10 Best Practices to Write Customer Service Emails

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10 Best Practices to Write Customer Service Emails

Jul 11, 2024
10 min read

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Till date, email remains one of the most important customer service channels. It’s pretty common to see customers email companies their queries and complaints, and these emails being converted into tickets.

But a very important part of handling this communication channel is knowing how to respond to customer service emails. 

Email responses that are jargon-heavy or vague can make customers frustrated. You need to empathize with customers and most importantly, know how to account for non-verbal communication cues.

Good customer service emails are easy to understand, and help customers achieve what they’re looking for. In this post, we’ll share tips and templates for writing such emails.

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Table of Contents

What are Customer Service Emails?

Customer service emails are written responses from a company to a customer’s inquiry, complaint, or request, aiming to resolve issues or provide information. These communications are a key part of maintaining good customer relationships by offering support and solutions through email.

Importance of Great Customer Service Emails

It’s vital to understand email etiquette for customer support. Great customer service emails are important for several key reasons. 

  • Customer Satisfaction: Well-crafted emails can resolve issues efficiently, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Brand Reputation: Such emails reflect the company’s commitment to quality service, influencing the public perception and reputation of the brand.
  • Customer Retention: By addressing concerns and providing a positive experience, great emails encourage customers to continue doing business with the company.
  • Issue Resolution: Effective email communication helps in resolving problems quickly, reducing the likelihood of escalation and further complications.
  • Cost-Effective Support: Email support is often more cost-effective compared to phone or in-person support, allowing for detailed, documented responses that can be managed efficiently.
  • Building Relationships: Personalized, thoughtful responses help build stronger relationships with customers and drive higher engagement.

Did You Know: 72% of customers switch brands after just one negative experience.

Recommended Read

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10 Best Practices of Customer Service Emails

Here are some email communication best practices and some best customer service email tips. 

1. Be Human

There is nothing customers detest more than feeling like they are talking to a robot. 

Though automation in customer service is on the rise, every email should sound like it’s coming from an actual person. But that’s not always the case. 

The moment we set out to write emails, our language changes. We become more formal and include complex sentence structures and jargon in our writing. We end up writing emails that sound robotic like the one below:


We have just received your request. We will get back to you within 2 business days. For the record, your support ticket number is ABC235. Please present it for all future correspondence.


The Support Team.” 

An email like this simply doesn’t cut it. You should develop friendly and empathetic email writing skills. Bear in mind that when a customer reaches out to you, you are not just trying to solve their problem, but also trying to build a stronger relationship. 

Now take a look at a better version of the same email.

Hey Nathan, 

I am really sorry you had to spend time figuring this out. I understand this must be frustrating for you. 

I’ve relayed this to our product team already. Allow me to get back to you in 2 to 3 hours. 

Cheers, June 

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to make your emails sound more personal: 

  • Use the customer’s name – it shows that you see them as real people with real issues. 
  • Use your name – not just the company’s name. It makes you look more human.
  • Include an emoji here and there, it creates warmth and puts your customer at ease. 
  • Feel free to add your picture to the signature. This is a great way to establish trust with your users. If you are not up for it, you could draw your signature out and add it to your email.

2. Use FAQ Articles in Emails

There are numerous instances where customer queries can be efficiently resolved through self-service options like how-to guides and instructional videos. These resources empower customers to find solutions independently, without waiting for a response from customer service representatives.

However, when a customer makes the effort to reach out to you via email, it it implies one of these things:

  • The customer couldn’t find the answer they were looking for.
  • The customer would the answer on your knowledge base but it wasn’t sufficient. 
  • The customer isn’t aware that you have a self help section.

In such cases, it’s important to assess the nature of the customer query and respond accordingly.

While it’s practical to guide customers towards self-help resources for common and straightforward issues, the way you do this matters significantly. Instead of bluntly directing them to a help page, a more tactful approach involves addressing their query directly in the email, then gently guiding them to additional resources for more information or future reference. 

Here’s how you can write the email: 

3. Personalize Emails

Personalization in customer service emails is about crafting messages that resonate on a personal level with the customer. Personalization is about making customers feel seen, heard, and valued as individuals, not just as another ticket number.

