6 Email Etiquette Tips for Customer Service Teams
As customer service teams communicate with customers, it's important to be aware of these 6 email etiquette tips.
Email can be a great tool for customer service. It allows you to keep a digital record of your communication, keep track of details, or give a quick status update. And during a global pandemic, when customers are especially interested in a contactless experience, email is a perfect tool for staying in touch.
If email is part of your customer service strategy, or if you plan to harness it more frequently now to meet the needs of customers, it’s important to make sure you’re using the tool correctly. Consider these six tips for keeping your emails polished and professional while meeting your bottom-line goals of growing your business and keeping customers satisfied.
1. Use a Clear Subject Line
Customers and prospective customers may not open an email from an unknown person unless it’s clear that the email pertains to an order they placed or information from a company with which they do business. For that reason, it’s important to make sure they can tell upfront exactly what the email is concerning.
Try to use words like “Your Order,” “Your Refund,” “Your Loyalty Points,” or the name of your business in the subject line. Also, make sure the sender field includes the name of your business rather than the name of a specific employee. If the recipient realizes right away the email is from your business, they are less likely to hit “delete.”
2. Provide Context
Even if your email is in response to a long string of emails, write each one so that it can stand alone, providing background or context so that your reader won’t have to read back through the email string to figure out what you’re talking about.
That means be sure to reference any order numbers or other details in each email. Rather than sending a one-line response to a customer’s question, include some background that details what you’re talking about and referring to any previous conversations or back-and-forth you’ve had with the customer.
3. Always Include Your Signature Block
Even if you feel like your customers are personal friends, always assume the recipient of your email is very busy and unable to keep up with who you are, the company you’re with, and how to reach you. Rather than making them dig to find your phone number or the correct spelling of your name, include your signature with contact information at the end of every message.
Even if your email is the 10th in a long string of emails, it could become separated from the rest of the email string and the recipient may not know how to reach you. Think about it: Your recipient may decide to print one of your emails, and if that message doesn’t have your contact information on it, they can’t readily respond.
4. Keep It Professional
When you compose an email message, focus on stating the information you need to convey clearly, politely and concisely. Even though your customer or potential customer may be delighted to hear from you, most people have many emails to weed through and will skim or skip lengthy missives.
Also, resist the temptation to use lots of exclamation points in your message. The desire to convey excitement and passion is understandable, but that comes across more authentically in person. Using multiple exclamation points in a written message can appear informal. And finally, avoid trying to use humor, as it often doesn’t translate well in email. Instead, save your winning personality for in-person or phone conversations with your customers, and use email like a traditional business letter—clear and to the point.
5. Keep Emotions in Check
When a customer has been rude or difficult, it’s human nature to want to respond in kind. However, firing off an angry email is likely to be counterproductive. No customer will be impressed by receiving a rude or angry email from your business, even if it’s deserved. Even worse, a customer on the receiving end of your angry email will likely share their displeasure with everyone they know.
If you’re tempted to fire off a less-than-polite email to your customer, take a deep breath and count to 10 (or 100, if necessary). It’s always worth it to keep your cool and always respond in a way that will represent the company’s values.
6. Remember, Email Is Forever
An email is a permanent record. Anything you write in an email can be shared or circulated on social media. Every time you send an email to a customer, keep that in mind.
When you and your employees remain calm and professional, email can be a fabulous tool for staying in touch with customers, answering questions and offering special discounts. Email doesn’t take much time and it’s free, so it can be the perfect method for small business communication.