Learn why you should explain your actions to your customer and how to do so. If you have reviewed the customer's account or done research on their behalf, explain what you've done in your email. You'll be perceived as more helpful and expert.
- Sometimes customers who are confused or unhappy start to freak out a little in their emails, so I want to give you some ways to respond to let the customer know exactly what you're doing to solve their problems. The key is to be transparent. When you use words that make your actions clear, customers calm down and accept your help, and even better, they write fewer followup emails. So let's say a customer emails about a refund for a defective watch, and asks, "When will I get my refund?" A standard form letter response would say, "Our records show that we received "your wristwatch on October 16th." Our records show? This is a tired old phrase that makes no sense.
The fact is that you took action. You reviewed the record, or you looked at the customer's account, and that means that you can give him accurate information about what will happen next. A simple rewrite is all you need. I checked our records and I see that we received your wristwatch on October 16th. Next, give an explicit timeframe in which they can expect a solution. Don't just write, "We've shipped you a replacement "for your defective wristwatch." If you want to prevent a followup email or a phone call from this customer, let him know when he should receive the replacement.
Write, "We've shipped you a replacement "for your defective wristwatch. "You should receive it within 10 business days." Even if you can't give specifics, it's important to give the customer an accurate timeframe. For example if the replacement's on back order, explain that to the customer. You don't need to drown the customer in minute details, but it's a good idea to briefly explain the steps in the process. Having this information helps the customer to set reasonable expectations.
Let's say a customer emails you this question. Why haven't you processed my invoice? I can see that you received it, but there's no payment date. What's going on? You could reply, "I've checked your invoice. "It's not scheduled for payment yet, "because the purchase order number is missing." This does tell the customer how to fix the problem, but since he will probably use the payment system in the future, it's a good idea to explain the process. By adding just a few more words, you can help the customer enjoy a smoother experience the next time.
This response is a little longer, and you won't need this much explanation for every customer, but it's worth providing it to this customer who's clearly a new user of the payment system. So, when you're responding, take the next step and give customers insight into your process. A little education in an email can help a customer and help your company.
- 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