How a personalised freebie can increase customer satisfaction

1 min read

Fancy making a mint? Try handing out some mints.
Let us backtrack. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found waiters increased their tips by 23% just by offering their customers mints after the meal.
What relevance does this have for customer service for online businesses?
Let’s take a look at the experiment and explore it a little further.

Making a mint

In the study, researchers tested the effects mints had against a control group (where no mints were given) in order to measure their effectiveness in increasing tips.
The first group studied had waiters giving mints along with the check, making no mention of the mints themselves. This increased tips by around 3% against the control group.
The second group had waiters bring out two mints by hand (separate from the check), and they mentioned them to the table (ie, “Would anyone like some mints before they leave?”). This saw tips increase by about 14% against the control group.
The last group had the most dramatic result. They had waiters bring out the check first along with a few mints. A short time afterward, the waiter came back with another set of mints, and let customers know that they had brought out more mints, in case they wanted another. This saw a 21% increase in tips versus the control group.
Interesting. So how can this study be applied to customer service for online businesses?


In the last test, the only difference was personalisation – the waiter brought out the second mints after some time had passed and showed genuine concern for the customer “I thought you might like more mints….”
It was the perception the waiter had gone out of his or her way to ensure the  customer satisfaction.
It’s difficult for online businesses to hand out mints. But a similar follow up freebie – perhaps free product training, a free widget or guide or a first time buyer bonus can have the same effect.
It doesn’t have to be anything grand – after all, mints were responsible for the large tip increase.
The aim is to leave your customer on a high note with the clear impression their time and money on your business was spent wisely.