Writing Better Support Emails (for Humans)

Writing Better Support Emails (for Humans)

Chase Clemons (currently rocking customer support at 37signals) has written an ebook  full of practical advice about writing world-class customer service emails. Some of his best points and examples are summarized in this post. We think these techniques will be particularly useful for small companies, where everyone on the team might be handling customer service and support requests.

Use the customer’s name if you can — and always say thank you.

Don’t you prefer that? And thanking people is a good idea, particularly when there are plenty of other companies customers might have chosen.

Talk like they do.

Don’t use formal writing or words that you wouldn’t use in real life (like “inquiry” and “correspondence”) Write like you would write to a friend.

Short, simple sentences reign.

Break up long paragraphs into readable ones. They’re reading an email, not a novel.

For feature ideas, repeat their idea and relate to it if you can.

This shows them that you actually read their email and didn’t just skip over it.

If you can, tell them about new features.

This shows that your team is always working on their behalf!

When you write about a step-by-step process, be clear.

Divide or “chunk” information visually to make it easy to follow.

Remember, though, that it’s not always necessary to use a numbered list. If you don’t need to, just write a letter; it’s more approachable.

Close your email on a highlight.

“Happy Friday” or other date-specific comments let them know you’re writing the email on that day. If you see they have an auburn.edu email address, for example, throw in a “Go Tigers!” or other tidbit.

Chase must be doing something right — 37signals consistently shows a very high level of customer satisfaction! Visit Support Ops (a community devoted to bringing
humanity back to the world of customer support) or find them on Twitter.

Shoutout to ebook designers Nick Francis and Jared McDaniel of Help Scout.

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