The Step by Step Guide to Support Email

This is a simple guide stating the proper etiquette and procedure for replying to support email. It’s mostly “little things” and it definitely assumes that you are able to do the technical end of the job (i. e. the actual fixing). As always, suggestions and feedback are welcomed.

Address all customers by name.
Make an effort to address customers by name. If they don’t mention their name, look for clues (i. e. their name is in the email address) or look up the account using the email address, account number, etc.

Thank the customer for contacting your company.
Tell the customer “Thank you for contacting Company XYZ.”

Offer apologies/recognitions as appropriate.
The next part of your email should apologize for inconveniences, thank them for their sign up, or whatever. Be sure to be empathetic. Something quick like “I apologize for any inconveniences related to your web site being down. I truly understand how frustrating that can be and am sorry that this happened.”

Offer to help.
After apologizing and/or recognizing, offer to help. Lines like “I’d be more than happy to help you do that”, “It would be pleasure to assist you with X”, and so on are great. They show that you want to help and that you are going to be friendly about it.

Offer a fix/solution/etc.
Offer a fix, solution, or anything of the sort. This is the actual content of your support email.

Offer an explanation about the cause.
The next step is to offer an explanation about what caused the issue. You’ll want to explain who or what caused it and why.

Explain why it won’t happen again.
As soon as you say what caused the problem, explain why it won’t happen again. Mention all of the steps you took to ensure that the problem will never happen again. If you can’t make such guarantees, say why.

Thank them for contacting your company (again).
Sometimes being redundant is a good thing.

Offer to help further.
Do the standard “If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.” line. It may be helpful to state the hours that you are available or similar information.

Offer personal contact information.
Sometimes offering personal contact information can give the customer additional confidence. Something like “If you wish to contact me directly, my email address is x@xyz.com. Alternatively, you can call me at 123-456-7891.” never hurts.

Signature.
A nice (but still brief) signature should close out the email. Either have your entire name (first and last) or just your first. It looks kind of odd when you do first name, last initial.

Sometime over the next week or so I’ll post a sample “perfect” email that includes all of these steps.

3 Responses to “The Step by Step Guide to Support Email”

  1. What Do You Need, Customer Service? » The Web Hosting Show said:

    May 16, 07 at 7:23 am

    […] The Step by Step Guide to Support Email […]

  2. xps-hosting.com » Blog Archive » What Do You Need, Customer Service? said:

    Jul 17, 07 at 4:11 pm

    […] The Step by Step Guide to Support Email […]

  3. Service Untitled » The Technical Person’s Guide to Customer Service - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Sep 17, 08 at 10:48 pm

    […] customer service themselves. For more reading on this subject, check out this post (general) and this post (specific). « Feedback Survey from Skype   Related […]