Best Practices for Email Customer Service


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Email is often the pre­ferred ser­vice and sup­port chan­nel for cus­tomers. There are two things cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives should do to guar­an­tee world-class email cus­tomer ser­vice.

1. Ques­tion Strate­gi­cally. Strate­gic ques­tion­ing is the skill of inten­tion­ally using open and closed ques­tions to reach a spe­cific out­come. When employ­ees ques­tion strate­gi­cally, email com­mu­ni­ca­tion with cus­tomers will be more effi­cient, and more ben­e­fi­cial to both the cus­tomer and the com­pany. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives skilled at strate­gic ques­tion­ing are bet­ter able to iso­late and resolve cus­tomer issues, which will reduce res­o­lu­tion time and increase cus­tomer satisfaction.

Open ques­tions are designed to encour­age the caller to speak freely and are use­ful when the cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive needs to gather gen­eral infor­ma­tion. Here is an exam­ple of an open ques­tion: “How did you dis­cover the problem?”

Closed ques­tions are use­ful when a spe­cific piece of infor­ma­tion is needed to con­tinue, or a sim­ple yes or no answer is desired. Here is an exam­ple of a closed ques­tion: “Can I please get your ship­ping address?”

Face-to-face and tele­phone cus­tomer inter­ac­tions nat­u­rally lend them­selves to the use of open and closed ques­tions. When com­mu­ni­cat­ing via email, it is best prac­tice to group ques­tions into one email mes­sage to make the dia­logue more suc­cinct and time effi­cient for all parties.

When email cus­tomer ser­vice com­mu­ni­ca­tions are not log­i­cal, and only one or two ques­tions are asked per mes­sage, the email thread will quickly become lengthy, which leaves room for error. When the num­ber of emails increases the time to res­o­lu­tion will also increase. Cus­tomer ser­vice employ­ees skilled at strate­gic ques­tion­ing are not only able to bet­ter serve cus­tomers, they are also able to serve more customers.

2. Show Value. Along with ask­ing the right ques­tions it is also impor­tant to show cus­tomers the value in sup­ply­ing the needed infor­ma­tion. Show­ing value means let­ting cus­tomers know how they will ben­e­fit from doing what is asked.

Here is an exam­ple of show­ing value to a cus­tomer: “To guar­an­tee that I give you the cor­rect infor­ma­tion, I need to know the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of your data stor­age system.”

Cus­tomers are some­times reluc­tant to share infor­ma­tion, even if it is not per­sonal. Show­ing value encour­ages cus­tomers to answer ques­tions hon­estly and completely.

To keep email cus­tomer ser­vice stream­lined at your com­pany, be sure to keep these two best prac­tices in mind.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rachel Miller
Rachel Miller is the Customer Engagement Manager at Nimble - a simple, affordable social relationship manager.


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