Despite the popularity of instant messaging, chat, and social media, you shouldn't give up on email just yet. Electronic mail remains one of the best, most cost-effective tools for marketing. In addition, email support is a reliable workhorse in the customer service industry. When used for personal purposes, sending and receiving emails usually doesn’t convey a false sense of urgency. After all, most people typically don’t use email when they need to get an urgent response.
Why Email Remains King of Messaging
Sure, messaging apps are probably faster and more fun when it comes to maintaining conversations, but email has a lot more to offer than speed and social interactions.
Email Is the Great Equalizer
Unlike apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, email offers users a fuller sense of independence from the app itself. For example, in order to talk to other Facebook users, you need to create an account and install the app. In contrast, you can create an email through any domain and send it to others without any problems.
Email Is Censorship-Resistant
Social media is well-known for its vulnerability to cancel culture and censorship. A not-so-democratic state could easily shut down an app for not conforming to its ideals. Social media platforms often cave to public pressure and ban accounts that get called out. When was the last time you saw someone’s email get in trouble? If your email ever gets in trouble, you can just simply create a new account.
Email Is Less Intrusive
If you think junk email is annoying, just wait till your phone gets bombarded with junk SMS texts. Instant messaging apps often like to point out that they have a better click rate than email. In fact, SMS marketer Tatango reports that instant messages have a 99% open rate, with an additional 90% of messages opened within three minutes. While these numbers may seem great, many users find it annoying to receive unsolicited messages. Unlike email which can filter junk submissions, SMS users risk losing the messages they waited for when they deactivate SMS alerts.
Advantages of Email Over Other Channels
While email is great for marketing, it also plays a very important role in customer service. The medium offers a number of features that make it the ideal channel for dealing with customer inquiries.
With emails, customers can write out all of their inquiries and complaints. Email serves as an instant paper trail for companies that are wanting to document and track all external communications. Email also allows customers to have an instant record of their exchanges with customer service agents.
Allows for Larger and More Attachments
Customers who document their reported issues can easily attach images, videos, or other documents that add more credence to their points. In contrast, chat apps impose restrictions on file sizes or document types when accepting attachments.
Customers Can Reply At Their Own Convenience
Unlike chat or phone channels, email allows customers to reply at their own time and pace. Busy customers with mild concerns can track their inquiries and reply to emails at their own convenience. This is a welcome change from being put on hold for minutes or getting replies at somewhat inconvenient times.
4 Ways Email Support Can Improve Customer Service
Despite the many channels available to connect with clients, many customer service teams still depend on email for a good bulk of their interactions. Email support provides an efficient and highly personalized medium that many customers appreciate. In particular, email support improves customer service interactions in four ways.
#1. It Allows You To Connect With Your Customers
As one of the most widely-available channels, email allows you to easily connect with customers. Companies can utilize email to connect with customers as they try to address their concerns. This form of asynchronous support provides customers with a means to communicate with companies without having to stay on their phones.
Instead, customers can post their questions or share their experiences via email. They can then go about their day and check their inbox for a reply. Even if the company zealously replies to email inquiries within a few minutes of receipt, the sender is under no obligation to reply within an imposed time limit.
A Single Email Address Can Start The Ball Rolling
As part of their routine advertising, many companies will include an email address alongside their website. This can serve as a non-imposing gateway for customers to initiate a conversation with the company. When nurtured the right way, a casual email inquiry can turn into both a sale and a long-lasting customer relationship.
Email support also offers a very cost-effective method of sending updates or new offers to clients and prospects. The time it takes to send information by email remains the same regardless of the number of customers subscribed to the mailing list. In addition, there is no limit to the level of detail that an email can offer to customers.
For data-obsessed companies, any emails received by customer service can also serve as an initial record of a future customer transaction. Successful emails can provide customers with these services:
- Promotions and special deals announcements,
- Reminders to renew expiring memberships or redeem unclaimed rewards,
- And announcements of product launches, important policy changes, price increases, or stock availability.
#2: Email Support Acts As An Extension of Your Marketing
Marketing campaigns can use email support to increase selling opportunities. Customer service agents are often in a good position to upsell or cross-sell products the moment they successfully resolve a client’s issue. Following through with email offers can get a more positive result during these occasions.
Sending email reminders to customers who abandoned their shopping carts might just trigger them to reconsider making a purchase. Using the right mix of words and imagery (and maybe an offer to make the purchase price a little lower) can sometimes turn an abandoned cart into an even bigger sale.
