The importance of customer service is growing as is the amount of online customer service happening over email. Email communication makes it harder to delivery an excellent customer service experience simply because the customer can easily misinterpret even the best intentions. If you follow these 6 guidelines, you can better communicate with customers through email and clearly deliver excellent customer service.
1. Answer the Email as Soon as Possible
Many efficiency and productivity rules dictate that you should not be sitting in front of your email ready to open and answer questions that come in right away. If answering email isn’t your only job, then this makes perfect sense; however you still should check customer service emails several times a day.
If you do not have an answer to their question yet because you need to check with another department for the answer, reply to let the customer know this. A fast answer at least letting a customer know that you are looking into their question will go a long way towards customer satisfaction.
Answering email quickly can prevent a problem from escalating and can also save time if that person decides they don’t want to wait for a reply and they call; now two employees will be working on the same problem. If you do not answer emails regularly, an automated response can be used to let them know that the email was received and when they can expect a human to answer their question.
If you do not answer emails over the weekend or a holiday, the auto responder should notify the customers of this delay so that they do not have the wrong expectation.
2. Be Thorough
Do not make the mistake of thinking that email customer service can just be a quick answer. This is a key point since customers cannot hear your tone and can often misinterpret brevity with rudeness, even if that is not what you meant. Being thorough means always including a friendly greeting that incorporates the customer’s name.
Always include a closing with contact information. Any products, services, or polities you refer to should be listed and linked to in the email. Take the time to explain things that you might not normally explain in an email, this can be your policy, the reason for the policy, or your reason for the answer you are giving.
3. Be Friendly but Not Chatty
It is perfectly find to be personable and even personal in an email. However, do not use familiar terms and never use improper grammar or chat-like abbreviations.
4. Go out of Your Way to Stand Out
Choose a personable greeting and closing that is different from the ones that everyone uses. Include a note in every email letting the customer know that if they didn’t understand or need clarification on anything you have written that they should not hesitate to ask for clarification or a phone call.
5. Include Answers to the Next Possible Questions
When you are replying to a customer via email, try to anticipate and answer the next question or questions that the customer might have. This eliminates the back and forth, saves time, and adds efficiency to your task. It also greatly improves the level of customer satisfaction.
Examples of this might be including international shipping information for an international customer, or just regular shipping times for domestic customers. You might include sizing or color information; or it might be including alternate replacement items for something that is out of stock. As a general rule, links to your company’s answers to frequently asked questions page should be included in the email to try and also help predict and answer questions that the customer might have next.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Pick-up the Phone
Last, but not least, if you have to go back and forth emailing with a customer, just pick up the phone and call them! It will save you both time and will make the customer much happier that you care enough to solve their problem or answer their question in a more personable way.