How to Write 10x Better Customer Service Emails (+Templates)

April 24, 2020 10 min read

Alina Benny

Alina Benny

How to Write Better Customer Service Emails + Free Templates

A vast majority of consumers are frustrated with bad customer service. Our recent research into business communication trends revealed that a third of companies had lost customers in the past year due to a communication issue.
This statistic means that you have a massive opportunity to improve your customer experience by speaking to them clearly and effectively.
Much like a business phone system, email is a mainstay of customer service. Both of which are the foundation of customer service interactions. Unlike the phone-based customer service, email leaves a lot of room for interpretation — and not necessarily in your favor.
If the future of customer service hinges on persuasive emails, how can you make sure you’re doing it right? How can you make sure you’re writing better customer service emails that lead to loyal customers?
Whether you’re looking to create more happy customers or just need an email template, we’ve got you covered.
Check out these strategies and email templates to help you 10x your emails:

Top tips for every customer service email

Every customer interaction is unique, but there are some best practices that your customer service representatives should always follow. These and other customer service skills will serve you and your clients well.

Be a human

Automated customer service is on the rise. However, every email should feel personal, even an automated support email.

  • Use their name. Using a customer’s name shows them that you see them as an individual. They aren’t a faceless customer.
  • Include your name, too. Using your name shows the customer that you are also a real person.
  • Mind your manners. Your mother had it right. Please and thank you go a long way to maintain respect.

In some customer service emails, you might be delivering bad news. On those occasions, it’s important to be empathetic, patient, and kind, even if the customer is responding angrily.

Use effective language

Emails are made of words, and that means the language you use matters.

  • Take some time to learn about the best customer service phrases to use. In general, use positive language.
  • Ensure your email guidelines conform to your communications strategy. You’ll need to ensure you’re delivering the right messages to the right people.
  • Strive for consistency. Your customer service emails should match the tone and personality of your social media, your website, and more.

An email from customer service at a bank should be very different from an email from a landscaping company or a veterinary clinic.
Your language is crucial to the success of an omnichannel strategy. Even though each email comes from one person, make sure that the person sounds like they’re on your team.

  • Emails should not harm the customer experience. Make sure that spelling, punctuation, and grammar are all on point. Triple-check for typos.
  • If your customer service team members are located outside of the United States, give them training and templates to help minimize the language barrier.
  • Never use snide, demeaning, or angry language. You’ll often regret it later.

Your customer emails should also showcase a personal touch and use natural, human language. Here’s an example:

Hi [Customer First Name],
Thanks so much for reaching out to us. It sounds like we sent you two bike helmets instead of one.
While we are very concerned about your safety, that was an error on our side. You don’t need to return the helmet to us. You can keep it, gift it, or donate it. We’re sorry for the trouble.
Let us know if you have any other questions.
[Your Name]

Remember: every customer support email is an opportunity to grow customer relationships. Be clear, direct, concise, and empathetic.
And when all else fails, follow the Golden Rule. Think about how you’d want to be treated if you were the customer in that situation, and do likewise.
Related: Auto Attendant Scripts with Real-World Examples

Emails answering questions

Customer questions are the bread and butter of any help desk. Your customer support team will probably get countless questions every day. And sometimes they’ll get the same question multiple times in one shift.
Oftentimes though, the customer is asking that question for the first time. So when providing email support, follow these email templates for responding to questions.

Request information the right way

It’s not uncommon for support reps to need more information to solve a problem. However, you want to request that information in a way that the customer understands, does not convey annoyance, and does appear to blame the customer for not providing it in the first place.
Here’s an excellent customer service email template that illustrates this approach:

Hi [Customer First Name),
Thanks for contacting us. I’m happy to help you with your issue. I just need a little information, so I can see what’s going on. Could you please send me a screenshot of the error message you’re receiving?
To take a screenshot [insert instructions].
Also, can you tell me if you’ve recently performed any updates?
Once I have this information, I’ll be able to better solve the issue.
[Your Name]

When emailing a request for more information, be as friendly and welcoming as possible. Do not be brusque or impolite. Pro-tip: response time is essential here, too.
Respond promptly to their initial request. Delaying a response only to follow up with a request for more information will not create a good experience for your customer.
Related: The Future of Customer Service: 12 Trends to Test in 2020

Provide clear information and resources

When a customer asks you a question, they’re already unsure about your product or service. Whether that’s your fault, don’t make it worse by adding more confusion to it.
Give clear answers to their questions. Don’t use industry jargon unless they’ve already used it themselves.
In addition to answering their questions within the email, provide additional resources to help the customer. Refer them to your knowledge base or FAQs. Respect their time by only providing the most relevant links and resources to help them.

Hi [Customer First Name],
Thanks for contacting us about changing the credit card on your account. I can help you do that. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the My Account icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
  2. Your account page will appear. Select Payment Options from the menu on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click on the Add Card Info button.
  4. Fill out the form with your card information.
  5. Click Save.

You can read more about managing payment options on our help center here [insert link].
If you have any further issues, don’t hesitate to ask!
[Your First Name]

As the above email illustrates, bullet points or numerical lists can be helpful ways to organize information and provide customers with clear, digestible steps to solve their issue.
Related: 30 Kick-ass Customer Service Tips and Examples

Answer all of their questions

It would be great if every customer emailed with only one clear question. However, a single email can contain many questions. Make sure you’re answering them all.
And take it one step further by clearly presenting the answers to multiple questions. Use paragraph breaks, bullet points, or numbered lists for each question.

Hi [Customer First Name],
Thanks for contacting us. I can definitely help you with those questions.
How do I change my credit card information?

