For the Last Time, It’s Not Okay to Say, “Your Welcome.”

I was behind a truck recently that had a cool LED lighted border around the license plate. Little red lights danced around and framed the driver’s message.  Here’s what this driver had displayed on his flashy license plate border:

“If your reading this, than your to close.”

Do you see what I saw? Not one, not two, but four typos! The message should read: Continue reading “For the Last Time, It’s Not Okay to Say, “Your Welcome.””

Are your emails to customers as good as this email I got from Nik Collection?

Some of  you know photography is my passion. Whenever I can steal away to take photos, I seize the opportunity. I had just such an opportunity yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, after wrapping up a big and successful project for a client, I sat down to edit some black and white photos from my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Earlier this week I updated my iMac to OS X Yosemite, Mac’s latest upgrade. To my horror, and I mean absolute horror, my photo editing software was not compatible with Mac’s latest upgrade.

After a couple of moments of sheer panic, I realized that certainly there was a quick fix for this. I’d either remove the Mac upgrade or I’d contact the photo editing software maker and get this sorted out. So, I emailed Nik Collection and explained my problem.

Within an hour or so, I got this reply from Nik Software (You’ll need to click the image to enlarge)

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 9.34.08 AM 2

Nik Software blew me away with this email response. Here’s what I like about it.

  • It was a quick. I fully expected to have to wait 2 or 3 days for a response. So many of my corporate vendors take days to respond, so my expectation for a quick response from Nik was low.
  • They proactively also emailed my business email address. I sent the email using my personal gmail account, but I must have also had my business email on file. Nik, perhaps thinking I might have quicker access to my business email, also emailed me at work. That really helped me out as I was sitting at my work computer when the email arrived. This literally wowed me.
  • Instructions were clear and easy to follow. The simplicity and clarity of the instructions to solve my problem were right on the mark. I was able to instantly follow the links, upgrade my software and boom – have access to my video editing suite.
  • There was an option to reply to the email. I don’t have to tell you how rare it is today to be able to reply to a customer service email. Companies don’t want you to email them back. They’d rather you go back to the website and fill out a tedious form.
  • The email offered an apology. “I am sorry you are experiencing problems with your Nik Collection product keys.” I perceived this as a sincere apology and that impressed me.

How do your customer service response emails measure up?

Pull out one of your email responses to a customer. How does it measure up to my reaction to the Nik Collection email? Does your email surprise and delight customers? Or does it frustrate customers?

Here’s what I want you to do.

Look for ways to make the customer experience over email as quick and smooth as possible. And add a little surprise and delight when you can. When you do, you’ll make someone’s day with your great emails and you’ll have people bragging and blogging about you!

Here’s one of the photos I recently edited with my Nik Software (My niece on Thanksgiving)

Thanksgiving 2014-6



Before You Send That Email to a Customer…

Last week I talked to you about how to ruin your corporate reputation in just one email thread and I shared an email exchange that just takes the cake. I got a lot of reaction from that blog post. People were utterly appalled at the content and tone of the emails a company representative sent to a customer.  Many asked for permission to share my example with their employees. Lots of Customer Service Supervisors and Managers emailed me asking for tips on how to ensure their employees are not sending out bad emails to customers. One thing’s for certain: People are concerned about their email communication with consumers.

For those of you concerned with how your employees are communicating with customers over email, I am holding a 90-minute webinar entitled “Before You Hit Send” to help companies craft professional and friendly emails to customers. The webinar will be held February 16th at 1pm ET. If you miss it, you can get the recording. Below you will find the details.

Myra is often called into companies to help them overcome the perception of “robotic” email responses and to help employees craft personable and friendly emails to customers. In this very special web event, Myra brings her “email intervention” to the public. Join Myra and learn how to craft personal, friendly, error-free emails that not only address customer’s issues, but also leaves them saying “wow.”

What will you learn? Here’s a preview.

How to Ruin Your Reputation In Just One Email Thread

So I’m sitting in my office preparing marketing copy for my How to Respond to Customer Emails web training event when my Assistant walks in, takes over my computer and Googles something about an email thread gone wrong. She eagerly tells me about a company’s email thread with a customer that is so shocking that my jaw dropped several times and I found myself saying, ‘wow’ and ‘whoa’ over and over as I read the email thread. My Assistant tells me, “You have to include this example in your webinar!”

The customer in this story emailed the company to get an update on the shipment of his order. The customer service representative replied to the customer’s email simply with a date. No sentence. No explanation. No “thank you for your email.” The reply to the customer read, “December 17th.” Totally unacceptable, in my opinion.  Not only is the email cold and unprofessional, but it lacks clarity. Does the order ship on December 17th? Will it arrive on December 17th? Who knows? As bad as that email was, it gets worse. Much worse.

When the customer emails with a follow-up question, here’s what he got from the company:

“Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.”

This response is filled with grammatical and spelling errors and I’m sure the tone of the communication is not what the company intends to convey. But it seems the representative simply took matters into his own hands.

