We’ve all been there before – you buy a new product, subscribe to a new service, or run into a bug on a website and something goes wrong. Suddenly, the thing you were so excited about is the very thing that results in a need to reach out to the Customer Service team. You’re understandably frustrated, and make it clear in your email that the poor experience has left a bad taste in your mouth. Then, you get a reply from a Customer Service agent that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside; you feel heard, appreciated as a customer, and suddenly the issue you emailed about in the first place doesn’t seem like such a big deal after all.
As Customer Service professionals, your goal is to bring that feeling of delight to each and every customer interaction. But what makes a great customer service email response?
We’re breaking down five main pillars that make up a great customer service email to understand what makes it so impactful, with tips for how to incorporate these best practices into your own team’s responses.
Anatomy of a Great Customer Service Email
1. Use personalization
This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering. No customer wants to feel like just another ticket in the queue. Making sure you address them by name and specifically re-iterate the issue they’re having shows that you’re taking the time to really understand their issue.
When possible, refer to the customer by name, and reiterate their concerns back to them. This is a great way to show customers that your focus is on them and solving their problems, whatever they may be.
2. Understand their history with your brand
While it may not make it directly into your email, you need to understand the history this customer has with your brand. Are they a first-time customer, or someone who has been with your brand for a long time? These differences can be used to inform your email strategy, how you address their concern, and how you and your company follow up with them.
Dig into the backstory of your customer to help understand their point of view, and guide the conversation in a way that takes their history with your brand into consideration.
3. Own the mistake
As the Customer Service team, you and your agents represent your brand to your customers. This means that no matter what the issue is – whether it’s a damaged product, an incorrect billing statement, or a technical bug – it’s up to you to own responsibility on behalf of your company and make it right.
First and foremost – apologize. Acknowledge that the mistake or issue is having a negative impact on your customer’s experience with your brand, and promise to make it right however you can. Make sure your customer understands that your brand values them and will make amends to meet their expectations.
4. Provide actionable next steps
No one wants to email Customer Support with a pressing issue or concern, only to receive an email that doesn’t clearly outline what next steps need to be taken to have that issue resolved. Never assume (without asking, or unless they tell you) that the customer has already attempted some tried & true ways to solve the issue on their own. Instead, concretely outline what steps they need to take to limit back-and-forth communication, and help resolve their issue as efficiently and effectively as possible.
On the other hand, if it’s an issue they can’t solve on their own like getting a refund or cancelling an order, be sure to outline exactly what measures you’re taking to remedy the complaint. Let them know you’ve processed their cancellation request, if and when they can expect a confirmation email, and a timeframe for when they should be getting their payment refunded. By getting ahead of these concerns, you streamline customer communications and make their lives (as well as yours!) easier.
5. Empathize with your customer
Last, but certainly not least, it’s vital that in each interaction with customers, your agents meaningfully show empathy for your customers and their concerns. Like we mentioned before, no one wants to feel like just another support ticket; they want to know that the agent on the other end really cares about resolving their issue and making things right for them.
The biggest mistake a company can make is to make their customers feel undervalued. By placing an emphasis with your team and fellow agents on the importance of empathy, you can ensure that they’ll bring the necessary care, attention, and customer-first mindset to each Support inquiry.
How to Write a Great Customer Service Email
Customer Service is no easy industry to be in. You need to be on your A-game at all times, ready to tackle the most difficult customer concerns and challenges, all while maintaining empathy and professionalism. Not to mention being responsible for solidifying a positive image for your brand in the minds of your customers. Talk about multi-tasking.
With so many different aspects of the interaction to juggle, nailing down the right tone of an email might not be at the top of your agents’ lists. But with the pillars outlined above in place, you can ensure that your agents have a framework in place for how to positively handle any email inquiry they come across.
Arm your agents with a plan for tackling any customer interaction with our 10 Customer Service Email Templates Every Agent Needs.