Be Careful What You Say: How you write customer service emails matters

Nearly half of all customer service communication happens via email. If you Google ‘customer service email’ you’ll see a long string of URLs (let’s just call them advertisements) offering up ‘email scripts for every occasion.’ This is exactly what you don’t want to do when communicating with your clients – send out the same scripts to everyone that contacts your company. You may not want to send out scripts at all.

Here’s why your support team should think carefully about how company emails are handled…and why scripts don’t always do the trick.

A Lesson in Script Sending

For the purpose of protecting this company’s name, we’re not going to use any names here, but this is an example of a recent email correspondence:

“Hi {{customer.first_name}}, Thanks for contacting the XXXXXX. Our support team responds to messages from 9 a.m. to 6pm (EST), Monday to Friday. One of our teammates will respond to you as soon as possible. Thanks.”

A closer look (let’s be honest, though, this email doesn’t really require a long and hard look, right?) reveals some fundamental problems with this email script.

  1. The customer’s name is not included (someone didn’t understand the point of this field!)
  2. The company is clearly stating that the problem cannot be addressed because it is after office hours
  3. It’s a faceless and nameless email that feels robotic (mostly because it is)

What impression does this email leave? It feels like it was sent from a company that does not really care about its customers, can’t be bothered to pay attention to a customer’s name, and treats all problems the same way (as long as those problems are addressed during office hours).

Even worse, when a reply was not sent, the second response email was the same as the one above – and the name of the person that sent the email was still ‘customer. First_name’

Instead of that…

…try this. Try sending out customized emails to your clients. If you don’t have someone responding to clients around the clock, a script email response might be okay to use – but it shouldn’t attempt to be something that it’s not. If you are closed, simply note ‘this is an automatically generated email.’

If you’re thinking, ‘sure, but people want a response quickly at all hours of the night, so letting people know that an email is automated won’t work,’ the question you have to ask yourself is, ‘what’s worse?’ An email that tells the truth or one that feels cold and insulting?

Personalized Responses

As your customer service operation grows, sending out personalized responses seems like a harder and harder thing to do. But is it? Steve Jobs was notorious for personally responding to some client emails. Current CEO, Tim Cook, does the same thing. Take the time to read about customer problems, respond as you would respond to a friend, and make all of your customers feel unique.

You can use scripts when needed, but making the mistake of sending out a very bad script like the one above may mean isolating and offending a customer. The way that emails are handled matters. Make sure that any email coming from your company puts the customer first.

Have questions about what’s right for your customer service operation? Contact us today and see what we know about current customer service trends – and how the right trends can make your business better!

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