How to Write an Email to Customers That They Will Love

September 22, 2016

 

How many emails do you write per day? Do they always get the reaction you’re hoping for? In my role, I’ve sent tens of thousands of emails and learned how to write an email to customers that gets the right reaction.

Email. It’s the first thing we do after switching on the work computer.

As well as something we return to throughout the working day.

As Senior Customer Care Representative at TeamViewer, I respond to up to 50-100 customer emails in a day.

Sounds like a lot – but when you put it into a global perspective, collectively we send 205,000,000,000 emails worldwide each and every day.

Each and every day!

Meaning that sending and receiving emails account for more than three hours of our working day.

Yikes!

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Of course, the reason we spend so much time sending so many emails is because of the many different purposes email serves.

Such as to communicate with customers:

  • Responding to sales prospective emails
  • Answering general questions about our product or service
  • Receiving feedback or suggestions
  • Troubleshooting issues
  • Handling complaints

Since so much time is spent on emails, and given the importance of customer communications,  it’s worth spending a little bit of time making sure that we’re getting the best results out of our customer emails.

To help you along, I will share examples with you of the approach I take for the five situations listed above.

Please share your approach in the comments section! I’d love to hear about it.

Responding to Sales Prospective Emails

prospect-emails

Emails with potential customers who are interested in purchasing your product or service can make the difference between a new, happy customer and a prospect choosing to go elsewhere.

It’s also likely to be one of the first points of contact they have with your company, so it’s important to make a great first impression.

Here is an example of an email I often receive:

email from the customer

Hi,

I’m an IT guy with a few clients at the moment.I really like your product and want to be able to use things like the mobile support features.

I want to buy a license, but I’m not exactly sure which license would be best.

Could you help me out?

Regards,
Jim

If I weren’t concerned with making a good first impression, it might seem appropriate to answer Jim’s email like this, but it’s not a good idea:

not a good email response…

Hi,

What type of license were you looking at?

To find out what license works for you, please reply with the following information:

  • The total number of users that need to connect to other computers
  • The total number of users that need to connect to other computers at the same time
  • The total number of computers each user will be connecting from

Once I have this information, I can send you a quote.

We look forward to your reply!

Why doesn’t this email work?

If Jim saw this email in his inbox, his impression would be that we didn’t take the time at all to address the specific points he mentioned in his email.

There is no personalization, so Jim will get the impression that we simply fired off a canned reply.

There is also no sense of personal connection – Jim does not know who ‘we’ are.

All in all, Jim is probably left feeling like we’re cold and uncaring.

Not a great result.

Instead, a better answer would look something like this:

a good email response…

Hello Jim,

Thank you for your email and interest in TeamViewer!

Mobile Device Support is available with our Premium and Corporate license models. Since you will be the only person using the software to provide IT support to your clients, I think the Premium license will work best for you.

With this license model, you will have access to a wide variety of features including the ability to work from any device!

If you could provide me with your full contact details, I can send you a personalized quotation.

I look forward to working with you!

Best,

Kayla

Why does this email work?

In contrast, when Jim finds this email in his inbox, he’ll immediately get the sense that a person received his email, took the time to read it, and took the time to write a relevant and personal email back.

It addresses his particular interests and concerns, communicates the value of him providing further information about himself, and signs off with a personal statement and signature.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are a couple of pitfalls we can easily avoid in writing emails to prospective customers.

First, avoid the mistake of not thoroughly reading their email. It can be tempting to ‘save time’ by skim reading – but doing so means you’ll miss crucial details in your response.

Second, don’t forget to proofread your email before sending it. Ensure you’ve clearly explained everything you need to, including anticipating any further questions they may have so that there are no surprises further down the line.

Third, make sure that your email is completely accurate. When dealing with any sales information, you’ll want to make sure you get numbers and facts right to avoid miscommunication.

Responding to General Customer Question Emails

customer-questions

From time to time, customers will seek clarification or specific information about something to do with your company, product, or service.

Their email represents their desire to be steered in the right direction, and they’re looking to your expertise to help them do that.

Here is an example of an email I receive:

email from the customer

Good morning,

The University I work for currently uses TeamViewer for IT support to staff.

Can staff use the license to access our computers from home if they need to work remotely? Or is the license only for the computers the IT team uses?

Thank you!

Mark

With too much of a focus on answering quickly and moving on to the next email, it may be tempting to answer like this:

not a good email response…

Hello,

Thank you for your message.

Yes, with your Corporate license, it is possible as it can be activated on an unlimited number of devices and TeamViewer accounts.

Let me know if we can help with anything else.

Why doesn’t this email work?

There is no personalization, it is a generic template that sounds like it was computer generated.

It does not anticipate any follow up questions, and the sign-off gives the impression that the email is being brushed off.

A better response would be:

a good email response…

Hello Mark,

Great to hear from you!

