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Customer Service Necessity: How Are You Handling Emails From Your Customers?

Young businessman working on a computer in an office, utilizing email customer service software.

Sometimes it seems like the most convenient way to communicate with customers is in constant flux. As fewer people prefer to call and hope they’ll meet a human representative on the receiving line, more are happy to get a text message directly to their phone. Meanwhile, an immeasurable number of emails are still being sent and received.

As our recent report on the future of customer service details, more instantaneous channels are regularly preferred by younger consumers — specifically text messaging. So if the future of customer communication is messaging, why is it still important for businesses to put their energy and resources into email customer service? In this blog we’ll answer this question, discuss how brands handle email within their overall customer service strategy, and outline what customers still expect from email.

What Is Email in Customer Service?

Email customer service happens most often in two ways: first, when a business contacts the customer, i.e. proactive customer service; and second, when a customer reaches out to a business with an inquiry, feedback or complaint. It’s important to get ahead of those customer-initiated emails by implementing proactive customer service first.

According to Kustomer research, consumers report checking their emails most frequently; however chronic inbox fatigue can often hinder business conversations. So if we can’t deprioritize email customer service, because people continue to check it so frequently, then we must come up with more efficient and effective ways to communicate via email.

Getting Ahead of the Unhappy Customer

Proactive customer service is when businesses go the extra mile to reach out to customers, or anticipate potential concerns, before they even need to inquire. Abandoned cart follow-up, for example, is an excellent way to proactively reach out to a client.

Let’s say a customer puts an item in their cart, but doesn’t finalize the purchase. Following up with an email asking if they had a technical issue or a question about the item is a strategic way to solve a problem before the question is even asked.

This follow-up email also gives the client a personalized customer experience and hopefully leads to the sale. From reaching out about promotions, to offering discounts for being a good customer and sending client surveys, proactive customer service is a great way to address a question or issue before it arises. It is also a way to stand out in an overcrowded inbox. 

How to Handle Angry Emails

No matter how much a company tries to get ahead of it and offer excellent customer service, there will be an angry email to respond to at some point in the life of the business. Whatever the issue, it’s important to take in customer feedback not only for the company to improve, but also so the customer feels their concerns were heard and validated.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to respond to an angry customer email:

  1. Respond as soon as possible.
  2. Apologize for their negative experience.
  3. Explain what may have gone wrong.
  4. Provide context for what happened.
  5. Reassure the customer that this won’t happen again.
  6. Offer an incentive, refund, or discount.
  7. Allow them to respond with further questions, comments or concerns.
  8. Follow up with the customer.

Through readily accessible internet access, today’s customers have every opportunity to directly contact brands and influence their reputation one way or another. An angry email could turn into an even angrier public review, if unacknowledged. So it’s important to employ top customer service skills, hit them with an empathetic response, and turn what started as a discussion with a dissatisfied customer into a positive situation.

How Email Management Software Can Help Out

Over the shoulder view of a woman on a laptop checking emails and focusing on how to write email to customers.

As much as customers can get fatigued with the constant influx of emails, businesses can also feel the pressure to be constantly communicating. Customers want personalized experiences, fast resolution times and their questions answered. How can businesses successfully meet these communication demands via email when more instantaneous channels like SMS and chat are increasing usage?

Customer service software can help keep customer needs satisfied and free up human support teams to address pressing issues, like angry emails, more thoroughly. From email automation to employing a customer relationship manager (CRM), there are many different types of email customer service software that have a variety of functions.

Leveraging the right technology will allow your team to easily engage with customers based on how they interact with the brand, automatically sending proactive customer service emails like abandoned cart emails and product recommendations based on past purchases.

Email is still a key support channel, and these email customer service software systems can efficiently organize, optimize, distribute and personalize a company’s email customer service while saving time and making sales.

Whether Human or Software: The Importance of Personalization in Emails

Personalized customer service is a vital element of successful email communication. Emails that engage the reader must feel relevant to them and target what they need or want. Strategies tailored to specific members of your audience are more memorable and allow brands to make a longer-lasting impression on inbox-fatigued customers.

Integrating personalization and compassionate customer service also leads to more conversational support, rather than transactional support. Conversations build relationships, relationships build trust, and a customer who trusts in a brand will come back time and time again. Email allows businesses the time and space to build those relationships.

Looking for more tips on how to craft the perfect customer experience for your brand in the digital age? Download the latest Kustomer report on the future of CX.

Special thanks to our friends at Kustomer for their insights on this topic.
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