I’m a mompreneur with a full-time business, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. So, I shop online. A lot. (For real. My kids use Amazon Prime boxes as building blocks.)
Shopping online is super convenient. However, whenever you make purchases through a computer screen — purchases that must then be shipped in a box through various locations to reach your doorstep — you’re bound to run into some issues.
Which means, at some point, you’re calling or emailing customer service. And this correspondence either goes one of two ways: super easy, or super annoying.
Last week, I had two customer service email encounters. And while the brands were pretty similar, the emails I received — and therefore, the service I experienced — were pretty darn different.
The first example comes from The Honest Company — a company I love, trust, and have a monthly subscription with. Jessica Alba is practically my BFF and mompreneur soul sister (in my head, anyway).
Last week, I received my monthly box o’ goodies, and one of the products (a bag of oxy-boost laundry packs) was damaged. So, I emailed customer service. Here’s what I got back, shortly after I hit “send”:
This email made me happy — and not just because of the adorable butterfly. Why?
Because here’s the response I got earlier that day from a similar company (non-toxic personal care products) that I won’t name. I emailed this company because they had left an item out of my order, but I was billed for it.
This one didn’t make me mad. It made me meh. And that’s almost worse.
These two emails, in the same day, reminded me that one of the sneakiest places bad copywriting can hide is in these automated emails that you set and forget. The ones that seem so much less important than your latest marketing or sales email. The ones that are easy to justify as straightforward, functional correspondences.
The truth is, these types of emails — the straightforward, functional types — are where your brand should shine, not shy away.
The second response is not BAD. But it’s not good. And it misses out on an opportunity that The Honest Company capitalized on.
So what is the difference between these two emails, and how can you make your customer service emails (or other transaction-based correspondences) brand worthy?
Here are four quick copyedits you can make to improve these emails, today:
1. Show some brand personality.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget about your brand’s voice and tone when you’re writing a correspondence that can be very utilitarian. So read through your current customer service content and ask yourself: are there opportunities to add in some spark? Can we relay this information with a little creativity?
Something as simple as The Honest Company’s “With delight” salutation says a lot about the company brand. And the butterfly graphic makes the message warm and friendly.
2. Make it personal.
I don’t just mean address the recipient by name. The content of the email should feel like it’s coming from a real person, rather than a generic “customer service department”.
For example, The Honest Company includes phrases like “I am so sorry”; “I went ahead and…”; “anything else I can help…”. This makes it feel like Mallory was empowered to directly address my needs and concerns as quickly as possible — while, in email #2, it feels like whoever received my email must run my request by some higher-ups for approval. And the “your question or comment is important to us” makes it feel like, eh, it’s not really that important to them.
3. Cut out extra steps.
The thing I really appreciated about The Honest Company email is that it addressed my concerns and provided a solution in one email. I didn’t have to think about it again.
The second email, however, was a stock response that left me hanging. The bold line “Please do not reply directly to this email!” was off-putting (Why are you yelling at me? I’m not replying, I promise!). And when I did get a follow-up response (cough-three days later-cough), it asked me for additional information about my purchase.
The key here: make your customer service correspondences serve your customers. Make it simple and mindless. Because everyone has better things to do than to get involved in an email chain about non-toxic household cleaners.
4. Go above and beyond.
When The Honest Company writes “I hope you’ve had a lovely Monday!”, they’re not only being friendly — they’re also proactively trying to diffuse any anger the complaining customer may be experiencing. How could you be mad at Mallory after this helpful, cheerful reply?
Remember, just because it’s a functional email doesn’t mean it can’t include additional helpful or just plain nice information. Think about ways you can create a connection with the recipient, or deepen your relationship. Because every single interaction with your brand — whether transactional or social or in person — makes an impact on your customer relationship. Make that impact count.
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