Your staff can absolutely use TeamViewer in this way. Your Corporate license can be activated on an unlimited number of devices and TeamViewer user accounts.

If your staff activate the license on their TeamViewer accounts, they will be able to log in and use TeamViewer from anywhere on any device.

I would recommend taking a look at this FAQ page for information on setting up a TeamViewer account https://www.teamviewer.com/en/help/410-What-is-a-TeamViewer-account-and-how-do-I-sign-up-for-one

I hope you find this useful. Is there anything else I can help with?

Best,

Kayla

Why does this email work?

This emails works because it is personalized. It gives the customer confidence that I will take care of them and that I have knowledge of the product.

They also have a place to get further information if they feel it is needed, and they feel able to write a follow-up question.

In summary, Mark has the impression that we have taken his question seriously and gone to efforts to provide the information he needs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When receiving emails such as these from customers, it may be tempting to skim through and jump straight to providing a response.

By doing this, you’ll likely find yourself in the position where your email doesn’t properly answer the question and leaves the customer with more questions than answers.

It’s also the kind of situation when using an email script could lead to your email sounding robotic and impersonal.

Instead, make sure to personalize the template text you’re working from to make sure your customer understands that you’ve taken the time to really engage with them.

Responding to Feedback or Suggestion Emails

customer-feedback

Getting feedback from customers is always positive – no matter whether the feedback itself is praise or criticism.

Our jobs and the companies we work for exist because of our customers. Therefore, the most important thing about responding to feedback emails is to communicate gratitude for the time they took to write to you.

It’s the only way they will feel encouraged to continue contributing feedback in the future.

Here is an example of the type of feedback I often receive:

email from the customer

Hi,

I just wanted to tell you that I think TeamViewer is simply great and reliable!

It is really a helpful tool for the people who are sitting in remote places and want to get connected with their support team.

You can get all the work done with the click of a button.

Saves the support guy a 30km drive and 50 minutes every time!

Thanks to the development team!

Brian

Pushed for time and losing perspective on what’s most important for a moment, it might feel appropriate to respond like this:

not a good email response…

Hi,

Thank you for the positive feedback. We are happy to hear you’re enjoying using TeamViewer.

Best regards

Why doesn’t this email work?

The customer took their time to send us incredibly positive feedback and to specify exactly why they appreciate the product – as well as who they would like their message to reach.

This response gives the impression that your reply was a formality and that they have wasted your time.

It sounds like a canned response that has not been at all personalized for the specific feedback received from this customer.

Certainly Brian will not take the time to write feedback again in the future.

Instead, an answer should look like this:

a good email response…

Hello Brian,

Thank you so much for your positive feedback!

I always enjoy hearing from people who are using TeamViewer to make life easier for everyone involved.

I am glad your coworker now only has to click a few buttons instead of spending all that time and gasoline on the journey! I will also pass your message on to our development team.

Please do not hesitate to contact us again with any feedback. We have open ears!

Have a great day!

Kayla

Why does this email work?

This message mentions all of the specifics Brian mentioned, lets him know that you’ll pass it along to the intended recipient, and opens the door for further feedback in the future.

Brian will be pleased that the time he took has been matched by the time taken by us.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The most common mistake worth avoiding is to “write off” feedback.

When a customer has taken time to give feedback, they will expect and deserve that we show them the same level of commitment.

Templates need to be heavily adapted according to exactly what feedback the customer has provided.

And lastly, if you say you’re going to pass on the feedback to the relevant person or department – make sure you do! One of the best ways for companies to succeed is by using customer feedback to help guide decisions in order to grow and improve.

Responding to Troubleshooting Emails

troubleshoot

At some point or another, a customer will want to get in touch to ask for help solving an issue they are facing.

This is a great opportunity in customer communication to ensure their impression of you is overwhelmingly positive.

Here is an example of the type of troubleshooting email I might receive:

email from the customer

Sean started using TeamViewer on our team last week and the connection report is not showing any of his connections.

Please let us know if there is something we missed to enable.

Eric

It’s a short email from Eric – likely he was in a big hurry. Our response should not emulate this style, however:

not a good email response…

In order to be able to give you the best service, we need to know more about the problem you encountered.

Could you please explain in more detail? Did you receive an error message and if so, what did it say?

Thank you very much in advance. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Why doesn’t this email work?

Eric will likely feel put out that we’ve coldly asked him to put in more effort up front to solve this issue without a real explanation or sympathy toward his position.

In fact, it’s far better not to use email as your first method of response to this kind of customer email.

Instead, always try to get in touch with a call. A ten-minute call that resolves the issue is a far better customer experience than an email chain lasting a week!

After speaking with Eric on the phone, I’d recommend sending an email such as this as a follow up:

a good email response…

Hi Eric,

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.

Please let me know if you continue experiencing Connection Reporting issues with Sean’s account.

