Customer service depends much less on face-to-face interaction than it did in years past. Surprisingly, email has changed the dynamic considerably. While some branding experts feel that email is too impersonal to engage with customers, many companies have discovered that it can be an excellent way to respond to customer inquiries in assuage their concerns.
Timex is one of the companies that has received tremendous appreciation for its well-executed customer service email approach. After a customer’s watch was destroyed in a hit and run accident, he reached out to Timex for repair estimates. A customer service representative immediately responded over email and said that they would fix his watch for free.
Other companies have started using email to handle their customer service as well. It is actually a good system, because many customers feel more comfortable sending emails instead of making phone calls.
However, there are also risks associated with using email systems for customer service. You need to put in extra effort to appear authentic while engaging with customers through this medium. This is certainly possible when you use pre-written templates, but it can be difficult.
First of all, make sure that you use the right system. According to one poll, 58% of companies feel that boosting engagement is their top priority. However, they should make sure they don’t overlook customer service. It is possible to engage customers without addressing their most pressing concerns.
You need to pay attention to these mistakes when using email templates for your customer service best practices.
Relying on a copy and paste approach
Most customer service emails use tokens as placeholders. This isn’t necessarily bad, unless your customer service team is too negligent to update them.
Believe it or not, this risk is much higher than you would think. In fact, it has happened on horrific scales before. United Airlines is one of the companies that made such a colossal blunder. Here is an excerpt from a scandal when they tried using email to respond to a customer complaint.
“Our goal is to provide a consistently reliable product and an exemplary level of customer service. Based on the events you describe, we did not meet this goal. Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees.
To encourage you to fly with us again and as a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, enclosed is (SPECIFIC ITEM).”
How would you feel receiving an email like this? If you were already upset, this would probably push you over the edge.
Not creating a unique template for every large incident
If you want your customer service emails to seem genuine, you need to make sure that they are centered around every individual customer’s specific concerns. You may be able to get away with using boiler plate email templates for routine concerns, such as a delayed delivery or mundane technical issue. However, some problems warrant a much more specific response.
You can’t afford to use a standard template when addressing a major fiasco like a data breach or recall notice. Take the time to create a specific template around these issues.
Neglecting to personalize the email based on customer feedback
Last month, a customer service manager in Texas received a very angry call from a customer. The customer service department had sent out an email apologizing to the customer for a couple of technical issues with their product. The letter spelled out the steps the company was going to take to deal with the issue.
The problem is that the email template presumed the customer had a different problem. The steps the company was pledging to take were not even applicable in this situation.
You need to pay close attention to customer feedback. Incorporate it into any email that you send to them.
Remember, you are trying to address a real person‘s frustrations or concerns. A template email may be a good start, but it needs to be revised if it doesn’t address their actual concerns.
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