It transforms generic communication into a tailored experience by addressing the customer by name, acknowledging their unique needs, preferences, and history with your company. 

Here’s why personalization is so important:

  • Customers are more likely to engage with emails that speak directly to them and reflect an understanding of their specific situation.
  • Personalization demonstrates attentiveness and commitment, fostering trust between the customer and the company.
  • By addressing the customer’s unique situation and history, you can provide more accurate and quicker solutions.
  • Satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences, attracting new customers.

Here’s how you write the email: 

4. Apologize When Necessary

Acknowledging that your business has made a mistake and taking responsibility for it is a critical component of customer service. It shows empathy, accountability, and a commitment to resolving the issue. Here’s how to effectively incorporate apologies into your customer service communications:

  • Acknowledge Customer Feelings: Start by recognizing the customer’s distress. This demonstrates empathy and understanding, which can help defuse frustration. Here’s an example: “I understand how upsetting this must be for you, and I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
  • Take Responsibility: If your company is at fault, clearly acknowledge it. Avoid making excuses or deflecting blame, as this can further aggravate the situation. Example: “We take full responsibility for [specific issue]. It’s not the experience we aim to provide, and we are genuinely sorry for the oversight.”
  • Use Empathetic Language: Phrases that convey understanding and empathy can be very effective in calming an upset customer and building a connection. You can always say: “I completely understand why you’re upset. This isn’t what we want our customers to go through, and I am sorry that it has been your experience.”
  • Provide Assurance: Assure the customer that you are taking steps to prevent the issue from recurring. This shows commitment to service improvement. Example: “We are actively working to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Here are the steps we’re taking: [briefly outline actions].”
  • Offer a Solution: After apologizing, immediately offer a way to make things right. Be clear about how you intend to resolve the issue. Use words like: “To make up for this, we would like to [offer a solution or compensation]. We hope this helps to address the inconvenience you’ve experienced.”

By incorporating these practices into your apology emails, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one, potentially restoring the customer’s faith in your company and preventing future issues. 

Here’s a sample apology email:

Easily Create Email Templates With Hiver

5. Avoid Imperatives

If you are not sure what imperatives are, they are words that sound like instructions or commands — “do this” or “do that”

Here is where you can go wrong: “Go to the dashboard and press on the gear icon that you see on the top right”

You’d rather say: “Could you please head to the dashboard and click on the gear icon that you see in the top right corner?”

See the difference? The second response is more polite and friendly, putting the reader at ease.

Apart from imperatives, here are a few negative phrases to avoid:

  • “You claim that” 
  • “You must” 
  • “You should” 

These words are bound to make your customers feel uncomfortable or put forth your business as one that’s rude. 

Instead, you might want to use the below phrases in your emails to give a positive spin to your message:

  • “You’d want to” 
  • “May we suggest”
  • “We can assist you with (the task) if you could please send us (the information).” 

When you begin to use positive and encouraging words, you start to see a difference in the way customers respond to you. 

119 Email Phrases to Help You Get the Desired Response

6. Keep It Simple

Many times customer service emails look like instruction manuals. They don’t make life easy for your customers who are looking for quick and easy steps to resolve their issues. 

Before you set out to write an email to a customer, take a moment and think if it is going to help them in any way. Incorporating an upscale image technique into your email communications can transform the visual experience for the customer, making instructions clearer and more engaging.

Incorporating an upscale image technique into your email communications can transform the visual experience for the customer, making instructions clearer and more engaging.

Ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • Does the customer have to follow a particular sequence?
  • Does the customer have to check or do something before they get to the core of the problem?
  • Are there more ways than one to start solving a problem?

If yes, do write the email in that order. Use bullet points or number the steps for easy reading. When you write your reply in a long paragraph, you are not helping their cause. 

Also, it’s important to go over all the pre-checks before plunging into the solution. It can be something as insignificant as checking if they have the right browser— but you would still want to start with that. 

Here’s a sample email:

7. Leave no room for confusion

When a customer reaches out for help, they are often looking for a quick and reassuring response. Using vague phrases like “as soon as we can” may leave them uncertain about whether you have a solution or how long it will take. 

