Non-voice BPO: Basic email etiquette for customer service

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Email is used worldwide in providing customer service in the non-voice BPO industry. Email-based communication offers advantages, the few of which is that it lends formality between customers and business, it requires only an email account and serves as a permanent record, and it is generally an easy way for customers to get in touch with a company representative.

Response to customer emails requires a higher standard compared to ordinary emails and must be properly written as it reflects the company's image. Customer support represenatives, therefore, should follow basic email etiquette, as enumerated below:

  • Sending replies promptly

    Ideally, response should be sent within the same day as the received customer email. Avoiding delays with feedback or queries will keep customers from getting impatient or irritated, and it builds up trust in a company's customer service. Prompt replies can be personal or automated.

  • Reviewing and answering carefully

    Representatives must allot sufficient time to review the email and provide assistance to all issues presented by the customer. As necessary, helpful links such as relevant information sections in a company website must be included in the email for future reference.

  • Answering in a professional manner

    Email support is not to be taken personally. As such, complaints and other irate customer emails should be handled with a professional yet conversational tone. Furthermore, the representative should use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation to build a positive impression, making use of tools such as spell check and proper proofreading or editing. Answers should be crisp and concise, and thoughts separated by paragraphs for easy readability.

  • Providing closing and opening salutation

    Proper salutation alerts customers that they are not receiving an automated response but is being assisted by a company representative. The response should start with a pleasant greeting and signed off with a statement thanking the customer for sending the email. It should close with an inquiry for any further question or need of assistance. At the end of the email is a condensed signature with the representatives' name and title, company, and contact information for the customer to know who to follow-up.

Email etiquette is, in itself, good customer service. Badly written email response may only frustrate customers, while prompt and courteous ones may prevent any potential conflict and build customer confidence in the company's staff and services.

Photo credit: Kelly Schott on Flickr