When you work in customer services, you quickly become aware of the high volume of emails that are written every day. Email is one of the main customer service channels and is, most likely, the way in which most of your customers will get in contact with you.
It can be easy to forget that you are dealing with another person each time you send an email. Yet customers need to feel that their concerns are being addressed and that their expectations are being met. Writing customer service emails that offer a more personalized approach can make a big impact, especially if you are dealing with unhappy customers. Here are seven strategies to use to create personalized customer service emails.
Start any email to a customer with a simple and clear greeting. Most importantly, make sure that you address the customer directly by their name.
You can either address the customer directly by their first name or as Mr./Ms. Surname, if you are working within a particularly formal industry. Avoid simply referring to them as “customer” or any variation of this, such as “valued customer”. This will make the interaction seem deeply impersonal. Even worse, avoid referring to them by their case or customer number. By paying attention to small details like this, you will be able to immediately make your customers feel more valued and set the tone for a more positive customer service experience. Ensure that you also end the email by signing off with your own name, rather than “customer support team”.
This may seem like a strange thing to do. After all, the customer has gotten in touch because they are experiencing a problem and are, most likely, making a complaint.
“In the majority of cases where customers are unhappy with a product or a service they have received, they don’t tell customer services that they are unhappy. Instead, they simply leave and take their business elsewhere,” says Stephen Caulder, a customer service expert at Luckyassignments.com. “Yet, by making their problem known to you, the customer is actually providing you with the opportunity to address that problem and to retain them as a customer.
By making the complaint, the customer has in fact done you and your company a favor. Make sure that when you email the customer back that you thank them for getting in touch and asking questions. Be clear that the feedback that they are providing is helpful to you and your company.”
When dealing with a customer, it is important to make sure that everyone involved is clear about the situation itself and the steps being taken to resolve the problem. As such, it is extremely useful to summarize the situation in its current state to the customer. This will help to ensure that you are all on the same page. It is also important to clarify any doubts that you have at this point. If there is an aspect to the customer’s problem that you are unclear about, make sure that you ask for confirmation.
Clarity is important whenever you deal with any customer problem, but this is especially true for more complex cases. It can be particularly helpful to rephrase the issue back to the customer. In this way, you are able to check that you do, in fact, fully understand the issue. This can be even more useful if you are dealing with customers who have English as a second language. It can help both you and the customer, to be clear on the specifics of the issue. A summary is also helpful if it has been some time since you last had contact with the customer.
Make sure that you respond directly to the concerns the customer raised in their message.
“There are different ways to respond to customers and help them resolve any issues they are having,” says Jeff Taylor, a business writer. “It all depends on how complex the situation is. Make sure that your explanation is clear and easy to understand. You might choose to use screenshots to create visual aids to help your customers follow your explanation. You can also send a step-by-step list or set of instructions, which can be particularly helpful if there are multiple actions the customer has to take to resolve the issue.”
If you are dealing with a complex case that requires multiple steps or images, you can include a separate link within the email. Very long and complicated instructions can lead to customers feeling frustrated and confused, so make sure that whatever information you give to your customer is displayed in the most accessible format.
If there is something that you don’t know or are unable to help resolve, make sure to acknowledge this. Make a note of the issue and inform the customer that you will keep working on the problem to find a solution. Ensure that if the issue cannot be fully resolved at this stage, that you provide the customer with a timeframe for when they can expect to hear back from you. You want customers to know what is going on, rather than simply think that their problem has been ignored.
The main goal of any customer interaction is to make sure that you provide simple and clear instructions and feedback. Whilst you may be accustomed to using technical and complex terminology as part of your job, your customer is not. You want to avoid using technical jargon that they don’t understand. Similarly, you want to avoid addressing the customer in a patronizing manner. Remember, the goal is to give a clear answer that doesn’t leave room for misunderstandings.
When writing your email, make sure that you keep your language simple. It can be helpful to explain the terms using the customer’s own words. For instance, if they used particular terms in their original message to describe the problem, you can use those terms in your explanation in order to help make it more accessible for them and easier to follow.
It can be difficult to know the type of tone you should use in an email with a customer. Different customers will react differently to an informal or formal tone. The formal tone is the safest option, but it will lack the personal quality you want your communication to include. By contrast, an informal tone can create a more personal interaction, but you do risk angering some customers who would be expecting a formal response.
If you are working in a very formal industry, then your customers will be expecting a formal tone and as such, that is what you should use. The same applies in reverse. The key is to be aware of your audience.
As a general rule, when trying to create more personalized email communication, an informal style works best. However, you should be attentive to your customer’s reactions. Any sign that they would prefer a more formal approach should prompt you to adapt your style accordingly. Look for cues in the way that the customer writes and forms their sentences, as well as in how they address you and end their message.
When dealing with a customer complaint or problem, you want to make sure that you provide them with all the information they might need in order to resolve their issue. As well as the reply you offer within your email to answer their query, you may also want to direct them to other resources that they can use for further information. It may be that you have detailed step-by-step instructions elsewhere or your site, or a video or interactive diagram that they can use. If so, make sure that you send an accurate and functioning link to any further, relevant information that your customer might benefit from. Rather than trying to include lots of detailed information within your email, it may be more effective to provide customers with additional links.
Customer complaints and queries happen across all businesses. However, it is essential that you know how to respond appropriately and write customer service emails that leave customers feeling valued and satisfied with the service they have received. It can be easy to forget to add a personal touch to such emails, especially if you are writing large volumes each day.
However, creating a positive and personal interaction with a customer is crucial if you want to retain them as customers. Remember to address each customer by their name and thank them for getting in touch. Summarize the issue for them, offer a simple and easy to follow response to their problem and use an informal, but professional tone. Make sure that your language is accessible and provide customers with links to any additional information they may need.
Following these simple steps will help create a positive customer service experience.
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