The email thread goes on to be even more appalling with comments from the rep like this:

“We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.”

(If you are interested, you can read the full transcript of this utterly unprofessional conversation right here.)

Don’t let an email from an untrained employee ruin your credibility and threaten your company’s reputation. Give employees training on how to communicate with customers over email. Responses must be professional. That means we write in complete sentences and we focus on being crystal clear. It means we carefully check our emails for spelling and grammatical errors. It means we are careful never to insult a customer, a vendor, or our own company. It means we treat customers like they sign our paychecks. It means we never put anything in writing that we wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing blasted in social media. Because, believe me, a bad email will end up on Twitter, blogs and FaceBook.

Don’t let a bad email happen to your company! Join me for my famous “How to Respond to Customer Emails” webinar so I can help you avoid nightmares like this one.

How to Respond to Customer Emails

The emails you send say a lot about your company.

Are you sure yours send the right message?

February 16th, 1:00 – 2:30pm ET

Read the full “How to Respond to Customer Emails” web training outline right here.

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JCPenney WOWs Customer with Empathic, Heartfelt Email Response

How a QVC Rep WOWed Me – 4 Great Tips for Email and Chat Service

JCPenney WOWs Customer with Empathic, Heartfelt Email Response

A few years ago one of my clients sent me a copy of an email she’d received from JCPenney Portrait Studio. My client, Angela, had taken her 2-month old daughter to the studio to have her very first professional photo taken. Though Angela had an appointment, she, her husband and infant daughter waited for more than 45 minutes past their appointment time.

As you can imagine, 45 minutes of waiting with a 2-month old is challenging. Angela said that by the time they got in the studio for photos, her daughter was tired, cranky and hungry. Because of her daughter’s understandable disposition, they just couldn’t get a quality photo of the precious baby girl. Angela went home and emailed JCPenney to express her disappointment. Forty-eight hours later Angela received what she described as “The best customer service email I have ever received.”

Here’s an excerpt from the original email Angela received:

“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.”


That WOWed me too. This representative related to Angela and responded with sincere empathy. That really resonated with Angela.

Take a look at how the representative offered a recovery and apology:

“You will be receiving a letter for four free sheets of portraits at a future sitting as a way of apology. I realize that this does not make up for the time and effort already spent with all of this but I do hope that it does in some way show how truly regretful I am.”


Don’t you just love that last sentence? “I realize that this does not make up for the time and effort already spent with all of this but I do hope that it does in some way show how truly regretful I am.” The representative is offering a personal, heartfelt apology.

Click image to read entire email response from JCPenney


The bottom line: When you are responding to customer complaint emails, take the time to express sincere empathy by relating to the customer and responding based on this empathic relation. Also be sure to always offer a heartfelt apology. When you do, you will not only solve the problem the customer experienced, but you will restore their confidence and regain goodwill.

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.

Excellent Problem Response Letter From American Airlines

Watch my full customer recovery video to get 5 steps for restoring customer confidence after service failures.

How Southwest Airlines Rebuilds Trust After Service Failures

Explaining Why/How a Problem Happened Helps Companies Regain Goodwill and Rebuild Trust

A vital, but often overlooked element of customer recovery is to provide an explanation for how or why the problem happened. Taking the time to explain to a customer what might have caused the problem helps organizations re-establish trust.

 Explaining to customers what might have caused the service failure may (also) enhance customer satisfaction.  Similarly, in the service recovery context, open communication may alleviate customers’ bad feelings about the service failure

 Hui Liao

Providing an explanation can be as simple as saying, “Thanks for taking the time to let us know about _____. We appreciate customers who let us know when things aren’t right.  Here’s what we think may have happened…”

In my “Before You Hit Send” email webinar, I teach people to carefully acknowledge and explain the issue via email immediately after apologizing. The placement and wording of the justification is critical. Here’s the example justification from Southwest Airlines I will share in Friday’s webinar. This is a portion of a full recovery letter. The paragraph shown here is a very good justification of the problem and it comes immediately after an apology.

“Shortly after takeoff, the Pilots received a low pressure indication for one of the two independent hydraulic systems (A&B) on the aircraft. In response to this situation the Captain returned to have the aircraft inspected. In this case, the problem was with the A hydraulic System – there was a fluid leak. After speaking with our Maintenance Department, I learned that the supply line which helps operate one of the movable panels on the aircraft’s wing surface was leaking hydraulic fluid, and as such, the corresponding line was then replaced to fix the problem.”

 Click on image to read the entire Southwest letter

The goal of complaint handling is to completely restore customer confidence and regain goodwill. A critical element of restoring customer confidence is to offer a justification for why/how the problem happened. Make sure your employees carefully offer a justification to your customers after service failures and you’ll begin to rebuild customer trust and regain customer goodwill.

For help with complaint handling over email, consider my Before You Hit Send webinar. We’re broadcasting live Friday, March 11th at 1pm ET. The recording will be available for those who can’t attend the live event.