Have a great weekend!

Kayla

That being said, if you can’t get them on the phone immediately, this is a good fallback option:

a good email response…

Hi Eric,

Thank you for your email. I tried calling as soon as I saw your email so I could better assist, but I was unable to reach you.

It would be very helpful if you could describe in more detail the issue you’re facing:

Are Sean’s connection reports not populating? Was he signed into his account while he was making the connections to your clients? Do you have any screenshots to provide?

If you would like to give me a call, you can reach me any time at +1 800 951 4573 – I would be very happy to speak with you and to resolve the issue you are experiencing.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Kayla

Why does this email work?

In both cases, Eric will greatly appreciate the fact that his email is taken seriously, as well as the effort to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

It is incredible how quickly seemingly complex issues can be resolved with a short phone call where a series of emails cannot.

However, if you need to use email to resolve the issue, ensure that you ask for the right information you need, and explain why.

It’s always a good idea to provide the option to speak on the phone too.

The customer will then get the impression that you are willing to do what it takes to help them overcome their issue.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A common trap you can fall into when responding to customer emails like this is that you assume a level of knowledge.

Because you are so familiar with the product or service you offer, aspects or terminology which seem simple to you may come across as jargon to the customer.

Instead, focus on providing simple and clear explanations.

I like to think of the person I am helping as my mother. Whether via phone or email, I aim to reassure them that I am here to help, offer the solution in detail, and also let them know that I will be there until this issue is resolved.

Responding to Complaint Emails

customer-complaints

You would be forgiven for feeling a sense of dread when having to deal with customer complaints.

However, contrary to what you might expect, customer complaint emails offer one of our most valuable opportunities in customer communications.

The way we handle a complaint makes the difference between a detractor – someone who has a negative opinion of our company – and a promoter – someone who spreads positive messages about us to people they meet.

And there are all kinds of ways that customer satisfaction benefits us and our company.

Empathy plays a huge role in handling complaint emails.

Here is an example of a complaint email I will sometimes get:

email from the customer

I am not happy that I am receiving messages on my TeamViewer that I am using a Free version when I have just bought a license.

Please make this stop.
James

It might be tempting to fire off a reply such as:

not a good email response…

Thank you for your email.

Please activate your license on your device to ensure that this message is not displayed again.

Let us know if there is anything else we can help with.

Why doesn’t this email work?

Factually this is likely to be the simple solution required – but it does not at all acknowledge the legitimacy of James’s complaint and puts the blame at his door.

Not a great result for a new customer.

Instead, similarly to handling troubleshooting emails, it’s a far better idea to pick up the phone than send an email.

After speaking with James on the phone and resolving the issue with him, I’d send an email such as:

a good email response…

Hi James,

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.

Please let me know if you experience any further license activation issues with your account.

Have a great vacation!

Kayla

If James can’t be reached on the phone, I’d send an email such as:

a good email response…

Hi James,

Thank you for your email.

I tried calling as soon as I saw your email so I could better assist, but I was unable to reach you.

According to our records, the license was purchased but it has not been linked to your device yet!

In the confirmation email you received after the purchase (I also just resent a copy for your records), there is a link stating “Activate now”. When you click this link, you will be directed to the Management Console.

Once you are logged in, you can click your name in the upper right hand corner and click “Edit profile”. Then on the left hand side you can click “License”.

Here you will see your active Business license and you can then click “Use Device with License” and enter in the 9 digit TeamViewer ID found on your application.

Once you attach the device to your account, you will need to restart the TeamViewer application in order for the license to be displayed.

You can check the license status at any time by clicking Help-> About. Once activated it should read “License: Business Account”.

If you would like to give me a call, you can reach me any time at +1 800 951 4573. I would be very happy to speak with you and to assist with your license activation.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kayla

Why does this email work?

When responding to a complaint from the customer, it’s vital to focus on diffusing the situation first.

Once a customer gets to speak to a live person and vent their frustration, they’ll likely be open to listening to the solution you propose.

Unfortunately, email simply isn’t a good tool for this type of high-pressure communication as it just cannot get personal enough or communicate tonality effectively enough.

Therefore, emails must be focused on enabling a phone call to happen as soon as possible.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

If you do not care about the complaint the customer has made, they will likely pick up on that feeling within your communication with them – which will escalate the situation rather than diffuse it.

When customers feel like we do not care, their impression of the company plummets – which may lead to searching for an alternative solution.

However, deal with their complaint well and the customer will trust your company and remain loyal.

Key Takeaways

We are all expected to deal with dozens if not hundreds of emails on a daily basis.

With tight deadlines and goals to meet, email can feel like one area we can invest less time or energy into.

However, with just a few small alterations to our approach to emails to customers, we can ensure that the emails we do write are effective and contribute towards meeting our goals.

What are your tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

 

 

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