Email Etiquette For Excellent Customer Service

Customer Service Email Etiquette

How to write the perfect email when dealing with customers.
Director of Customer Success

In a Nutshell

It's easy to be too casual (or formal) with customers when writing an email. Here is the email etiquette you should follow to make sure your customer gets the best possible customer service when writing an email.

Table of Contents

In today’s world we use various communication tools and devices, with email being the most used communication tool globally.

But no-one has ever been taught correct customer service email etiquette!

Unfortunately, customer service personnel are no different, yet these people are serving your customers on a daily basis. The lack of email etiquette produces distrust in your customers, which often leads to frustration and anger.

The end result is usually a complaint from your customer, which is the last thing your business needs.

Your customer service representatives should be instructed on proper customer service email etiquette when dealing with customers because, today, email is most likely an important part of your business.  Email etiquette is an important customer service skill to master.

Below we’ve listed our most important tips for customer service email etiquette

8 customer service email etiquette tips

Here are 7 easy-to-follow tips that will improve how your customer service representatives respond to your customer service emails.

1. Pay attention to the subject line

If you composing a customer service email to a customer (as opposed to replying to one), don’t leave the subject line blank.  Instead, your customer service representative should use 4 to 5 words to summarize why you writing to your customer.

Examples:

Your return is being processed

We couldn’t charge your credit card

Please correct your shipping information

And if you are replying to a customer’s email, proper email etiquette says to not edit the subject line. Why? Because some email software is designed to keep all of the back-and-forth in an email chain in a single thread (or conversation).  When your customer service representative edits the subject line you may break that functionality.

2. Keep it simple

It’s not difficult for email communication between a business and its customers to become confusing, and this is usually caused when a customer service team are not clear and concise when answering a customer’s question.

Miscommunication occurs when long emails go back and forth, and the frustration for customers occurs when it’s very clear that the email response received is a standard response; meaning here’s no personal touch.

Customer service managers should ensure that email responses from customer service agents are simple and straightforward, clearly showing that their enquiry or complaint is being handled by a human being – and is not an automated reply.

For example:

Dear Andrew,

This is a friendly reminder that you have an appointment with our 
technician, Jennifer, tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Please let me know if 
you need to reschedule.

Sincerely,

Adam Smith

Using a help desk such as Keeping simplifies this.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

3. Write in a professional tone

​Your customer service team is obviously required to provide a fast and accurate response to customers’ queries and complaints. However, you’re also required to maintain a professional yet friendly tone in your communication, in addition to upholding your company’s reputation.

​When your customer support team writes in a professional tone, it doesn’t mean you need to sound like a robot.  It’s possible for your customer service staff to be both professional and friendly.  It today’s day and age, it’s fine to use the customer’s first name – although certain industries may demand more formality.

The tone of your customer service email should be respectful.  There is a difference between a professional email and a personal one.  In a professional email, your salutation and sign-off shouldn’t imply that you know each other.  A simple “Hello <customer>,” and “Regards” are usually just fine.  A business email should always include both.

Here’s an example of correct email etiquette that is both professional and friendly:

Dear Robert,

I'd like to apologize for the delay in processing your order.

We're currently experiencing significant shipping delays due 
to a disruption in our supply chain.

Our team is working hard to get orders out the door as fast 
as we can.  Again I apologize for the delay and I'll update 
you as soon as your order ships.

Best,
Roger Smith

4. Proofread your email before you hit “send”

Some customer support teams are required to respond to a set number of support tickets every day.  This can lead to typos and mistakes because the rep is rushing.

Unfortunately, an unchecked email providing wrong, unclear, or misleading information creates a bad impression, leading to frustration and yet another trigger to stir the anger pot.

Always check emails to ensure that the information provided is accurate, that there are no spelling mistakes, and that you have adequately answered the customer’s enquiry or complaint.

Using an email template (or canned answer) can really help here.  Make sure your customer support tool includes this feature and that you are using it.

5. Be cautious with formatting

Sometimes, when working in customer service, words within your emails may need to be emphasized; however, you should refrain from playing with case sensitive or font formatting in customer service emails.

Many people still don’t know that, when you use all capital letters in an email, the recipient assumes that you’re frustrated or angry, which may not be your intention. So never type an email in all caps – it’s like you are shouting at your customer.

Here’s an example of what you want to avoid (don’t do this!):

Hi John,

I wanted to let you know that your order ships tomorrow. 

If you need to get your tracking information, then
PLEASE CHECK THE WEBSITE.

Thanks,
Robert Smith

6. Respond to all emails

Some emails that land in your inbox may not actually be intended for you, but good email etiquette demands that you respond to the email in a timely manner.

You might say: “Hello, this is to inform you that your email has inadvertently been forwarded to the wrong recipient; you may wish to resend it to the correct recipient”.

The point to remember is that you are the face of the business or organization, so responding to all emails is good email etiquette.

7. Use proper grammar

Most of don’t use proper grammar when communicating in social media or via SMS.  But when writing a business email, proper grammar is essential. Luckily, there are lots of tools to help with this.  If you are not a native english speaker, or perhaps just never mastered grammar in school, it’s worth installing Grammarly to check your email as you type.  They even have a Chrome extension that works directly with Gmail.

8. Be flexible with your emails

You need to be very flexible with your emails because all your customers are different. Obviously, different cultures require different types of communications and, because you’re not able to speak to these customers face-to-face, you should modify your language to ensure that your email won’t be offensive in any way.

Perhaps the most important advice we can give you here is to let your customers know they are being assisted by a real human being – not an automated machine.

See for yourself

Keeping is the fastest, simplest way to manage customer support right inside Gmail.

Andrew Rivers
Andrew Rivers
Andrew leads customer success at Keeping.