What this post is about
- Move away from standard responses and write personal, individual messages
- Address the customer directly and use their name
- Be honest and empathetic and start asking follow-up questions right away to quickly find a solution
- Choose a human and friendly tone that does not sound distant and scripted
- Avoid cliché phrases and rather ask constructive questions
Good customer management starts with properly responding to inquiries, reacting to feedback, and taking input seriously. Failed communication can go viral on the internet in seconds and cause a major setback to a company's image. Yet it's the little things that set the right tone for customer support. We have five tips for you that will make your customers love you.
Individual instead of fully automated
Customers want to talk to people who take their needs seriously. Communication with a real person is a prerequisite for a fruitful conversation - both in verbal and written form.
Merely sending automated emails that refer solely to FAQs or common standard answers will never answer all questions. In the end, dissatisfied customers are left with only a partial answer and, in case of doubt, have to send another inquiry. And that helps neither the customers nor the company.
The top priority for support communication is therefore to treat every customer as an equal and to take everyone's concerns seriously. It's about responding to an individual request with attention to detail and dedication.
The best way to do this is to give each message the attention it needs. Of course, we know that's easier said than done in the chaotic day-to-day support environment. That's why we've equipped Zammad with particularly smart features for more efficiency (such as our customizable text modules that match the tone of your organization, and many other power features).
Know who you're speaking to
Using real names gives a great boost of confidence and demonstrates that a real person is addressing the customer's problem. It is important to start the email with a clear "Hello [Customer Name]". A generic "Dear Customer" or a brusque "Hello" will make you seem indifferent.
In addition, automated databases can really fail you. An incorrectly typed name or a wrong title can lead to much embarrassment (and unpleasant moments). Take the time to properly address the customer or they might think that you don't care - and thus won't take their problem seriously.
Honesty and empathy
The customer takes the time to describe their problem to your Support. Value this time and address the customer's problem. Instead of informing the customer that the responsible department will take care of the problem or that a colleague will deal with the issue in due course, you should communicate initial assistance in the first email. If a problem cannot be completely solved, your approach will still make all the difference.
If there is no solution to a request, there is no shame in admitting this. Honest words have a much more sympathetic effect on the customer than empty phrases and excuses.
Finding the right tone
Communication between Support and customers should be solution-oriented. This includes choosing the right tone. Although it is an official channel and the recipient and addressee are unknown to each other, formal and overly stiff language is inappropriate in Support. For the customer, a stiff response can create a negative impression.
A human and friendly touch, on the other hand, steers mail traffic in a positive direction right from the start. Friendly, helpful, and indeed neighborly is how an email from Customer Support should sound. This in no way undermines the framework of the organization's internal communication guidelines, but toning down the official tone allows empathy to rise at the same time.
Thank you for avoiding clichés
It's the little things in life that make a big impact. Cliché phrases or flat apologies don't help anyone and no longer belong in modern support communication. Instead of offering blatant help, formulate targeted questions that the customer can respond to. This way, the solution process is actively driven instead of artificially prolonged.
However, the right tone, helpful answers, or an honest approach only unfold their full effect when you insert a "Thank you". Thank you for the product decision, thank you for the feedback, thank you for the advice: there is always a reason to extend this simple form of politeness to the recipient.
Finding the right words in Customer Support is not a matter of know-how, but a simple form of socially acceptable communication. Mail correspondence between organizations and customers should be similar to a direct face-to-face conversation. Support staff can easily foster customer loyalty by being helpful and actively finding solutions.
By the way: If you find this topic interesting, here is more on how to inspire and retain first-time customers.