How to Craft Friendly Emails That WOW Customers
10 Tips to Take Your Emails to the Next Level!
You’re in for a treat, because today I have for you a unique email session with the most important tips, tools and techniques you need to make your emails appear both friendly and professional. If you communicate with your customers via email, you can’t afford to miss this!
1. Write a Subject Line That Pops
The subject line is your first impression in email communication so make sure your first impression is personal and attention-getting. By far, the most common subject line in email responses to customers is: “Re: customer web inquiry”. Sure, it’s accurate, but what a waste of opportunity to connect with customers and make your communication memorable.
You can immediately capture your customer’s attention by doing 2 simple things with your subject lines: (1) Using the customer’s name in the subject line (whenever possible) and (2) inserting a short phrase that speaks to the customer’s issue. Here’s what I mean:
Joe, the lawn mower manual you requested is attached.
Lynn, your replacement widget will ship tomorrow.
Lauren, here are tips to help maintain your garden.
Personalize your emails and they’ll be read before anything else in the customer’s inbox. I guarantee it. Now, when you personalize subject lines be sure to keep it short. Subject lines should be no more than 60 characters. It’s just fine to use fragments in subject lines as long as you’re clear.
2. Open with a friendly salutation.
Most emails from companies open with “Dear.” Be different and friendly by opening with “Hello.” Email is a much less formal communication means than the business letter. It should be conversational – just like you’re sitting across from your customer. Let your salutation be as simple and friendly as “Hello Myra.”
3. Thank the customer for the email and/or complaint
A lot of companies begin complaint response letters with: “We have received your email dated…” Don’t do this. The fact that you’re responding to the email is irrefutable proof that you have received the customer’s letter. Instead of wasting words, immediately go into a response designed to restore the customer’s confidence and regain their goodwill.
My favorite approach to beginning a complaint letter is to begin by expressing appreciation for the feedback. Here are some ways to express appreciation for customer feedback:
“Thank you for taking the time to write to us.” (This is ideal for a response letter to a customer who is actually responsible for the error or when you cannot honor the customer’s request for a refund or exchange.)
“Thank you for your email. We appreciate customers who let us know when things aren’t right.”
“Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify what we think has happened.”
4. Use Personal Pronouns to Personalize Your Message and Establish Rapport
The Franklin Covey Style Guide suggests, “Probably no single language choice is as effective in making business documents human and personal as well-chosen pronouns.” And this style guide is absolutely right. Using personal pronouns like I, Me, You, and We make your emails more conversational and friendly.
Take a look at this excerpt from an actual email to a customer. The customer sent it to me and raved about how awesome the email was. What made it great was the use of personal pronouns by the customer service rep to make it real and establish rapport.
I am very sorry to hear of your recent disappointment in our studio
services. We assure you that customer satisfaction is our top priority and we want the service at our studios to reflect that principle. We realize the importance of having portraits taken and the time and effort involved in preparing for a sitting. As a mother of three children I can certainly understand the frustration and disappointment you had with having to wait so long and then not having the quality sitting you are entitled to.
5. Empathize with the Problem Your Customer Has Experienced
One of the easiest ways to connect with your customers on a personal level and let them know for certain that the email didn’t come from a template is to use empathy. Last summer I returned a camcorder to QVC. A couple of weeks later I contacted the company via live chat to check the status of my return. Here’s how the customer service representative WOWed me with an empathetic response to my routine question:
Ms Golden, I’m so sorry the Canon Vixia HV30 MiniDV HD Camcorder hasn’t been processed as of yet. I know you’re anxious to have this completed. The return processing time can take up to 17 days from the date an order is returned to QVC. I hope your item is processed soon.
What I especially loved about this response was, “I know you’re anxious to have this completed.” And “I hope your item is processed soon.” Show a little empathy and personal concern in your emails and soon your customers will be raving about you!
6. When the Email Addresses a Problem, Explain What Happened and Why
Taking the time to explain to customers what might have caused the problem helps you re-establish trust. Here’s how Jet Blue explained what happened in an apology letter to its customers after a pretty big fiasco.
“The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue’s pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President’s Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unusually long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.”
7. Respect Your Customer by Answering ALL of Her Questions
Answer ALL questions – this is a BIG one. Customers find it frustrating to get an incomplete response from the company. Carefully read and re read the customer’s email to ensure you have captured every issue and make sure you respond to each of the issues.
8. Don’t Use Email to Give a Customer Bad News
Tim Sanders, best-selling author and former Yahoo! Executive, said recently in his newsletter: “At Yahoo!, I always told my folks, ‘Email is for saying yes and for exchanging information. If you want to say no, criticize or get into an emotionally charged issue, pick up the phone or do it in person’. Email fails to communicate your intentions, so it usually looks pretty insensitive.”
Certainly, it’s going to take more time and effort on your part to pick up the phone and call a customer to communicate bad news, but you really need to make the sacrifice.
Speaking to the customer by phone gives you the opportunity to establish rapport, re-build trust, offer alternatives, or to offer a sincere and unreserved apology. Email communication is so vulnerable to miscommunication and you are at great risk for losing the customer when you convey bad news electronically without the opportunity to truly defend your position.
9. Add a P.S.
I’m about to let you in on a secret that is apparently unknown to most companies: Studies show that the postscript is the most often read and the first read portion of any letter. Joe Vitale, author of Hypnotic Marketing, encourages his readers to always use a P.S. and says “Your P.S. is your chance to state your strongest point, or offer your guarantee, or to mention just how wonderful your product is.”
Here are some great ways to add a post script to a complaint response email:
P.S. As a concrete form of apology I am sending you two additional widget kits. You can enjoy one now and one later. Thanks for being a loyal Widget Company customer!
P.S. I wanted to let you know that right now we’re running a special. When you buy 2 widgets, you get a third widget at absolutely no charge—and we pay the shipping. This may be a great time to pick up a widget up for you, your mother, and a special friend!
P.S. You are always welcome to call me with any additional questions. My direct dial number is 443-982-1131.
10. End your email on a friendly note.
Here’s one way Amazon Customer Relations ends emails:
Autumn Walker Executive Customer Relations
Amazon, I love you.
Of course, you don’t have to go that far. You can simply end your emails in a friendly way by adding your name, toll-free number, and email like this:
Adopt and apply these simple tips and your emails will grab your customer’s attention, be memorable, AND they will help you build and strengthen loyalty with your customers!
Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees help your customers.