Give customers your own email address.

Personalizing a customer service experience is difficult. But one way to personalize and give accountability to the customer service experience is to provide customers with your own email address.

This doesn’t work for every company and can certainly be abused by persistent customers, but in general, it makes customers feel better. If customers can talk to or write to someone they feel confident in, they tend to feel better about having to contact customer service. In my experience, the representatives that do this most successfully tell customers to go through the normal support procedures first and email them personally if someone goes wrong. Surprisingly, most customers do honor this.

For the customers that don’t honor that simple agreement, the best thing for the representative to do is gently nudge them towards the standard support mediums. They submit a ticket for the customer or forward their request to support and send the customer a quick note explaining what they did. If the representative does this consistently and only helps when things don’t go well, then it reinforces the relationship of helping when things don’t go well.

Some companies choose only to give out personal email addresses if the customer is a particularly important customer or if the customer has had a lot of problems in the past. This is fine, too. The point is to give customers extra attention if they need it and to prevent relatively minor issues from escalating into big issues.