A single mishap can destroy a business relationship. Maybe you’ve used many marketing channels to establish, maintain, and nurture long-term relationships with customers and leads – almost on a one-to-one basis. But that single miscommunication can completely destroy your marketing efforts. How? It often happens when customer service emails are mishandled. Our latest infographic provides best practices for building your company’s reputation and demonstrating reliability even in crisis situations.
The rules for customer support communications are simple and self-evident: to retain customers and safeguard your organization’s reputation, make sure your customer service emails are professional, helpful and emphatic.
But when a complaint requires an immediate response, the rules often escape us. So here’s a helpful refresher.
- Respond quickly: For standard inquiries the response time should be within one business day. For urgent matters – respond immediately.
- Use plain, polite language: Avoid complicated language and elegant style. Be simple, polite, and genuinely interested in solving the problem.
- Use an informative subject line: Include any reference number connected to the inquiry, and mention the subject of the case.
- Start with a personal greeting: Show customers you care. Be attentive. Never address your customer as “Valued Customer”, “User” or “Friend”.
- Thank the customer for their message: It’s just a standard phrase, but it lets them know you’re glad they got in touch, even for negative feedback.
- Restate the problem: Make sure you understand exactly what the complaint is about.
- Empathize with the customer: This helps you connect with the customer individually and improves your brand image.
- Take responsibility: This builds brand credibility and a reputation for reliability. Never point out that the customer is to blame, even if it’s obvious.
- Give concise instructions: Explain exactly how they can help resolve the problem and close the case quickly and successfully.
- Set realistic expectations: Never estimate deadlines you won’t be able to meet.
- Consider appropriate compensation: Be fair and generous. It works like magic for your brand image.
- Provide contact information: In case they need more help, always include direct contact details and times you’re available.
- Close with a thank you: This simple practice works wonders, no matter what the problem is.
- Provide contact name: Always sign your personal name (not your team) and include your job title.
- Check spelling and grammar: Any small error can cost your company a customer — and cost you a career.
In addition to these tips, the infographic provides examples of the right way to handle customer responses.
It takes a little time to incorporate these guidelines in your customer support daily routines. And it takes a pinch of goodwill. But the investment is bound to pay back in countless ways.
What are your ideas and best practices for handling customer inquiries and complaints? Let us know in the comments below.