Mar 8 2015 :: by Max Al Farakh

Here's some short, nice, quick and actionable tips on how to better respond to customer support emails:

  • Start with a "Hi, John!". It is always a good thing to use customer names and a "Hi" is almost always better than "Hello". There is no need to be overly-official. I use "Hello" in extreme cases when we screw up bad. The exclamation mark at the end is a matter of personal preference.
  • Say "Thanks" and "Sorry" a lot. There is never too much of those in one email. Basically every time you say "No", it should be succeeded with a "sorry".
  • Talk like they do. Note their writing and use the same terms they use, even if they are wrong. Most people don't like to be corrected.
  • Learn how to apologize. This is probably the most important skill you should have.
  • Write like you talk. I can't emphasize this enough – don't be too formal. But don't be too friendly either – find the middle ground. A good rule of thumb – if you can't imagine yourself speaking it, don't write it.
  • Aim for better readability. People don't read – they scan through. What Jacob Nielsen says about users not reading the web is true for emails too. So use short sentences, short paragraphs with double line breaks in between, numbered lists and even headers if appropriate.
  • Don't use empty words like "thanks for the feedback" or "sorry about the inconvenience". It's the email version of a "your call is very important to us".
  • Don't be afraid to say "No"
  • Above all, be nice and try to always "wow" them.

'Quick tips for answering support emails better' was written by Max Al Farakh
Max Al Farakh
Max is a co-founder/CTO of Jitbit with tons of experience in customer service.

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