The Art Of Smiles

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This post was originally published on the internal Road To Awesome DMV.ORG visitor support blog.

You are running into issues with a newly purchased product and are frustrated. You visit the company website and they only offer email support. You cringe. You cry. You expect the worst. But, you are desperate and still send an email. Within 2 hours, you have a reply to your Inbox. The representative has worked their magic to turn your frown upside down. To bring sunshine to your rainy day. To make margaritas out of your lemons. You get the point!

Ideally, we wish every customer service email interaction was this good. We are all too familiar with scripted responses that offer no assistance. Just one negative email reply from a business can shift your entire view of the brand. And, when you tell your 10 friends about it, who then tell tell their 10 friends and so on, it can lead to what Joan Jett calls a “bad reputation”.



The art of sending smiles is a craft to be admired. It’s not abstract. Anyone can do it! So, brush your chompers and be ready to get your SMILE on!

I surveyed my DMV.ORG team to find out what they care about most when receiving email replies from companies. Combining their incredible responses into one sparkling three ingredient recipe, we can learn how to fine tune our email etiquette to external visitors as well as to one another. After all, customer service is as much external as it is internal with our team.

Taking Ownership

When we have a problem and contact a company for assistance, the last thing we want is to be a hot potato, tossed around from department to department. We slowly feel the anxiety slipping away when given reassurance from the customer service representative in their reply with, “I’m sorry this happened, I’m going to work with you to see this problem through to the end.” And, then the representative follows through. It takes a strong leader to empower their team of representatives with the tools they need to provide ownership to customer issues.

Proactive Listening

We want to be heard! The value in listening (or reading) every piece of the inquiry from the customer and then addressing them in the reply is one sure fire way to show care. This is also a proactive business tool for the customer service representative to resolve issues upon first contact. If they miss a piece of the issue the first time around, or send a canned response that lacks any attention to the actual problem, the customer returns in an even more disgruntled manner.

Personal Connection



Despite how angry we are about our issue, we know that the customer service representative answering our email is just another human being. When we receive a reply that is addressed to us by name,  includes a friendly tone, personal touches or even smiley faces, we then are able to make a connection. This also means to nix use of canned responses. While auto replies confirming that a message was received are gladly welcomed, when the final answer shoots through the interwebs to your email, you definitely do not want a bland, unhelpful, disconnected reply. After all, connection builds trust. The more we can trust a brand, the more we’ll be forever loyal customers.

So, the next time you write an email reply, what will you do differently?

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