Customer satisfaction should be a priority for all ecommerce merchants. After all, Bain & Company is attributed for the statistic, “It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.” However, the lack of customer complaints does not necessarily mean that customers are satisfied.

Unlike a definitive good or bad, customer satisfaction more resembles a continuum. As 1 Financial Training Services shares, “96% of unhappy customers don’t complain. However, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back”. Have we convinced you to improve your customer service? If so, we’re helping you do just that with 7 proven ways to increase customer satisfaction for your online business.

1. Surprise Customers with Freebies

What is better than a freebie? A surprise freebie of course! Use the element of surprise to win customers over. Great examples for unexpected freebies? Try free shipping upgrades, complimentary samples, waived shipping fees, or even include swag (promotional items) in your packages. The best part about surprise freebies is that they can be implemented at your discretion. Once you run out of samples and swag, you simply stop giving them out. Check out this Tweet from a customer who received PrestaShop Swag.

2. “Under Promise, Over Deliver”

This time-proven motto has served many large companies. What does it mean? Be aware of the promises you make to your customer, then aim to deliver more than what was promised. Why does it work? By following this motto, you consistently meet customer expectations. By repetitively delivering this level of service, you covert buyers into loyal customers. As an added bonus, you’ll save money because it costs less to retain customers.

3. Be Clear and Concise

Avoid confusion by clearly outlining your products and service. An example? Ensure the checkout is clear and easy to use. Each Call to Action (CTA) button should lead customers to the next logical step in completing their purchase. Another example? Have a clear return policy. Guidelines that are unique to your store should be repeated. Specifically, if you don’t accept returns for products that are opened – specify in the return policy and the product description.

4. Anticipate Customer Needs

This is one of Ritz Carlton’s 3 steps in achieving the Gold Standard in customer service. It requires a deep and intimate understanding of your customers’ needs. Before a customer can think to raise a concern, address the issue. If someone is purchasing a gift, anticipate your customers’ needs by offering to send a packing list without prices. Addressing concerns before they become a concern keeps a customer happy because they were never unhappy to begin with.

5. Empathize and be Sincere

The late Maya Angelou once said, “[P]eople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The best way to get customers to remember the way you made them feel is to provide customer service fueled with empathy and sincerity. Unfortunately, there is no set formula for achieving this. There are however, great examples of customer service done right.

My favorite story tells how a, “desk clerk … delivered a pot of tea, gratis and unasked, to the room of a guest with a bad cold.” The customer probably can’t recall whether she had mint or honey tea, nor the desk clerk’s name. However, she will always remember the way she felt upon receiving that welcomed pot of hot tea. The sincerity behind the act is what made it stand out.

6. Shorten Response Times

In the age of social media, customers expect shorter response times. It may seem impossible to keep up if you are a one-man team. However, there are a few tips to quickly and efficiently address customer concerns. Start by creating customer service email templates. Here’s a sample:

Dear {Customer Name},


We received your email in regards to {summary of their issue}. {If needed, sincerely apologize.} We will gladly resolve your {type of issue} issue by {what you’ll do or provide}. (If you are doing nothing, you must clearly state that. Be sure to provide a reason why.) Please {customers’ next step}.


Thank you for being a {positive adjective} customer. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at {contact information} with reference # {order number} as the subject line, or simply reply to this email.


Best regards,

{Customer Service information}

For issues that arise frequently, create specific emails templates for that issue. Also shorten response times by leveraging social media as a customer service channel. Monitor your social media accounts for comments and questions. Address them daily by quickly answering their question, sending them to a page with the answer, or providing the email address for customer service.

7. Show Customers you Care

As you update your site, convey the benefits of each change to customers. This is especially helpful for changes that may seem like a disadvantage for customers. Take for example, Netflix, an American video streaming company who increased the price of their monthly subscription. They sent emails that:

  1. thanked customers for using their service
  2. provided value to customers by extending the current customer rate for 2 years.

Although the price increase is a still disadvantage for the customer, Netflix presented the issue in a positive light for customers. Netflix easily showed their customers they care by writing this email.

Are you doing your part in keeping customers satisfied? What works best? Share your methods in the comments below. If you don’t already have a method in place, which of these prevailing ways will you implement in your online store?

Not an online merchant yet? Check out PrestaShop by testing our demo or build your online store today with the best open source ecommerce software by downloading PrestaShop.

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About Julie Liu

Julie is a dog-lover, UMiami Alumnus and ecommerce veteran. Prior to her role as a product marketing specialist at PrestaShop, she managed day-to-day operations for an online store.

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