Email communication with customers – The do’s and don’ts

While rumour has it that your email enthusiastic colleagues are a dying breed, it’s actually still one of the main communication channels of choice among customers. This may be due to a multiple reason, but a few being that their communication can be stated clearly and is logged for future reference. Because let’s be honest, ever wondered where your question ends up if you’re chatting to a bot that doesn’t understand your question? Or where it ends up if the company in question has a self-service system put in place that doesn’t include your complicated question? No one really knows and this is when a customer usually will move on to emailing you instead.

Unless your company has a truly intricate system that doesn’t let anyone fall between the cracks, allowing e-mail contact it’s still a great option to retain for your customers. Also, e-mails don’t necessarily have to be completely aimed for troubleshooting your customers concerns, you can always use it for e-mail marketing through special offers, newsletters, and welcome emails. You catch the drift.

But let’s get back on track on managing your customer communication through emails, and let’s dig into some do’s and don’ts.

Tone

So, let’s imagine a customer just emailed you. No matter their purpose or concern, you’ll want to establish an amiable and approachable tone immediately. Regardless of the matter or what their concern is, you want to make sure you’re actively listening, interested in what they have to say, and ready to act.

But just like any interaction, you have to adapt to the situation just as you would in real life. For example, if your boss tells you that you’ve ordered the wrong posters for half the year’s marketing budget, you probably shouldn’t smile. But if your boss shows their appreciation for your work, you’ll probably want to smile back at them. But remember that emails on the other hand lack any form of facial expressions and vocal cues that would naturally set the tone. Hence why it’s important to establish this in the first instance while answering an email from your customer. Here it’s important to match the situation and use descriptive language to make up for your infectious smile.

So, let’s imagine a scenario;

A customer writes a positive review;

Hi, it’s great to hear your feedback and we really appreciate that you took the time to write to us.

A customer writes a negative review;

Hi, we’re sorry to hear about your situation and that you’re not pleased with the service. We would like to help you resolve this issue and will also make sure to make a note of it for future reference.

A new customer just bought a product from you;

Hi! We’re really excited you decided to purchase your first product from us. If you have any thoughts about it, we’d love to find out!

Email Signature

It’s usually a given, but if you didn’t know, your email signature says a lot about you and. It should also convey all the necessary deets about you. But how much is of course completely up to you. For one, you might want to let customers know how you can be reached by phone. And if so, you might want to include available hours. You basically want to communicate the necessary information you want your customers to know about yourself, your employees and how you can be reached.

However, don’t include contact information for channels you’re not active in. If you per se don’t answer your phone on a regular basis, this is not the time nor the place to say that. In addition, even though you designed the fanciest signature in the game, don’t rely on images to convey important information. Just in case you’re sending it to someone that against all odds has a provider that doesn’t support images.

Subject

If you’re currently using a self-service system or similar, your software might have already automated the subject of the email. Or maybe the customer or you chose the subject. Either way, ensure your subject line is clear and concise in resonance with the topic. If the concern is about a specific project, you might want to include the name of the product and its product number in the subject. As long as the email is searchable for reference, you’re all good. However, this is not your box to show your witty humor. You can be friendly but avoid any personal and unclear information in the subject line. After all, you’re answering to take care of serious business, right?

CC

We all know people that just love the CC function, but I don’t blame them. It’s a direct way of notifying other of a situation, and it saves time rather than forcing a customer to re-explain their issue to another colleague. However, you should avoid putting too many people from your business in the loop, especially when customers are not hearing what they want to hear. So always loop in the appropriate people when it’s required, but don’t allow multiple people from your organization to offer conflicting input.

What do our colleagues say about email communication?

Adam Olofsson – Support: “Try to see what the customer is looking for in the end and then ask all the necessary questions directly in the first response email, also note to the customer that you must get answers to all questions you ask. This way you avoid many emails and you get correct information faster for to be able to solve it immediately. “

Elin Gunnarsson – Marketing: “The best thing is to keep it short and concise. It is better to stick to a clear bullet point list instead of too long emails that explain everything in detail. If you have a lot of info to communicate, the email should serve as a summary, and the details can be discussed in a phone call or short meeting.

However, avoid going completely crazy with smileys and exclamation points. I’m a proponent of smileys and stuff, but it’s important not to go overboard or for example put four exclamation marks in a row, many people will translate it as angry. Also avoid cc:ing lot of people who do not need the information. There will be an abundance of information in many people’s inboxes when they receive emails that they do not really need. So add people sparingly.”

David Bruun – Support: “Don’t be hesitant in what you say. We are usually the experts in the conversation and you can not always do exactly what the customer wants. Say it as it is to the customer and respond to their wishes with alternatives or suggestions on how to do something better. Also, if you give the impression early in the conversation that you know what you are talking about, the end result is often not only better but the customer also gets a better experience from the situation.”

 

By Sofia Svantesson
Brand Marketing Manager
Unified business communication and collaboration is key to streamline workflow.

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