Pascal

6 Writing Tips for Friendly Customer Support Texts

How you make your customers feel can make or break your business in today’s world. With there being less and less focus on the differences in product (customers expect you to offer the minimum commodities of what all of your competitors offer), customers take other aspects into consideration, such as relationship and experience they have with the product they’re buying. But it’s easy to forget that in the daily hustle of customer communication though.

Too often, customer support neglects the way that they’re making their customers feel in their texts, from their FAQ page on their website to their email templates.

Are you communicating in a way that will create a positive customer experience and potentially loyal customer? Here are 6 tips for creating friendly customer support texts for a better customer experience.

1. Avoid service clichés

“Please come again!”

“Thank you for your business”

Many companies use them to sound professional, but in reality, they just sound cold and fake and will, unfortunately, make people think you’re more robot than human.

Instead of using these cliché phrases, you should aim to sound warm and genuine by talking like an actual person. Or, as The Economist Style Guide on writing recommends, “Never use a metaphor, simile or other figures of speech which you are used to seeing in print.” Customer service should follow the same rule.

Customers want to feel like they are conversing with a real human who is actively listening to them. When you resort to clichés, they feel like you are on automatic. Ditch the clichés and talk like a person.

2. Use ‘you-focused’ language

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of what your company offers and lose sight of why you offer it. Your customer is the most important part of your business and the language that you use should reflect that.

Remember, your customers do not care about the technology, service or product that you offer. What they do care about, though, is how your technology, service or product will make their lives easier or better. When you speak with a ‘you-focus,’ they will get that feeling.

Consider this sentence: “Our company offers the fastest technology.” Now, compare that with the same message in you-focused language “You will be faster than ever with our technology.” One makes the product sound important, while the other makes the customer feel important. When using you-focused language, your company will come across as friendly and helpful. Use phrases that reflect a customer-centric business.

3. Talk like a human

Like clichés, overly professional words sound robotic and ingenuine. Simple, everyday language makes your customer service feel warm and down-to-earth and will allow your customers to better connect with your company.

Don't get caught up in trying to sound overly professional. Often, the temptation is to use long, professional-sounding words that no one would use in everyday language.

Recently, I received an autoresponder message: “I will endeavor to get back to you as soon as I can.” No one uses the word “endeavor.” Could you imagine using a phrase like that in your personal voicemail message?

Don’t overthink it. Use regular, human language that your customers can easily understand. Using contractions can help you with this (“don't” instead of “do not”), and so can using friendly interjections. These are short exclamatory sentences with which you transfer an emotion. Check out this list of interjections for any situation.

4. Be clear

Clarity is arguably one of the most important components in customer support communication. Speak in a way that is clear and easy-to-understand to improve your customer experience.

Clarity is putting the information in a practical way so that the customer can understand it. Clarity has three factors to it:

  1. Simple. Break down the large jargon and long sentences into simple and concise language. Customers can get lost in the large, technical words and run-on sentences and give up trying to understand what you are saying. Instead, reduce mental effort by losing commas and dependent clauses in your sentences and replace the technical words with everyday language.
  2. Familiar. Although you may talk about your product all day long, it is probably a new concept for your customer. Break it down for them by relating it to something they already know. An analogy bridges the gap between the new information and what they already understand. Jargon and technical-speak, on the other hand, will lose the customer completely. Avoid it by employing the ELI5 method, explain It Like I’m 5 years old.
  3. Structured. The way that you structure your sentences will also improve your customers’ ability to process it. For instance, the number 0716752897 might seem incredibly difficult to memorize. When it is broken up into a structure 07-1675-2897, though, it is far less intimidating. Customer service should use the, what?, So what?, Now what? structure. Another commonly used one is the Features-Advantages-Benefits structure.

5. Explain why

There are few things more frustrating in customer service than an unexplained “please wait”. Your customer will feel left out and ignored.

The good news is that giving a reason for why you’re asking them to wait or just explaining what you are doing and why will make the customer much more patient and satisfied with their experience. Customers are much more likely to be accommodating if you are transparent with them.

An interesting Harvard study shows just how important transparency is. In it, researchers tried to cut in line at a copy machine with one of three lines:

  1. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. Could I use the Xerox machine?” 60% of the people agreed.
  2. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. Could I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” 93% agreed.
  3. “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. Could I use the Xerox machine because I am in a rush?” 94% agreed.

The reason is not always so important, but having a reason is.

Although you want to be efficient in your customer service, take a little time and explain to your customers what is going on. It can make all the difference for them.

6. Proactive support

When you go out of the way to reach out to your customers, you completely change the tone of the conversation. Your customers will know that you truly care if they do not have to seek you out when they have an issue.

This can be as simple as adding text to your webpage, such as “Still have questions? Contact us!” Another great option is adding a live chat solution to your website.

Your company comes across as helpful and reduces any potential customer frustration when your customer support is easy to find. Your customers will have a much better experience and a more favorable view of your brand.

Create a better customer experience

With the rise of better technology and customer reviews in business, your customers are expecting even more from you. However, creating a friendly customer experience doesn’t require a huge budget. Small, but significant changes will make your business stand out and create loyal customers. In fact, it can help grow your business from customer reviews and word of mouth! It pays to create friendly customer support texts, so make some changes and grow your business.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pascal van Opzeeland is CMO of Userlike, software for website and messaging support. He and his team share tips about customer service and communication on the Userlike Blog.

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