Customer service has been on the decline for some time. With that said, customers can impact the customer service they receive by virtue of their requests.
Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and put out there that that both sides have a desire for positive results. Customers want things to go smoothly. Customer service reps hope that customers are courteous and understanding.
Customer Service — From Both Sides
Email Etiquette is not for customer service reps alone. It is also applies to those requesting customer service. Both sides have equal responsibility in ensuring that the conversation is efficient, goes smoothly and concludes to their satisfaction.
It is not uncommon to experience customer service representatives that respond to emails without answering questions directly or completely. Just as often “customers” who assume simply because they are the “customer”, that they do not have to take the time and make the effort required to provide the necessary details (and courtesy) when making their requests.
Being many who read my website are small business owners as well, I’ll provide to you both sides of the story so each side understands their responsibility in the conversation.
Customer Service Rep Email Etiquette
- Respond to all requests ASAP. Same day if possible. If you are online for business, you need to be able to respond practically in real-time to instill confidence in your business, product and customer service levels. The faster the better!
- Take the time to review the request made and make a point of offering assistance in detail to the specific requests made. To send a template response that doesn’t directly address your customer’s questions reflects a lack of concern for detail and for the customer.
- Address the customer’s concerns or questions point-by-point to make sure all the bases are covered. Do so in a clear and concise manner using full sentences, proper spelling and grammar. No matter how upset or rude a customer may be, take the high road and never communicate in less than a professional tone.
- Point the customer to URLs within your website that offer the information they seek, if appropriate, for future reference.
- Always include a pleasant greeting and thank the customer for emailing you. At the end of your response let them know how they may contact you if they have any further questions or require additional assistance.
Customer Email Etiquette
- Review the website in question to make sure that the information you seek is not already provided for your convenience. Look for the FAQ (Frequently Asked/Answered Questions). To email without reviewing a site’s content gives the impression that you may be a demanding and therefore not a profitable customer.
- When asking about specific products or services, include the URL to the specific web page within the site that you have further questions on. Ask your questions in a clear and concise manner using full sentences, proper spelling and grammar.
- If referring to an order, include your order ID and as much information as possible to enable to customer service rep to respond quickly and in detail to your request.
- Never take the stance that as the customer, posted policies and attention to detail do not apply to you. They do. Always ask for assistance with a courteous and humble tone.
- Be sure to communicate in a cordial manner. Customers who communicate with respect and courtesy will be valued more than those who make doing business with them difficult. Thanking customer service reps for the efforts on your behalf will ensure you continue to receive the service you desire.
Courtesy from Both Sides
As you can see, Email Etiquette applies to both customers and customer service reps alike. Customer service reps using positive Email Etiquette skills will attain and maintain profitable customers. Consequently, customers who make their requests with courtesy will reflect that they are a customer worth catering to.