Big companies and small business alike often answer letters and emails with dull form letters that make customers feel like a number rather than a valued client. You may have even fallen victim to this yourself. Ever sent in a complaint letter to a company only to receive a “thank you for writing” and a coupon – apologies not included? Sure, they can probably retain some customers by offering a couple bucks in savings, but for me, that’s a major turn-off. The company didn’t address my specific issue – in fact, I’m not even sure they read the letter I took precious time out of my day to type.
With form letter responses a common customer support practice, this is a great opportunity for you to stand out among the masses and show your customers just how much you care. Setting up templates in FuseDesk saves plenty of time, but don’t forget to personalize your response in a way that lets your customers know you’ve actually taken their individual feedback into account.
Model Customer Support
A fantastic example of personalized customer support is this true story about a letter that was sent from a 3 ½ -year-old girl named Lily – with mom and dad’s help, of course – to Sainsbury’s, one of London’s largest grocery store chains. With no pressing issues and one simple, relatively insignificant question being asked, Sainsbury’s could have gotten away with avoiding a response. One ignored customer wouldn’t have put a damper on their market shares. However, they recognized an opportunity to show Lily’s parents how much they appreciate their business and support, even when it comes from their littlest customers – and that made a much larger impact.
Not only did Sainsbury’s take the time to craft a personalized response appropriate for the little girl, they answered her question and gave her parents reason to continue patronizing the company. This speaks volumes for Sainsbury’s. While they probably have hundreds or even thousands of letters, emails and phone calls to deal with in their queue, they seem to consider all requests important and handle them with the same level of customer support.
The Name Game
So how can you make your own customers feel as special as Lily did? Here’s one easy way – use their name! Starting an email with “Dear Customer” is an instant turn-off and a hint that they’ve been sent a very impersonal form response.
Remember back in school when your teachers made you answer a question by repeating the question? (i.e. “Why did you like reading Harry Potter?” “I liked reading Harry Potter because…”) Crafting a response by using the customer’s own words, like in the Sainsbury’s example above, is a great way to show you’ve actually read their comments. Plus, answering in a conversational tone makes customers feel comfortable, whereas a strictly formal voice can make a company seem downright frosty.
Take it a Step Further
Sometimes you’ll get an email from a “Chatty Cathy” whose message is a little TMI. “I’ve just got to get such-and-such working before my youngest daughter’s wedding in San Diego or I just don’t know what I’ll do!” Not only do you have the opportunity to be a hero and reduce stress by helping this customer out in time, but you can send along your well wishes for an unforgettable wedding day and beautiful life together. Put yourself on the opposite side of that email. Now that’s a company that really cares.
It only takes a minute to listen to the individual feedback and needs of your customers and personalize your response. Happy customers provide word of mouth and word of mouth is a phenomenal marketing tool – can you imagine how Sainsbury’s business is booming after the above letter is making the rounds? Personalized service is priceless.