When creating an assessment tool for e-mail, there are several key elements that we’ve found critical to successful e-mail communication with customers. You may have to scale certain elements to the size and scope of your operation, but here are a few elements to consider:
- Resolution Effort. Whether the CSR can resolve the issue may be out of his/her control. The scorecard should, however, assess if the CSR actually did everything they could to resolve the customer’s issue with his/her e-mail. You want to be able to hold CSRs accountable if they are just going through the motions of responding to keep their e-mail per hour rates up while not really trying to resolve the actual issue.
- Grammar and punctuation. While e-mail is highly regarded as a more casual form of written communication, it needs to be professional and well-written. Good written communication can boost customer confidence in your ability to respond to their questions or issues. Customers who feel that your company has already failed to meet their expectations are only going to be escalated by a poorly written, poorly structured response. You need to hear your customers thinking, "You can’t even spell or write a complete sentence! No wonder you screwed up my order!"
- Answer related questions. One of the most common mistakes made in e-mail communication is for CSRs to answer the customer’s main question, but completely ignore secondary or related questions that are explicitly or implicitly stated. The goal is complete resolution. CSRs need to read the customer’s entire e-mail, note every question and even anticipate common related questions. Having customers sending follow up e-mails because you didn’t answer all their questions will only escalate the customer and waste your team’s time and resources.
- Personalization. In the same way that most customers hate getting a call from an impersonal, robotic IVR, they don’t want to get a simple copy-and-paste reply from your company. It doesn’t acknowledge a customer’s particular issue, it sounds scripted and leaves him/her feeling like they are just another nameless customer number that your contact center feels forced to deal with. Use the customer’s correct name. Acknowledge the specific issue and offer a simple apology followed by a clear description of what you can and will do to resolve it. If the customer offered some specific details in the original e-mail, acknowledging them sends the message that you read the e-mail carefully and internalized their message.