Instead, it’s essential to be clear and precise in your communication. Acknowledge the issue directly, provide a specific timeframe or steps you are taking to resolve it, and offer a clear point of contact for further questions. 

In customer service, it’s important to create positive experiences for your customers. Each message should reverberate with confidence and positivity. You want your customers to know they are in safe hands. So let them know that you have a plan and a solution to offer. 

Go back to the customer with a clear time frame on when they can expect an answer. Something along these lines:

8. Make Emails Easy-to-Read

You may have noticed that a lot of customer emails have more than one question. So, when you send your response in a long paragraph, you are not making it easy for them. 

It could get overwhelming and your customers may just skip reading it all. 

  • The best way to go about it is to divide your response into clear sections. 
  • Use the bold formatting to create subheadings and then organize your response under each statement as shown in the below template. 
  • You can also use italics if you want to emphasize a point. 

Structuring and formatting a support email the right way can make all the difference in enhancing readability. 

Take a cue from this sample email:

Hey Connor, 

Thank you for writing to us today. I’d be happy to answer those questions for you: 

“How do I send emails from my shared inbox email address?” 

To use the email ID of the Shared Mailbox as the Sender ID by default, you have to: 

-Head to the ‘gear’ icon of the Shared Mailbox to open the Settings page. 
-Click on ‘Advanced Settings’ 
-Enable the option ‘Auto select Shared Mailbox email ID on Compose’ 

“How do I remove emails from a shared inbox?”

-Open an email and click on the 3 dots on the top right of the Hiver panel 
-Click ‘Remove from shared inbox’ 

Please feel free to reach out in case of any further questions. 

9. Know When to Upsell

It’s a whole lot easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new customer. According to the book, Marketing Metrics, the chances of converting an existing customer is 60-70%, however, the chances of converting a new lead into a customer are only 5 to 20%. 

These numbers say it all. People respond better to brands and companies they are familiar with. 

Keeping this in mind, you would not want to forgo the opportunity to nudge customers to a sale in your customer support emails, but you have to tread carefully. 

Remember these golden rules:

  • Never try to upsell without solving a customer problem. 
  • Never try to upsell to an angry customer. It could easily backfire.  

Inserting a product page link early in a customer service email can distract the customer from the issue at hand. It’s more effective to address their immediate concern first and include any additional links or resources at the end of the communication.

11 Excellent Customer Engagement Strategies

10. Follow-up Proactively

Excellent customer service doesn’t end with the first email that you send out. It also includes follow-ups

Unless the customer has vehemently stated that they do not want to hear from you again, you should send a follow-up email to check in on them. See if they have been successful in solving the problem or if they have any further questions for you. 

Send a follow-up email after a reasonable amount of time has passed since the initial resolution. The appropriate time may vary depending on the issue but generally, 24-48 hours allows customers to assess if the solution is working. 

Remind them that you’re there to help further if needed. This reinforces your commitment to their satisfaction.

You can write something like this: 

“I hope this message finds you well. I’m just checking in to see how everything is going after our recent correspondence about [issue]. Have you noticed any improvements? 
If you’re still experiencing issues or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to ensure everything is working smoothly for you.” 

While follow-up is important, keep the email brief and to the point to respect the customer’s time. In some cases, you can also use the opportunity to ask for feedback. This not only shows that you value their opinion but also helps you improve quality of service.

How to Effectively Collect Customer Feedback?

Way Forward

In customer service, a lot of interactions happen over email. Perfecting the art of email writing can set you on the right track to enhancing customer satisfaction, and turning new customers into loyalists. 

By following the best practices that we have laid out here, your customer service team will be better equipped to craft meaningful and effective emails that earn you happy customers. Also, if you’re looking to hire customer service professionals to help increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, you can use Adaface’s customer service test to screen and identify top candidates.

If you’re looking for a customer service solution that can help you create compelling customer service emails, check out Hiver. The tool inside Gmail helps to improve the quality of your customer service emails and enables you to resolve customer issues faster than you think. 

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Harsh is the content lead at Hiver. He's jocular, loves dogs, and is always up for a road trip. He also reads - when Netflix gets boring.

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