Tips for good customer service emails

customer service and marketing

Sometimes there’s no right or wrong way of doing things. We do it like we know. But in business it is different, there are better ways of being less annoying for your customers. I will share with you a bad experience that I had with a customer service and how can you do better.

I have spent the last couple of days trying to make a big order in a wholesale store. I read the whole help page and FAQ before trying to make the order, but after reading it all, I still had a few questions. I was thinking in ordering a bunch of items and after that I have to ship everything overseas, so I thought better ask first before regretting it afterwards. I ended up emailing customer services and wait for the answers.

Write short emails but answer all the questions

Couple of hours later I got the answer for the first question. For some reason they answered the first question only. I emailed back for the rest of the questions. Couple of hours later I got an answer to the second question. After 3 emails and a lot of waiting I finally got the answer to all my questions (Yes, I know I should have called).

Now I ask myself: Why the hell didn’t they answer all the questions right away?

All the questions were short and their answers even shorter. I only asked for confirmation about free shipping, coupons and the weight of the boxes since after I received the items, I would still have to ship them overseas.

It isn’t the first time that I see this behavior in the customer services. I don’t know if they get paid by how many emails they send every day but it is seriously annoying and frustrating for somebody that wants to get quick answers for quick questions.

I am a supporter of short emails. Normally I try to write a couple of paragraphs and list items with bullet points, but the large companies waste more text with their typical BS.

Try to read the whole email and answer short, but try answering all the questions.

Cut the crap out of the emails

For example:

My Email reads as follows:

I want to know what size would be the larger box that you will be shipping. Also, how many items fit in this box and finally please let me know the final costs including the discount and the shipping offer.

Answer

Thank you for contacting our customer support, we are thrilled to be helping you with all what you need.

To answer your questions:  ‘Maybe’.

Thank you for contacting our customer support, I hope that I answered your question. I’ll be sending you a survey that will help my manager to know how well I performed, so please, if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate in contacting us. Our customer support is 24/7 and I swear I’ll answer your next question using two words.

Well their answer was longer than a ‘maybe’ but it was not that far from reality and that last part was me joking, but the rest of the email was true.

My take on this:

  • First, write complete answers and go directly to the point.
  • Second, of course you are thrilled, you are about to make a big sale, why mention it in the email? This long pre-formatted emails are just a waste of time for the customer.
  • Third, read the email completely, if you didn’t answer all the questions, why you should hope so?
  • Four, why annoying  all your clients with surveys? I know getting feedback is important, but try only sometimes, not all the time, it is just annoying.

I read once this quote by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, “Great Product, Great Service, or Low Prices. (Choose and focus on 2 of the 3).”

Since I read it, it got stuck in my head. My preference goes to a great product, but most importantly a great service. It is the first thing I would complain about in a company. I think great customer service is a great weapon in your marketing arsenal.

From those three, what are your picks? What about you, do you have any other tips for customer service emails?

Picture by Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

5 responses to “Tips for good customer service emails”

  1. Ky Ekinci says:

    Excellent post. I’m a big fan of answering the “why”s though: i.e. “the answer is maybe, because …………”

  2. I have had many similar experiences. To me, it seems that many companies want to be fast (answer the emails as fast as possible) and that this might be how the employees are measured, and not the quality of their response?

    I “hate” pre-written messages. I want every single email to be personal, and to fit my questions… not the questions all the other people are asking. That’s why Zappos are great. They understand how important being personal is.

    By the way, very interesting article.

    • Ric Nunez says:

      Thanks Jens, really appreciated. Unfortunately yes. As as consequence companies get bad reviews and is too late. They start to lose money until they can fix the damage which doesn’t happen or may take many years. Zappos is the best example of a great customer service. Thanks for the comment.

      • I’m actually going to be speaking about customer service this thursday. And I’m looking for the elements of good customer service. Please let me know if you have some thoughts about it 🙂

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