The Trick Is Email Automation
Email support via automation is the culprit behind many sales victories. Smart companies have realized that some buyers only need a little push at just the right moment to proceed with a sale. They identified certain situations that might need some email support to convince customers to reconsider their buying decisions. What are those triggers? Here are some of these scenarios:
- Submitting an expired promotional code or joining a sale too late,
- Finding wanted items not available in desired color/size/price,
- Wanting just one item that’s part of a bundle/collection,
- And abandoning their cart before completing the sale.
In these cases, an email sent at just the right time might still save the sale. It can contain a convincing reminder to make clients feel a sense of urgency. For example, the email might say that the item they wanted will soon go out of stock due to demand. Or, that a price increase is imminent due to supply constraints. Alternatively, companies can send an email that contains offers for additional discounts or free shipping if the customer reconsiders the purchase. Together, timing and a well-written email can provide the knockout punch to make the waffling customer decide to buy.
#3. It Helps You Build Your Reputation
Today’s buyers are all about the experience. At this point, companies know that bad customer service can either kill a sale or prevent repeat business. Conversely, companies that get glowing reviews for their customer service are more likely to keep getting repeat business.
How does email support fit the narrative? How companies answer customer inquiries often indicates the quality of service they’re willing to give. You can often tell which companies are less than committed to a great customer experience by the way they craft their email policies and responses.
Ask for Permission Before Sending Emails
This is basic courtesy. Companies should always ask for permission before putting you on a mailing list. If a company didn’t bother asking for your permission before sending email offers, rest assured they also won’t ask before sharing your address with someone else.
In fairness, getting permission is not only the right thing to do, but it can also bump up your email marketing success rate. When consumers agree to join your email list, they are more likely to open emails and read them. Conversely, adding email addresses that have yet to agree to your email list can increase the number of recipients that automatically label your email as junk. These buyers will also likely ignore your future marketing efforts regardless of channel.
Make Your Customer Service Emails Worth Reading
Once you get permission to send emails to willing customers, you might as well make it worth their while to read the material you send. Making each email a bit more personal by using the buyer’s actual name is easy thanks to automation. In addition, use conversational language when recapping the customer's original inquiry or when addressing any concerns.
Finally, avoid making vague statements, especially when dealing with time and resolution. Writing things like “we hope to resolve the matter soon” or “we’re still trying to determine the cause” will only increase suspicion that you have no idea how to fix things. Instead, offer a hard deadline and provide a real update if the matter has yet to get a resolution. Otherwise, you risk alienating the customer while the matter remains unresolved.
#4: It Improves the Customer Experience
Resolving customer problems is just one of the many benefits that come with great email support. Whether in marketing or customer service, you should leverage email support to enhance your customers’ engagement with your brand.
Hyper-Personalize the Content You Send
Addressing recipients by their first name should be just the beginning of your personalization efforts. Try to get more insights into what your customers want to see in their email inboxes, as well as what products and services they want to learn more about. Sending a survey is one way to gather more information about their likes and dislikes. Be sure to add a sweetener like a discount coupon or free shipping in order to entice users to participate.
Retain The Presence of Choice Throughout
While hyper-personalizing email content can increase engagement, not everybody will find it to their liking. In fact, even the frequency of email deliveries can vary from person to person. Providing options for customers to choose from gives them better control over what content to add, view, or drop. Companies should also consider making opting out an easy process in order to minimize ruffled feathers.
Maintain Communication on Both Levels
Email isn’t the exclusive domain of a single department, so don’t focus your efforts on one area. Even though it might seem tempting to bombard customers with promo offers and events, make sure to make room for customers to engage in inquiries and questions. When asked, you need to be able to address individual concerns and provide personalized advice.
Outsource Customer Support with Helpware
Companies looking to improve their customer experience should consider boosting their customer support services, including email support. Helpware offers the most cost-effective alternative for outsourcing your needs. We provide highly trained and fully-capable customer service professionals to deliver the quality of service your customers deserve. Helpware ensures that, regardless of your company’s existing systems, we will find the right mix of tech stack and personnel to immediately create an impact on your customer service efforts.
Allow us to help your clients receive amazing customer service experiences. Book a meeting now. We’ll be glad to learn more about your company and explore how we can assemble and develop the best customer service team together.