Small Business Customer Service Advice
Effective Email Customer Service
Written by Rayzelle Forrest Young for Gaebler Ventures
Advice on how to run an effective email customer service program. Emphasizes the importance of using a personal and conversational tone to make the customer feel important.
Customer service is a vital part of running your business and can determine whether a customer keeps doing business with you or moves on to another company.
Long gone are the days when customers have to wait for business hours to address companies with any questions or concerns they may have. The use of email has made it possible for customers to communicate with companies by way of the internet whenever they want. Since you can't hear voices when using email, effective email customer service will take using certain techniques to help your customer feel like they're getting just as good of service as if it were in person or over the phone.
Use Customer Name
Address the customer by name when responding to an email inquiry. The standard use to be that you would address a customer by their last name using "Mr." or " Mrs." in front of it. Customer service etiquette has changed and it's now okay to use a person's first name when addressing them. Doing this gives the response a less formal and more personal tone. This is important if you plan to have an effective email customer service program.
Start With "Thank You"
Start your response by thanking the customer for choosing to do business with you. Always let them know that their business is appreciated and that you will do all you can to answer their questions and address their concerns. At the end of your email be sure to wish them a great rest of the day.
Use Conversational Tone
Don't use words that are too formal or technical. Try to stick with words that are easy to understand in order to avoid confusing the customer. In addition your explanations and answers should be concise and to the point. Customers shouldn't have to fumble through a lot of industry jargon and long sentences in order to get to the answer they were looking for.
Respond to email customer inquiries yourself. Do not use an auto responder to handle this part of your business. Customers will know from the language that is used in the email whether or not it's from a person or a machine. Using an auto responder sends the message that all customers are the same and that you don't have time to address your customer's individual needs and concerns.
Go over your response before you send it back. Make sure you have answered the question or addressed the concerns of the customer as thoroughly as you possibly can without using excess or unnecessary information. You want to make sure you're actually giving the customer what they asked for.
In addition, If your response is going to take longer than usual, be sure to notify your customer. Let them know that you are still working on resolving their issue and that you will get back to them as quickly as you can. Give an approximate date they can expect to hear from you with a resolution.
Effective email customer service will depend largely on how much you can make the customer feel important and that their needs are being tended to. Be concise in your responses and use language that is easy to understand. If your response will take longer than it should, inform your customer that you are doing all you can to get the situation resolved quickly. Using these tips and techniques should make for a successful online customer service program.
Rayzelle is an entrepreneur and writer. Based on her experiences as an owner of her own dance studio, she will share her personal tips on being a successful entrepreneur.
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