Email Etiquette: How to Turn Email Into a Customer Service Tool


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Email has a convenience factor other forms of communication lack. Email can be sent at any time and responded to at any time. As a result, more and more people are using email to communicate with companies when they are in need of assistance.

If you want to offer your customers more ways to get in touch, you need to train your employees on email etiquette. If email is used in a sloppy manner, you could end up lowering your customers’ satisfaction.

You need to keep the following ideas in mind as you look into implementing email support, improving your email support, or training employees on how to successfully compose and respond to email inquiries.

Emails Are Permanent

When you are corresponding with a customer over email, you need to be careful to edit and review your work before you hit send. Once you hit that button, your email is permanent. If you send a rude, poorly written, or unprofessional email, you are not using good email etiquette. While a lot of emails don’t get a second look, it’s important to take the extra steps to make sure you are confident sending your email the way it is written.

Don’t Take it Personally

You’ll get complaints or angry customers over email just as you would in person. Sometimes the sting of a complaint in writing is a lot harder to take than if it had been in person. Respond in a professional tone just as you would in person. Your focus should be on building a good e-relationship. The training Getting to the Heart of Email CommunicationTM goes more in depth on this topic.

Spell Check Isn’t Enough

Spell check is such a nice and handy tool but it CANNOT be used as your sole edit or review process. Emails need to be reviewed by you and maybe someone else before it is sent, depending on the importance of the message. If you rely on spell check, I promise you will end up with embarrassing errors in your email.

Remember, every email you receive could be a potential customer, current customer, or past customer looking to get information from you. Avoid blunders and focus on making a positive impression through your words.

Time Is of the Essence

Timeliness matters. When a customer communicates with you over email, you need to respond in a timely manner. There’s nothing more annoying than sending an email to a company and never getting a response. That’s poor email etiquette! Inc Magazine agrees and offers other great tips for providing service over email.

Dedicate someone to monitor the email account during business hours. Even if you can’t fix your customer’s problem immediately, respond to your customer and let them know you are working on finding a solution to their problem. Now that’s email etiquette!

Try implementing these tips into your email support. Whether you’re training new employees or trying to improve your support, it’s important to be aware of email etiquette.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Sarah, thanks for sharing these valuable tips. To me the most important are the last two. Make sure they you respond quickly, within a 4 hour timeframe and if you can’t resolve the issue let the customer know that you need more time to look into their inquiry or complaint. Everyone always hates when they go to the doctor for a visit, they take tests and then you don’t hear anything back in a timely manner. You get nervous and upset. Interim communication puts the customer at ease and makes them feel that you are trying to help them even if you can’t completely resolve their issue or find an answer to their question. Richard Shapiro, The Center For Client Retention @richardRshapiro

  2. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your comment! I like your explanation and example of why timeliness matters. What would you say about responding to a customer’s question or concern over social media? Does the four hour time frame apply as well or would you say it requires a faster response time?

  3. Sarah, thanks for the reply and compliment. There are so many social media tools that can almost instantly monitor and communicate a social media post by a consumer. If someone is sitting at their computer, posts a comment and receives a response back within a half-hour, I know they are probably thinking…hey this company is really on the ball. Basically, the faster the better, coupled with a personalized and appropriate response. Rich

  4. You definitely practice what you preach! I’m impressed! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with response time.


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