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AnswerIQ Blog

Tricks for Scaling Customer Support Using Email Templates

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 4.53.26 PMKeep your customer support agents singing from the same songbook with these 7 tips for personalized email templates

As your support team grows, it’s important to maintain accuracy and consistency across customer interactions, no matter your organization’s size. When your team starts using quality email templates consistently, it sets your organization up for automated response and can help you improve your support because AI learns which template or article from your knowledge-base is right for the situation. Automation saves time, keeps messaging consistent, and helps maintain high customer satisfaction.

Your messages, whether written in the moment or stored in a macro, should blend personality, empathy, and connection, while providing an accurate answer as quickly as possible.

The Recipe for a Great Email

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 4.55.12 PM

Standardizing your email format makes sure you hit all the necessary points, every time. Templates prevent your team from typing the same thing over and over again, while also keeping your message consistent.

AnswerIQ’s Agent Assist helps your team choose the best answer automatically by using templates you’ve created to match your organization’s tone, show empathy, and include personality. The template includes all the right information, which agents can then edit to personalize for the customer at hand.

A perfect, thorough email response generally includes four parts:

  • a personalized greeting,
  • an acknowledgment and show of understanding of the issue,
  • a fix--whether steps for the user to complete or what you’re doing to fix it on your end--and,
  • a closing line inviting them to write back if the issue persists and requesting feedback.

Here’s a quick hypothetical example to show you those pieces in action:

Hi Gloria!

Thanks so much for getting in touch. How’s everything been going since the upgrade last month? I’m happy to share our best practices for organizing those new reports - many customers have contributed feedback on this feature and when fully configured, I feel this is a powerful tool. Let’s get this sorted for you.

I’ve adjusted your account settings on my side. Can you please try logging out and logging back into your dashboard? I’ve confirmed everything is showing correctly now.

If you still see something unexpected, or if you have any additional questions, please let me know! I’m here to help.

Thanks,
Julio Stevens
Support Ninja


How was my answer?

Good, I'm satisfied

Bad, I'm not satisfied


It’s personable, clear and best of all - helpful! We’ve shared a few top tips to help you craft your best email templates below.

Show Your Human Side

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 4.59.41 PMJust because you’re writing customer responses in macros or templates to assist your team in replying, that doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy or overly formal. You can still make sure your messages convey warmth and understanding and are welcoming, while also providing an answer (without being too casual and making people feel like you’re not taking their issues seriously).

GrooveHQ shared a great list of six phrases for excellent support that makes customers feel heard:

  • “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.”
  • “I’d be happy to help you with this.”
  • “I’ll send you an update by [day or time].”
  • “I really appreciate you letting us know..”
  • “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Lines like these work because they sound like a real person said them, they acknowledge the person’s issue, and they make people feel welcome.

Secondly, even when you’re using templates or macros, take the time to personalize the email to the customer in front of you. Using workflows, automations, and CRM integrations means that you can offer even deeper personalization. From details of their past customer history, to their location - we want to show we've gone above and beyond to recognize the customer as an individual.

Phrases like “sorry for the inconvenience” are generic and should be replaced with a specific, genuine acknowledgement of the problem. Combining the automated efficiency with the human voice makes for a really helpful support email template.

Set Expectations

Customer Expectations

When providing support via email, make sure your customer has the right expectations. From understanding what kind of help you offer and how quickly a follow up should be expected, the more direct you are with a customer, the more they’ll feel taken care of and confident in your work.

Beyond explaining scope of support and timing expectations, be sure your team knows how to say no. When responding with a negative answer, it can be helpful to include an alternative solution, if possible. For example, a line like this one can be helpful in reducing frustration: “I realize you really would like to have _____ , but have you checked out ____ ?” While you haven’t given the user the answer they hoped to hear, they will feel like you’re trying to help, rather than just seeing a no and feeling like that’s that.

Choose Your Words Carefully

It’s important to choose your words carefully when crafting your responses. Wording is something you should adjust over time and be ready to update when you notice a particular phrase may be causing unintended reactions. Sarcasm and idioms don’t always translate well in text.  Even when using a template, your team’s replies should always reflect the tone, professionalism, and personality you wish to convey.

When writing an email template to answer a common question, consider the skill-level of the person likely to receive the response. If their question includes technical terms and advanced troubleshooting, your response should too. However, if their question is basic, craft your answer in a way they’re likely to understand, while still using the correct terminology.

Avoid Negative Wording

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 5.04.36 PMDon’t apologize if you’re not actually sorry, and don’t waste space blaming a customer for the problem, either. The most important part is moving past the apology and actually fixing the issue. Write your email templates to acknowledge frustration and provide a resolution.

It’s okay to apologize when you should though, like if their wait for help was too long, or if your system double charged their credit card. Saying sorry can actually boost customer satisfaction - even more than a credit. The Carey School of Business found that 37% of upset customers are satisfied when offered a credit as an apology. But if the business said sorry on top of the credit, satisfaction increased to 74%. But make sure your apology email template also includes a fix! Saying sorry isn’t enough if the issue isn’t resolved.

Don’t Minimize Their Struggle

Avoid using words that may make a user feel dumb for asking their question. While it can seem helpful to include “simply” or “just [do X]” in your response--because you want the product to be understood and thought of as easy-to-use--avoid those words. Consider how hearing you should "just" do something would make you feel when you've asked a question. If it were that simple, you wouldn't have asked.

When creating an email template for a common question, this can be especially tempting. If the request is simple enough to answer in bulk, it probably is a thing a user “just” needs to do, but they don’t know that, and their experience will be a better one if you don't point it out.

Instead, when possible use “we” to describe yourself and the customer. Including yourself on a team with the user helps them feel like you’re in it together, while words like “simply” draw a line between you (the person who knows) and them (the one who doesn’t).

Provide Support Options

Try not to keep people waiting for an answer they could get instantly elsewhere. Sometimes an email template can be as simple as letting a user know about another place they can go to get help more quickly, rather than waiting for a personal email response.

Customer Support Email TemplatesIf your team also provides live chat and an instant conversation may be useful in troubleshooting or defusing a customer’s frustration, why not include directions for accessing it? Or if their answer is in a support document somewhere, provide the link. If you ask a user to follow steps found in your knowledge base, let them know they can follow up with you if they get stuck somewhere. If the user really must wait for your detailed reply, give them a timeline so they know what to expect and won’t keep writing in wondering where you are while they wait.

Confirm the Question Was Answered

A template for verifying the customer's question has been answered can be useful too. Instead of going away quietly and still frustrated, your customer may respond with a no---and your team will know to jump in and make things right.

Your confirmation message is also an excellent spot to provide any details for getting help or next steps that may be useful to them. For new users, if you’ve got a beginner’s guide to help them get started, include a link.

Support is More Than Knowing the Answer

While your support team members may know the answer to most questions, conveying that in a Customer Support Benefits from Email Templateshelpful, friendly way every single time can be more difficult than simply knowing the product. No matter the size of your team, you can ensure the tone and personality of your messages are consistent by using email templates. Amazing support teams understand how to benefit from templates, while also injecting empathy and connecting with their customers. Automations, like Agent Assist, help keep your support accurate, in both information and feel.

To learn more about AnswerIQ, reach out to a member of our team and we’ll walk you through a demo!


 

Topics: Customer Support, AnswerIQ, templates, email macros