what model she wants, but then spends 10 mins using the navigation and search engine to try and locate them on the website, wondering after 5 mins if they are there at all or the website is just too difficult to navigate
  • end experience
    • positive: checkout is easy, fast and very efficient, done in under 1 min
    • negative: checkout is just long and painful. Information is needed that is irrelevant, forms don’t validate and it’s not clear why, payment gateway is not responding, etc.

Get both positive and you’re all set for success and loyalty. Get both negative and you’re probably at risk of losing market share to better competitors. Get one negative and the other positive and you’ve got good potential for improvements.

Some notes

  • use your analytics data to identify negative peak experiences: long searches failing to yield results, high exit rates on some pages/categories, etc.
  • use qualitative user feedback to identify both negative and positive peak experiences: you’ll then be able to solve the issues and promote behaviors that generate customer satisfaction
  • work on your checkout process: an excellent checkout process leaves a great feeling for your customer, and it can offsets partially a negative peak experience, leaving the client more neutral regarding their shopping experience versus very frustrated. A/B testing is critical here and checkout processes improvement are one of the most reliable optimization item, so slow and steady improvements is a reasonable target here.