Every company's greatest assets are its customers because without customers there is no company – Michael LeBoeuf
Customers are not just always right they are also always inquisitive. In every business, there are questions with respect to products and services. If the producers had asked a series of questions through the line of production with respect to what they produce, it should not come as a surprise that customers would have so much more. Besides, you (and/or your company) would like a feedback, in any form, to reassure you that your customers are satisfied with your product(s) and/or services. And knowing one of the fastest means of communication is email, customers would not hold back to ask questions to ease any ambiguity, confusion or worries they have about your product and/or services.
After receiving such emails, a reply is expected. This should not throw you into any frenzy at all; neither should you be too eager to send a reply. The following steps should guide you through writing a reply. And if you already know, these steps should help you refine your reply.
Read And Understand
There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them- Ray Bradbury.
This may come as a surprise, but with so much workload on your hand and activities to attend to, it is not unusual to overlook some emails or postpone reading them. Aside from that, it is not uncommon to assume you know the content of the email. That will be totally wrong, as it will cause a big damage to your company (and its reputation) should you send a wrong response to an obvious question.
For instance, a customer sent an email inquiring how to get the latest version of your company's anti-virus software but you went ahead to send a reply on where he/she can get his laptop fixed.
Any fool can know. The point is to understand- Albert Einstein
And don't just read the customers' emails; take your time to understand their questions. Sometimes, a customer may not be explicit in his/her questions; it is for you to decipher what he/she meant, absolutely, by the question. This will help you give the right answer and information.
If you do not understand the request, inquiry or question, send a reply requesting the customer shed more light on his/her questions.
Get The Appropriate Answer
Information can tell us everything. It has all the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked, and which doubtless don't even arise. – Jean Baudrillard
Having carefully read and understood your customer's question(s), the next step is to get (if you do not already have) answers to his/her questions. If getting the answers to the questions would take a while, be proactive as to send a reply stating the receipt of the email and stating that the information he/she requested will be sent shortly.
So, you have read your customers' emails, you understand and know the answers to his/her questions; the next thing to do is to write him/her a reply.
If the customer had included his/her name and/or title in the email, endeavor to address him/her as such in your reply. Do not address him as ‘Dear Customer'.
Address him/her in person, e.g.
- Dear Mr. Victor Smith,
- Dear Ms. Rachel Von Schmidt,
- Dear John Snow
Only when his/her name was not included should you address him/her as:
- Dear Sir or Dear Madam
Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement- James Cash Penney
You should not jump into the writing just yet. In constructing your reply, you need to be polite. Yes! The customer might have been rude in his email; it does not mean you should return the favor. No! That would give your company a bad reputation. You must always be polite.
Ease The Stress
More often than not, not knowing how something works could be frustrating, so you should understand your clients and be quick to ease the confusion-induced stress. Make him/her calm in as few words as possible before giving the answers to his/her inquiries.
A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist- Vladimir Nabokov
Your customers want answers, not stories. Knowing this, your reply should be as brief and precise as possible.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough- Albert Einstein
In your quest to be brief, try to avoid being ambiguous. Ambiguity could be what got the customer confused in the first instance. So, be precise, yet simple. Do not use jargon. Layman words are more appropriate.
All’s well that ends well- William Shakespeare
End your email courteously. For instance
- We are sorry for the inconvenience (his/her questions) may have caused.
- We hope the information given was helpful.
- It is hoped that the answers provided were helpful. If you need information on any other services provided by our company, please do not hesitate to forward them to me
- Have a nice day.
- Enjoy the rest of your day.
The following are some templates on how to reply customers' questions via email:
Template I for Replying Customers' Questions Via Email
Dear Ms. Fiona Whitaker,
Your email was received requesting information on how best to dispose of the Flora Sanitary Pad. You also added that this is the first time you are using it.
Please, you should not be embarrassed as we are here to tend to your needs whatever it may be; as long as it is within the scope of our services. Nonetheless, I would like you to clarify “this is the first time you are using it”. Do you mean this is the first time you are using our sanitary pad? Or this is the first time you are using any sanitary pad at all?
These questions were asked so as to give you the best answers. Nonetheless, it is best you wrap the used sanitary pad in a tissue paper or any biodegradable disposable and dispose of properly in a waste bin. Do not flush down the toilet.
Please check the outer part of the pack for other information on how to use the Flora Sanitary Pad.
Do have a nice day.
Customer Care Officer.
Template II for Replying Customers' Questions Via Email
Mr. Jack Meyer,
We are sorry you have not been able to locate the USB port in the latest brand of our flat screen TV you just purchased. The USB port is located at the back of the TV on the bottom left part. For accurate location, check the TV manual that came with the TV. In case you cannot find the manual, another has been attached to this email.
Thank you for your understanding.
Head, Customer Care Services
Template III for Replying Customers' Questions Via Email
Dear Ada Petgrave,
We received your email requesting how to activate the internet services on your phone. You added that your phone number is +2348133509119.
I want you to know that this is not uncommon, and there is nothing wrong with your phone. The activation codes and settings will be sent to you within the hour. When you get it, save it and click activate. Once this is done, the internet services will be activated.
For further questions on other services, please send me an email or check any of the frequently asked questions (FAQ's) on our website(www.toplinks.com )
Also, you could help us assess our customer care services and respond by filling the form attached to this email.
We hope we have been able to keep you at the top with your links.
Thank you for your patronage.
Customer Care Officer,
In conclusion, remember that the object of a question is to obtain information that matters to us and no one else. Also, profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them. And one way this can happen is when they have an almost absolute understanding of your product and/or services.
So, answer your customers' questions as best and fast as they can be answered.