There are not many things more important than great customer service that is versatile enough to be delivered through multiple channels, such as customer service emails, customer service or courtesy calls, and so on.
Good customer service can retain customers and increase their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). This is because customer service, when done correctly, encourages trust and loyalty between the brand and the customer.
Since customer acquisition is expensive, marketers are constantly looking for tools that help brands build relationships with their leads, prospects, and ex-customers. This is why strategies like digital marketing or email marketing are used to boost customer relations.
Email marketing specifically helps brands start a dialogue with prospects. Since emails remain in their inbox long after it’s been opened, prospects can make use of the information whenever it’s convenient.
But this is not the only reason why email marketing is important when talking about customer service. Incorporating email marketing into your customer service efforts comes with numerous benefits:
- There is little to no room for misunderstandings, as there is a written record of your exchange with the customer.
- Either party can go back to the beginning of the conversation and see exactly what has been said.
- The exchange is private, unlike customer service calls that could be recorded.
- Email marketing is a great way to gather feedback and keep in touch, proving that you’re a brand that cares about its customers.
Despite all of these benefits of email marketing in customer service, some companies insist on not using it for this purpose or, even worse, using it wrong.
What is a customer service email?
Before we begin, let us define what a customer service email really is. Customer service emails are email communication between a customer and a company representative (usually a member of the customer support team).
Customer service emails are responses to a question, a feedback or a complaint a customer reports to your team.
Customer service emails include:
- The request from your customer: automated responses
- Post interaction between customer and employee:
- transcripts of the conversation with the customer
- customer satisfaction survey emails
Automated customer service emails and canned responses
Automated emails and canned responses save the customer service team some time and allow employees to invest their effort in something more substantial. A canned response may include anything from a “Hello and welcome” to a reminder of your eCommerce store’s return policy.
Therefore, it has all the potential to sound extremely impersonal and, in some cases, distant. But only if you do it wrong.
Nobody wants to see a generic automated email that says “Your ticket number is X”. This won’t help you build a close relationship between your audience and your brand. However, canned responses are necessary and need to be efficient and reassure your customer that their request has been received and is being treated.
Autoresponder customer service emails usually look like this:
Simple HTML text emails that look highly automated and efficiently acknowledge receipt of the customer’s question/request.
However, if you want to add more personality and pizazz to you emails, you can send HTML customer service emails like this one:
This customer service email template looks clean, professional and engaging. Although customer’s will definitely realize that this email is automated, they will more likely appreciate the elegance of the email and how clear it is.
The customer service email reassures customers that their request has been received, but also provides them with more options while they wait:
- they can either check the different support options available to them
- or try the brands latest product update
What is an autoresponder?
An autoresponder is an email or an email series that are automated and ready to be sent out after a specific trigger. Think of a welcome email series, or an onboarding sequence, for example.
These workflows are created by marketers using email autoresponder tools. These software are usually integrated with major email design and marketing automation platforms.
Since an autoresponder is a type of software created to “react” to a certain customer action, it’s bound to get high engagement rates. It’s almost expected by the user:
To use autoresponders and canned responses wisely, you will need to pinpoint the most repeated actions that warrant such emails. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and resources.
Post interaction customer service emails
Transcript emails are emails that are sent automatically once the customer support tickets has been closed. They contain a word-for-word transcript of the conversation that took place between the customer and the support agent, detailed with time stamps and the request number.
Your customers can always go back to these transcript emails and find the answer to their questions. This helps lighten the load from the support team.
Automated sequences and customer satisfaction
A great way to measure customer satisfaction is to send a survey every time you interact with a customer.
How was your chat with Larry?
Just assuming that everything went smoothly with your customer service efforts will not provide you with an objective assessment of your processes and consequently, won’t help you improve these processes or achieve positive ROI for your email marketing efforts.
Customer feedback will help you learn from your mistakes as well objectively rate employee performance.
Dropbox Support: tell us how we did
Customer service email basics
Some elements are imperative if you want to craft the perfect customer service email. Apart from the general best practices of using timely and relevant content and tracking your metrics or always giving the number to your contact or call center, there are some other things in your checklist.
Be human, even in automated emails
Imagine getting a faceless, automated email with a simple “Hi Jane Doe”, and then a generic answer. Would that make you feel valued? Would this make you feel secure in knowing that your problem can be solved?
I’m pretty sure the answer to that would be no.
A customer service email needs to be personal. It needs to feel like a conversation rid of inefficient formalities or an interaction similar to engaging in conversation via live chat or under a social media post.
Therefore, you need to make sure you follow these rules:
- Never forget the customer’s name. This would be bad form, really. It may seem like nothing to a customer service agent, but the customers themselves could feel like they’re not valued or appropriately acknowledged.
- Make sure to ease them into the instructions. Try to go through a step-by-step explanation of what your customers need to do. Use imperatives as little as possible.
- If your company uses chat bots and their trends in terms of software are something your brand loves, make sure to invest in an option that can keep the full history of your customer’s interactions. Always consult that when creating a customer service email. That way, your customers will know that you put in the effort.
- Always identify the point where your customer is when it comes to their customer journey. If they’re ready to make a purchase, make sure to put in the effort; if they’re preexisting customers, try and ask for a referral.
Solve their problem
After a positive customer experience, 70% would recommend the company to others and 50% would use the business more frequently.
I bet that a segment of your website is where FAQs and helpful videos can be found, and I’m sure you feel like this should be enough. However, you need to empathize with your customers – much like I empathize with you right now.
When a customer needs something, they need to know where to find it. Customer service emails need to contain a solution, not just point to where the answer is. That is bad customer service and makes it look like you’re not there to help at all. Not to mention all of the referral and affiliate program opportunities you can lose simply by not being clear and helpful.
So, here’s what you could do:
- Always respond in a timely manner. If your customer contacts you and they’re adamant about having something resolved straight away, do your best not to keep them waiting.
- Be analytical and provide resources. Pretty self-explanatory. After providing the solution, make sure to allow your prospects to further their knowledge of your product by giving them links to your knowledge base.
- Be clear in your interactions. Let them know exactly when and how their problem is going to be resolved. “As soon as possible” is not something that eases a prospect’s mind – on the contrary, it makes it look like you’re not sure what you’re doing. Be thorough and as analytical and specific as possible.
- Keep it simple. Remember, you’re the one who knows how to get technical, not your customers. Use simple words and phrases and be honest when it comes to damages and time frames.
When a customer has a question, no matter how simple or easy to resolve, do your best to answer it and then point them to the right resource. They’re reaching out because they need their problem answered by one of the company’s services: The customer service team.
Make sure your automated HTML emails won’t break
If you choose to use HTML email templates for your customer support email campaigns, you need to make sure that they won’t break. Emails break when they are poorly coded, and don’t take into account the different requirements set up by email clients.
👉 You can learn more about email rendering issues and how to solve them in our dedicated blog post.
To create perfect code HTML emails you have three options:
- Hire an email developer
- Work with an email marketing agency
- Use a drag and drop no-code email builder
The first two options are valid but not time or cost efficient. If you seek high-quality results with complete independence for your email marketing team, you can try out our email builder.
Any team member can easily put together complex email layouts by dragging and dropping content blocks. Then the email generator produces high quality code that renders perfectly on all email clients.
Some may say that, in customer service, email marketing is less important than other actions – like live chat interaction or a call. However, email marketing keeps the dialogue going and turns customers into brand ambassadors that can generate more leads for you.
So, keep in mind the rules above. Be open, be accessible, always follow up, and don’t forget to write emails that are timely, relevant, and personal.