Customer service has transformed dramatically over the past two decades because of the internet. Instead of calling a company because of a concern, complaint, or compliment, it has become far easier to communicate with email. Therefore, companies must train their customer service employees how to respond with proper etiquette since it is an opportunity to build relationships with customers. Similar to phone conversations, a rude or improper email reply can damage a company’s reputation while a friendly, yet professional reply can gain a customer for life. Most importantly, however, a good customer service email should address or solve the customer’s complaint without delay and with appropriate language and tone.
Part One of Three:
Personalizing the Email Edit
Make an effort to reply quickly. Good customer service is often considered quick, effective, and appreciative. Thus, you should make every effort to respond to a customer’s email as soon as you as acquire all of the necessary information. 
- The best response time is between 24 hours and three days. Anything longer than that, the customer will question whether you received the email or if you simply do not care.
- In today’s society, customers are conditioned to receive immediate responses to their questions, thus a quick reply can build customer confidence and, in return, become a competitive advantage.
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Customize the subject line. Subject lines are important because they often determine whether an email is opened to be read or not. A blank subject line is most likely to get deleted or lost frustrating the customer who has to open the email before knowing what it is about. 
- Keep the subject line brief and specific, and place the most important word at the beginning. Remember that most email subject lines only allow 60 characters, while a mobile phone shows just 25 to 30 characters. Placing the most important word first to draw immediate attention to the email.
- Be careful not to use all capital letters or excessively use punctuation, like exclamation points. Both are perceived as yelling or excitement and not appropriate for a customer service emails.
Personalize the email by using the customer’s name. Customers appreciate personalized emails that are addressed to them by their name. This proves that they are not just a number and, instead, indicate that you appreciate their business by being respectful and polite. 
- A personal email will make a stronger connection with the customer than an informal, generic email.
- Choose a salutation that reflects your customer’s status. For example, a medical doctor should be addressed as “Dr.” If unknown, simply use the standard “Mr.” for men and “Ms.” for women.
Introduce yourself. Similar to using the customer’s name, you should also use your name to personalize the email. After all, this should be framed as a conversation between two people rather than a transaction between a business and a customer. 
- In addition to your name, include your title and contact information so that you establish some rapport for future communication.
Part Two of Three:
Replying to the Email Edit
Consider the context of the email. All customer email should be appreciated whether it is good or bad because it is an opportunity to improve your product and make stronger connections with your customer base. Customer emails are also a good source to discover what does and does not work with your product. 
- If an apology is in order, go beyond saying “I’m sorry” by being more specific. Being more specific demonstrates that you actually read their email and understand the problem.
- Any emails that focus on problems, you should readily admit that your company is having trouble resolving the issue. Hiding the problem is not a good idea since you are trying to build trust. Also, by admitting to the trouble, you let the customer know your company is working hard to resolve the issue.
- Make sure to ask questions to dig deeper into the issue. This is a perfect opportunity as a company to conduct live research on your products. For example, “How can we improve our product?” gives you feedback on how to fix something that could potentially benefit and retain all other customers who are experiencing the same frustration.
- Show appreciation by going beyond a simple “thank you.” The customer who took extra time to write an email deserves an equal amount of time (or more) getting a heart-felt thank you in return.
Provide concise instructions to your customer. In order to make sure the customer can easily follow or comprehend the sometimes difficult language of a complex product, avoid using words or instructions that only somebody in your industry would understand. 
- Simplify your response to complex issues by using numbers or bullet points to clearly separate the various steps or actions that need to be taken.
- Employ the ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) technique. Before sending instructions that are technical or extraordinarily difficult, try rereading them as if you are five-years-old so that you can ensure your customer will understand them. The key is to remain respectful and not to treat your customers like children.
Using common replies to frequently asked questions (FAQ). Remember to keep your email personalized and not to treat email as a reply to a FAQ. No doubt, as a customer service representative, you will come across the same relative questions on a daily basis. Although it might be simpler to have a stored response to these common questions, be careful how and when you use them. 
- Using canned responses are acceptable, but always take time to personalize them so that customers do not feel that they have just been “copied-and-pasted” a reply.
- Try keeping the canned response part of your reply to the detailed instructions part of your email, but change names, dates, and locations where it is suitable to keep some semblance of personalization.
Utilize links in your email if the response is extensive. Nobody enjoys plowing through long emails trying to find the solution to their problem. It is tedious and annoying. Therefore, if you have to reply by giving extensive instructions or lengthy feedback consider placing links in the email so that customers can quickly find what they are looking for. 
- If your instructions contain three continuous steps or more, consider placing a link to connect them to the information.
- Customers are more likely to click on the link than read all of the steps or information.
- Consider developing a knowledge base with helpful articles to FAQs. This way, you can provide links to this information, making it available to customers 24 hours a day.
Include additional support information to your customer. It is important to let the customer know exactly when they should be hearing about a solution, or at least an update. This is another way to build trust between you and the customer. 
- Stay proactive in keeping your customer informed and keep them posted to any updates.
- Anticipate any additional needs or concerns prior to the customer asking them.
- Provide contact information so the customer can reply directly back to you. This keeps fewer people involved and quicker responses.
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