You must answer all of the customer's questions, or they will write you another email or call the contact center. To avoid a second contact, learn to use two quick techniques for finding--and answering--all the customer’s questions.
- You might not think you need a lesson about answering all of the customer's questions in an email. Most of us think we've answered everything the customer asked, but we've usually missed a few questions along the way. All day long, customers are asking us the same thing, over and over, so it's easy to skip a question. This lesson offers some simple advice, be sure you've answered all the customer's questions. Sometimes the customer's questions in an email are easy to see.
You just look for the question marks. If you do a quick read of this email from Safeek, you'll see that he's asked two questions. Can I pay by check and if so, what is the process? A complete reply to Safeek looks like this, Dear Safeek, Yes, you can pay for your transcript by check. Just complete the attached transcript request form, then mail the form and the check to the Office of the Registrar. That was pretty straightforward, but in some customers' emails, questions can be difficult to see, especially if the email is long or disorganized.
Read this email from Victor to Agile Home Furnishings. Skim it for question marks so you can gather his questions. Does this mean there's no way to view one at your store in the mall? Also, when it says mattresses not included, what size mattress does the trundle bed use? And, what is your return policy on beds? Unfortunately, some customers don't use question marks when they ask questions. For these customers, you'll have to scan their writing for sentences that start with question words, even if those sentences don't end with question marks.
Look for who, what, when, and so forth. With these question words in mind, read Jonathan's email to Landon Hotels, which has no question marks in it at all. Notice the sentences that start with a question word, but don't end with a question mark. Those are the sentences you'll have to convert to a question in your head so you can write a complete reply. What I was wondering about is what to do about my points from the Landon Hotel in Chicago where I stayed this past weekend.
What I want to do is transfer my points from the old number to the new number. How can I lose points because you gave me a new number. To answer, you need to think of these sentences as actual questions with question marks at the end. A complete reply to Jonathan looks like this. Thank you for contacting us about your new Landon Points membership number. I want to assure that all the points you earned under your old number have been retained with your new number.
You do not need to do anything to transfer the points from your old number to your new one. Our system has kept track of all the points you've earned since you became a member in 2013. You will not lose any points in the changeover. I've taken a look at your account and I can confirm that the 1,000 points you earned last weekend in Chicago have been deposited. So, if you're going to write a great response, first you'll have to find all the customer's questions. Sometimes, you'll get lucky and they will have used question marks.
Sometimes you'll need to sleuth out all the customer's questions. Either way, be sure to take time to answer them all.
- Reading emails carefully
- Anticipating follow-up questions
- Answering all of the customer's questions
- Handling difficult questions
- Explaining your process to the customer
- Paraphrasing the customer's situation
- Acknowledging the customer's feelings
- Apologizing when appropriate
- Avoiding clichéd language
- Demonstrating empathy and sincerity in your writing
- Building rapport