Most companies have a library full of generic templates. In this video, learn how to use templates as a starting point to a helpful, personalized response.
- You probably have access to a big old collection of templates to use when you respond to customers. Your company may call these templates form letters or standard responses, but whatever your company calls them, templates probably make your job easier, and there are correct ways and incorrect ways to use them. The worst way to use templates is just to copy, paste, and send them as is. The best way is to think of the templates like ingredients in a recipe.
Just like you combine ingredients to prepare something yummy, like a cherry pie, you should customize templates to prepare a delicious readable email response to your customer. When used correctly, templates can help you write good emails, but if you use templates incorrectly, they make your emails sound insincere, robotic, or off topic. Let's take a look at an example of a template in action. Say you work for Summergate Theater, a 1,500-seat venue that hosts live shows almost every night.
Last night, just as everyone was seated, there was a power outage and all 1,500 patrons had to be sent home. Unfortunately, the show can't be rescheduled because the band is leaving for an 18-month European tour. So, it is no surprise that your customer service organization has been slammed with emails today. You are really glad to have the canceled show template to use when you respond. Here's an email from a customer who went to the show.
"I was really disappointed when the power went out "last night and the show was canceled. "I didn't get any information "about how you're going to refund the $75 "I spent on my ticket. "Please get back to me as soon as possible." And here's our canceled show template. It's a pretty good template. It's polite and clear, but it's still not a good idea to copy and paste it as is into an email. The best practice is to customize the template using one or all of these techniques.
Add specific information that the customer will be looking for. In the case of our canceled concert, the customer will probably want to see the show date and mention of the power outage, or the name of the band. You don't have to add all these details, but do add some of them. Without these specifics, the template will sound like a form letter. Do the math for the customer. Don't make them calculate expiration dates on their own. Customers make mistakes when they do math, which only leads to more email.
Take out irrelevant information. Templates are generic. They often include more information than you'll need for each response, so be sure to remove anything that doesn't apply. So, here's the final customized email using the canceled show template. You can see how the response was personalized by adding specific information, providing a specific date, and by taking out the irrelevant information. Think of a template like the ingredients in a recipe.
You wouldn't invite your friends over for a dessert and then dish out scoops of flour, butter, sugar, and cherries. No, you'd make an actual pie. So don't use the template as the full email. Use the template as an ingredient in preparing a responsive, friendly, specific email.
- 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