Essential Email Skills for Customer Service Professionals

Customer Service Training Resource
August 24, 2012 — 1,307 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

With the advent of wireless technologies and smartphones, as consumers and employees become increasingly mobile and connected, email has become an even bigger part of business than ever before. This is especially true in the customer service industry. According to a study by Purdue University's Customer Service Benchmarking Center for Customer-Driven Quality, 25 percent of all contact between a typical company and its customers is done via email. Yet, despite this, many customer service professionals still lack top notch email skills.

"People who handle email are expected to be nearly superhumanly helpful," Marilyn Rudick, a customer service expert who has conducted extensive email training sessions. "Their jobs are like a battle. They are expected to answer 50-60 emails a day which is an awful lot, often while taking phone calls. Most often they don't come to the job with strong writing skills."

One of the most important traits in email etiquette, according to Miva Central, is to treat email recipients as if they are physically in the store. This means that customer service representatives should treat all email conversations as if they were important in-person chats with highly-valued clients. Adopt the rule that you shouldn't write anything in an email that you wouldn't say to someone's face. Similarly, use the proper grammar, usage and mechanics that you would if you were writing a cover letter or some other important correspondence.

On that note, general writing skills should be honed to an acceptable point for a business conversation. The same language and tone that wouldn't be used by a customer service representative at a physical store should not be used by one when responding to an email. Additionally, while many customer service professionals may not remember the writing skills they learned in high school English class, a review might prove helpful. Writing clearly and concisely, in a well-defined tone that fits, could work wonders in the customer service field.

One aspect of email skills among customer service representatives that is often overlooked is personalization, especially in reply message intros and auto-responders. Personalizing the beginning of email replies, instead of using cookie-cutter responses, could markedly improve customer loyalty. It's important to let the customer know that he or she is highly valued. Similarly, using a personalized auto-response message will help assuage a client's frustrations, while easing the backlog and relentlessness on your end.

Customer Service Training Resource