Delivering superior email customer service

Emily  |
When it comes to customer service, every consumer has a set of expectations. Usually those expectations are met, leaving the consumer to continue his day with very little reaction on or afterthought to his buying experience. Unless his experience far exceeds expectations! Here’s a bunch of tips to achieve this through email, a passive medium that has, however, great potential to delight customers. Customer service tip 1. "I heard you!”

If customers have an issue or an inquiry, acknowledge that you understand what they’re saying, and that you’re working on whatever it is that’s bothering them. It’s important for your customers to know that they’ve been heard. Customer service tip 2. "I’m here for you.”

Whether your customers knock on your door with a complaint or just a regular enquiry, put yourself in their shoes: display empathy. Use phrases such as “I can relate” and “I want to help you out”. Sounds logical, but in the swing of things, empathy is often forgotten. Customer service tip 3. "So what do you think of our new website?”

A customer reaching out creates a great opportunity to sell an experience, not just resolve the issue at hand in the fastest possible time. Dig a little deeper: find out if there are any other problems they’d like you to resolve. You may want to suggest alternatives they might prefer more, offer other methods to compensate them, or fix an issue or an information gap which will enable you to help more customers in the future. Customer service tip 4. “I’m afraid I just don’t know - but I will.”

If you don’t have the answer, admit it to your customers. Never provide best-guess responses that will only frustrate them more if it turns out to be wrong. “Unfortunately, I don’t know about that right now - but I am consulting with my colleagues to provide you with the right response by tomorrow morning.” If the answer requires action on your part, let them know exactly what you are doing to resolve their issue and in what timeframe. Set reasonable expectations. The problem will only get bigger if you fail to deliver in the timeframe you set out. Customer service tip 5. "So how about this?”

Sure, you can answer some questions in a half a minute, but go that extra mile and offer helpful tips and suggestions. Maybe it’s a related product they would be interested in, a newsletter they could sign up for, some information about how to earn reward points - anything that will improve your customers’ overall experience.