Can You Guess Everything Wrong with This Customer Service Email?

Somethings make you shake your head in disbelief. One of those things was a message from a friend of mine. She had purchased a brand name device to record TV shows. However, there were problems connecting it to her television.

So, she used the customer service email listed on the device’s company website. Their emailed auto response made her livid. Knowing I specialize in customer service and sales skills, she forwarded the email to me. Here are some of the “Highlights” (or lowlights) of how this company responds to their customers.

 

"Please do not reply to this email as it is not monitored.”

That is a textbook illustration of how NOT to handle email inquires. Never use a "Do not reply" email address. After all, the whole point of offering email customer service is to answer inquiries. The easiest way for customers to respond is to hit, "Reply.” Asking customers to enter a different company email address increases customer effort.

 

“For us to serve you better, we will need the following information:  Case # _______ (if you do not have a Case # please call 1-800-xxx-xxxx)”

Why would a company invite customer service emails, if you first need to phone customer service open a “Case #?” This increases customer effort and drives more calls to their contact center.

 

The company asks for, “A very detailed explanation of the defect and what is not happening and what is happening.”

Asking customers to compose “A very detailed explanation” of what is wrong with their product demands increased customer effort. In response, frustrated customers may pick up the phone rather than author an essay. This will drive more calls to their contact center. It also increases the risk of misunderstandings, since customers may not know how to sort relevant information regarding, “What is not happening and what is happening.”

 

The company’s email asks for a “Mandatory model # and serial #”

Wow! The word, “Mandatory” does not sound customer friendly. In fact, language used throughout this “customer service” auto response is “company focused” rather than customer centric. Also, their email does not mention how to find the “Mandatory” model number and serial number on their product!

 

“Without the correct model and serial # we will not be able to provide technical support.”

In other words, if a customer does not enter that information (which the company will not help them find), they apparently will not get any help. This is extremely negative language. A customer friendly version would read, “For faster results, please include the model # and serial #. You can find this information on the bottom of every product.”

 

“We look forward to hearing back from you.”

Really? Then why is this customer service response so unfriendly? Why does it discourage customers from using email as a service channel? Why does it seem designed to drive more calls to the contact center? In addition, there are no reassurance statements such as, "We will response within X hours to your email." So, after finding the “mandatory” model # and serial #, writing a free form essay to describe the problem and sending it to a different company email address, there is no timeline given for a response! This will drive more calls to their contact center, as frustrated customers give up using email as a “Customer service” channel.

 

In this case, my friend shared the email with me, posted it on social media and vowed to never buy from that company again! 

 

Mike Aoki-medium size
Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc. (http://www.reflectivekeynotes.com), a training company that helps contact centers improve their sales and customer retention results. A contact center expert, Mike serves on the advisory council of the Greater Toronto Area Contact Center Association and was Master of Ceremonies for five of their Annual Conferences. He was also chosen by ICMI.com as one of the “Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leaders on Twitter” for the past five years. 

 
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