You have to have high standards when it comes to customer service because 30% of customers will walk away after just one bad experience.
This means you can’t afford for a single area of your customer communications to go overlooked when all it takes is just lackluster email.
So how can you craft emails that keep your customers in the know and maybe even dazzle them a little bit?
The email trifecta
Despite the sea of poorly written email communications that our inboxes are drowning in every day, crafting the perfect customer service email is not as hard of a task as it sounds. Each email should:
- Be polite – Treat your customers with respect
- Be personalized – Treat your customers as individuals, and
- Be purposeful – Highlight their value to your organization.
If you can check off each of the following tips, you’re on your way to the perfect customer service email.
✔ Make it personal
Starting your email off with “Valued Customer” is about as impersonal as you can get.
Remember, good customer service is based on building relationships, so use their name and any of the other data available to you about their particular request or issue upfront. It saves time and it cuts to the chase.
You can also make your customer service emails more personal by introducing yourself and including a picture of the sender in the footer of your email. Where appropriate use emojis or gifs for added flare.
✔ Write like a human
Customer service isn’t a transaction. It’s a conversation between two humans and your emails should reflect this.
Craft customer service emails like you would when speaking naturally. Leave out the phrases you wouldn’t use when having a conversation with a friend.
✔ Show gratitude
Feedback is an incredibly valuable tool to improve your customer service plan. It tells you what you’re doing right and points to areas that need improvement. You should thank your customers for each piece of feedback they give you, even if it is negative.
Negative feedback is a heads-up about something that isn’t working in your organization. Your customers draw attention to pain points and you have an opportunity to fix them.
No matter the subject of your email, thank your customers for reaching out. If they placed an order, thank them for the order or if they are having an issue with their account, thank them for bringing this problem to your attention.
✔ Consider the context
There are two parts of crafting the perfect customer service email that depends on context:
- Good news vs. bad news order
✔ Good news or bad news – which comes first?
If you’ve been in the customer service industry long, you’ve probably heard the term “compliment sandwich.” This is a technique of putting a negative piece of information between two positives.
When crafting a customer service email, the compliment sandwich can actually be more of a compliment tartine. Whether the negative news is the bread or the condiments depends on the context.
- Call to action: In this context, the positive should come first.
“We were able to update your account. But, to verify your identity we need you to respond to this email.”
- Do you need your customer to feel better about bad news? Here, the negative should be followed by the positive.
“Unfortunately we were not able to update your account. However, you have five days to fix the problem.”
Research shows that customers prefer a casual tone for most emails. If you are providing information about a new service or following up on a previous call, use casual language.
But, if your email is more negative, customers prefer a formal tone. It conveys that you are taking the problem seriously and working to resolve it.
✔ Above all, clarity is key
One source of frustration between conversation partners over any medium is understanding what the other is saying. This could be literal: you are using video chat and the audio keeps cutting out. But, more often than not it is because one partner is not communicating clearly.
Your emails to your customers should be easy to understand. When explaining a complex topic, don’t do it as if you were speaking to a coworker.
- Leave as much technical jargon as possible out.
- If you must use technical words, explain them
- Use short concise sentences
- Bulleted lists when appropriate
- Use visual cues when explaining a process
- Keep it simple
- Be clear in your instructions. Instead of saying “click this link” try, “click this link in blue.”
✔ Endless scroll is no one’s friend
The bottom line is no one wants to or has the time to read a wall of text.
While your emails need to be informative, make sure they are not overly wordy. Customers tune out when they have to scroll through long emails, leaving your message ultimately undelivered even when it is opened.
Generally, if your instructions contain more than one image or three steps, you should link to your knowledge base or invite them to contact an agent rather than include them in the body of your email.
✔ Don’t be bossy
Although your customers are asking for assistance, you don’t want to come off as sounding rude when you give them the answer. One way to easily do this is to avoid commands.
Instead of saying, “Remit payment within the next 30 days,” sounds cold and a little rude. But, “if you would like to proceed with your payment within 30 days, that will speed up this process,” gives your customer the power to decide to proceed with payment.
No matter which channel you use to communicate, the approach to customer satisfaction should be consistent. Creating the perfect customer service email is just taking your standards of service and translating them into a well-written letter.