Email remains an essential communication tool in our professional lives, no matter how many new channels have cropped up in our digital age. Despite the growing popularity of social media and other channels known for quick communication, email customer service remains in great demand. However, statistics show that timeliness and quality tend to suffer. A Forrester Research study found that 41% of customers expect an email response within 6 hours, but only 36% of retail brands actually responded that quickly. Furthermore, a Benchmark Portal Study found that 83% of small and medium-sized businesses responded to customers with incomplete or inaccurate answers. How can your brand conquer these challenges and deliver optimum email customer service? Here are six tips to consider.
Respond quickly. Social media might move faster than email, but customers should never be ignored on this channel. Aim to respond within 24 hours of receiving a customer service email. For urgent communication, respond as soon as possible to show customers you are dedicated to finding a solution.
Treat email responses like business correspondence. Email communication differs from other channels in that it demands essential letter-writing skills. Customer service agents should begin every email with a personalized greeting, focus on summarizing and solving the problem in the email body, and close with a thank you. Using template email responses is ideal for communicating information clearly and consistently across a brand that agents can later adapt to their specific cases.
Use clear language. While a formal structure is important, clear and simple language count as well. Avoid using technical terms and make the email concise and coherent while addressing the customer’s issue directly. Lastly, check for correct spelling and grammar to avoid looking unprofessional or giving false information.
Make it personalized. Customers seek the personal touch and want to be identified as people, not just consumers. Always address the customer by name, show empathy for his problem, and reassure him by providing a detailed solution that shows attentiveness to the specific situation and references to the customer’s purchase history.
Be comprehensive and accessible. Think of this point as first call resolution on email. Customers are not interested in a long, ongoing email exchange and want timely answers. Provide relevant information such as a case reference number (also in the subject line), delivery dates with tracking information, and the name of the agent handling the case. Always give the customer the option of responding directly to the agent with a direct email address or phone extension. In addition, emails may include other brand contact information such as social media buttons or toll-free phone numbers in case the customer wishes to use another channel at another time. By being as comprehensive as possible, the quality of your email customer service will improve with faster case resolution.
Simplify the process. Giving customers clear email contact forms can be highly effective for great email customer service. Forms should ask for complete customer contact information, provide boxes to check for the product or service for which service is requested, and include a free-response section for any questions or comments. Emails may later be classified by topic, allowing your brand to update FAQs and train agents for improved service.
Email customer service demands attention to detail and a comprehensive approach to solving issues the first time around. With a consistent, thorough, and timely approach to email customer service, your customers will appreciate this channel more than ever as a meaningful point of contact for great service. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering exceptional customer service.