When you’ve worked in support for a while, especially for the same company, it can feel like Groundhog Day. You feel like you answer the same questions day in and day out. That’s because you probably are!
But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Practice makes perfect and setting yourself the challenge to improve keeps you interested.
There are always things you could be doing better in your conversations. Here we look at some of the common support requests you’re likely to receive, the best way to respond to them, and how to create evergreen resources to make it easier for others in your team.
3 common emails support receive:
In my experience, most emails we receive in support fall into into three buckets:
- I love you, but here are the things that you need to change.
- I hate your product and I’m really angry.
- I am a new user, do you have XYZ thing?
Have you seen these emails or something that looks like them before? Probably.
Even if there’s some slight variation in the customer’s tone, for example they’re really upset right now, but actually enjoy the product for the most part, you can use these classifications to help you formulate the exact recipe for success in your response.
Using just three components you can almost always get the customer from unhappy to successful in a few short emails.
Components of a support email
You can respond to every email using some variation in the order of these three components. Think of them as the flour, water and eggs in your cake, and everything else as the flavoring or frosting. These components are:
- Acknowledge the issue they are bringing up
- Align with them, let them know you’ve heard what they are saying.
- Assure them you are taking steps to fix this issue, or have spoken to someone who can.
And make sure to greet them genially, make them feel welcome to email back if there’s anything else they are curious about.
Here’s an example of how this would look for each of the sample emails above:
As you can see, there are many variations of the same three things:
- Acknowledging that, yes, the customer has a valid issue or question
- Aligning with the customer and letting them know you heard and understand their inquiry
- Assuring the customer you will help them find a solution if you haven’t already
Barring any outside situation beyond the three main categories above, this technique provides you with a simple template to answer questions efficiently, effectively, and put a smile on your customers’ faces.
How you can make it easier
There are ways you can make this simple method even easier by making evergreen content to support both internal and external customers.
They include saved replies, public and internal documentation. An internal style guide can save you time and energy while still providing your customers with a stellar experience.
Create saved reply templates
Saved replies (or macros) can feel smarmy if done incorrectly—you can almost always tell when you are the recipient of one, as it feels like the person “responding” didn’t even take the time to read your inquiry.
Use saved replies as chunks of emails, rather than the whole thing.
If you find yourself writing the same blurb in response to feature requests, save it for use later.
You can do this using a tool like Text Expander, if you feel the saved reply would only be beneficial for you. Or you can include it in the software you use to respond to conversations if your team would benefit from its use.
Using prewritten responses saves more than time and effort. They ensure you are giving a quality response every time.
You’ve already read the saved reply for tone and ensured that you have no grammatical errors.
To take this one step further, go over each commonly-used saved reply with your team and get everyone’s feedback on it to make sure it is bullet proof.
Use documentation to answer simple queries
Creating documentation that can be found via an easy Google search will help minimize the number of newbie questions that you get, but it will also add additional resources for you to use in your responses to customers.
Rather than writing out a whole paragraph in response or creating a new saved reply, create documentation that explains the issue. That way, customers that aren’t reaching out to you via email. They can find the information whenever they need it. You can also link to it if and when someone ends up reaching out.
A style guide creates consistent support
Create a style guide for your team. This is helpful because it ensures that you have a cohesive methodology for how you deal with customers.
It allows you to pass down tools and tricks of the trade (like Acknowledge, Align, Assure) to new team members without having to reiterate it every time.
Your style guide should include everything from “How do we feel about emojis?” to “How to respond if a customer is swearing at you?”
Make this a part of your onboarding and these strategies will become second-nature to your team.
Great support emails create great experiences
Even if you’re a seasoned support pro, you can always take a second to assess your own strengths and weaknesses and see what you could be doing better.
Rhetorically, acknowledging, aligning and assuring is one of the most solid ways to give your customer a great experience.
Play around with the ways that you can use each of them in your common responses and adding them to existing saved replies. Then watch your CSAT soar.