The Worst Customer Service Email Subject Lines, Ever!


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Email is a critical part of customer service today. Writing effective emails will ensure that your customers quickly identify the purpose of the message and act on your call to action. 

If you’re like me, you receive hundreds of emails every day. Why do some messages get our attention while others cause us to gloss over and automatically hit the delete button? 

If you want customer engagement when it comes to your message, you have to get your interaction started right.

The team at Vertical Response compiled a fantastic list of worst email subject lines we’ve all been victims of receiving. A great email subject is key to getting the email customer experience right.

Here are a few highlights on the worse offenders.


It’s tempting to write a word (or worse, many) in all caps to emphasize importance, however, it also comes off as if you’re SCREAMING! And, that’s the last thing you want to do to a current or potential customer.

To highlight something, consider using (one) exclamation point or words/phrases like “New, Last Day, Don’t Miss Out,” to create a sense of urgency or excitement. Your copywriting skills should display the importance you want to relay, not caps lock. The same goes for wAckY CApS – Don’t go CRazAY.

Zzzz… The Generic Snore i.e. “[Your Company Name Here] Weekly Newsletter”

Telling your recipients what they can expect from your email will go the distance. Your email subscribers already have loaded inboxes, so give ‘em the goods right away and tell them what’s inside.

Generic subject lines like, “Weekly Newsletter,” “Monthly Wrap up,” “Daily News,” aren’t enticing or descriptive and they’re a snore. When sending an email newsletter, highlight your two most interesting topics in the subject line and your third in the pre-header.

The Deceiving Sneakster i.e. “Get 75% off the whole store… just kidding!”

Deceiving anyone doesn’t bode well in the long run, ever. Plus, when it comes to your subject line, lying or including misleading information is actually illegal! Yup, you read that correctly.

Meet: CAN-SPAM – An act that states an email’s subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. If people are subscribed to your emails, legally, they want to hear what you have to say, so give it to them straight.

The Grammar/Spelling Mistake Sore Eye

Everyone makes mistakes, so everyone also deserves a “Get out of jail free” card when it comes to a grammar or spelling mistake, but it shouldn’t become a common occurrence.

Make sure to use spell check, have at least one other person proof your subject line (and the rest of your email), and when in doubt, refer to some of our favorites: The AP Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, and Grammar Girl.

The Novel

Don’t give everything away in your subject line, that’s your email’s purpose. To find out what your audience really likes subject line-wise, you have to test it, however, the majority of the time, less is more.

Keeping the subject line short and to the point will entice your recipient to open and to read on.

The One Word Spam Alert i.e. “Hi”

If you’re trying to catch a recipient’s attention by being mysterious, do so by asking a question: “…they generate 92% higher comment rates than non-question posts,” on social media according to Buddy Media.

Try it in your subject lines, too. Including just one word in your subject line screams “spam alert!”

The False Alarm i.e.”URGENT!”

As our Public Relations Manager, Connie eloquently put, “Unless you’re only sending to one person, it’s not ‘exclusive.’ Same goes for “breakthrough,” “pioneering,” “revolutionary” and all those other fluffy adjectives…” Granted, she’s speaking about press releases, but the same goes for your subject lines.

If something isn’t really “urgent” or “breaking news,” exaggerating could let readers down. Plus, many people don’t open their email until days after it’s been received, so the sense of urgency may be lost.

Any others that we’ve left out? What’s the absolute worst emails that you’ve received?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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