  1. Click on the My Account icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
  2. Your account page will appear. Select Payment Options from the menu on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click on the Add Card Info button.
  4. Fill out the form with your card information.
  5. Click Save.

You can change your card at any time. To learn more about managing payment options, check out this article on our Help Center.
What is my order status?
Your order status is temporarily on hold until you enter your new credit card information. Once you’ve updated your card, your order should process right away. You can always check the status of an order by clicking on My Account and selecting My Orders from the left menu.
Thanks again for reaching out. Let me know if you have any further questions!
[Your Name]

The last thing you want is for a frustrated customer to email you two or three times, just to answer a question found in their first email. Nip all questions in the bud in your initial response email.

Proactively follow up

Remarkable customer service isn’t just about that first email. It’s also about the follow-up. And that goes for any customer service situation. Unless the customer has explicitly stated that you should never contact them again, then you should follow up and fully resolve the issue.
In these emails, make sure to remind the customer of the issue as a part of the follow-up email. By being specific, you’re seen as more knowledgable.

Hi [Customer First Name]
I want to check in and make sure you were able to update your credit card information. If you need more guidance, please let me know. I’m happy to help.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything else we can do for you in the future.
[Your First Name]

Your customers often appreciate you following up with them as much as they appreciate having their problems addressed. Following up is always the best practice your company should be doing.
Related: The Ultimate Customer Experience Guide

Emails to angry customers

Dealing with angry customers is one of the trickiest parts of a support rep’s job. Follow these tips to handle an upset customer.

Apologize and empathize

First and foremost, almost every response to an angry customer should begin with an apology. Make sure that you apologize for what happened, not for the customer’s response to it. Think about the difference between “I’m sorry that happened” and “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
And if you made an error, acknowledge it. Do not place blame or pass the buck. Take responsibility. Let them know that their experience is not up to your standards.
Once you’ve apologized, express empathy for their situation. Observe the principles of customer service psychology to help you uncover what they need.
Show them you care about them and their situation. Show this is more than just a routine business transaction.

Make it right

Your customer service reps should be empowered to make any situation right. Offer refunds where appropriate. Show them how you’re solving the problem. Often the back and forth itself can have a harmful impact on your brand.

Dear [Customer First Name],
I’m so sorry your package arrived damaged. That’s not in keeping with our shipping practices. We want everyone to have a positive experience, and it’s clear that didn’t happen.
It sounds like your trip is over, and you no longer need the items. I’m sure that was both frustrating and disappointing.
I’d like to offer you a refund on the damaged items and a gift card for future use. I understand you may be hesitant to try us again. I hope we get the opportunity to prove ourselves to you.
[Your First Name]

There’s no substitute for fully solving a customer’s issue to their satisfaction. Do your best to make things right with your customers. Go above and beyond, so you welcome them again for a future transaction.

Emails reaching out to customers

Every customer service interaction is an opportunity to wow your customers. This approach includes not only responses to their emails but also proactive outreach emails you send in the course of doing business.

Welcome and support new customers

The first official communication between you and your new customer often comes in the form of a welcome email. These emails are so relevant because they allow you to introduce yourself to your client.
These introductory emails are typically automated, but that doesn’t mean they need to sound like they came from a robot. The more personal, the better. One way to personalize a welcome email is to send it from a specific person, such as the CEO.
Thanking the customer is a minimum requirement. But you can also create a personal connection, offer help, and even provide a few key resources to help the customer succeed.

Hi [Customer First Name],
We’re so happy to welcome you to our community. On behalf of everyone, thanks so much for choosing us.
We want you to feel at home fast, so we’ve collected some key resources here [insert link]. 
And we’re always adding new products and inspiration over on Instagram. Follow us here [insert link].
Again, welcome. We look forward to working with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything you need.

Remember to include company name and branding in your welcome emails. You’re still building trust with your customers at this point, so use company branding where possible.
Related: The 50 Best Customer Service Articles of the Decade

Ask for favors gently

From time to time, you may have to ask your customers for help. Prime examples of this are when you’re looking for feedback or seeking information to help you serve them better.
Customer insights can be critical to your company’s future. So it makes sense to do your best to get those insights. A well-written email can help.
Of course, not everyone will take the time to fill out a survey or provide feedback. You’ll be more successful if you can remind your customers of the value they’ve experienced and show them why it’s in their best interest to respond to you.
And in keeping with best practices, use first names, set expectations, and say please thank you!

Hi [Customer First Name],
I hope the tax season went well for you. I see you filed your federal return using our software. I want to hear what you thought about the tools. I’d love to have you fill out a quick survey to help us make next year’s returns easier for you.
I know you’re busy, so thank you so much for letting us know how we’re doing. Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything I can do to help.
[Your First Name]

You would be surprised how many customers are willing to help. A great customer experience begets a great customer response rate.

Helpful tools to scale up customer service

It’s one thing to have customer service email templates, and it’s another to use them effectively. One of the best ways to support your customer service representatives is to equip them with the right tools.
To avoid missteps, you should centralize your business communications in their customer service CRM, which is a highly customizable customer helpdesk. Your team can take advantage of prebuilt templates, keyboard shortcuts, analytics, and automated rules to make for better customer experiences.
Email isn’t always the best medium to support the customer, no matter how hard you try. Monitor your customer surveys to identify areas where you can optimize your communications plan.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to them. Proactive customer service is so rare today, every time you do it, you will stand out above competitors. With a virtual phone service, you can let your team call customers with nothing more than their computers or smartphones.
No matter what tools and tactics you use, the best customer service emails are timely and human. No matter how large or small your company is, you can make them feel heard, appreciated, and understood.
Related: Nextiva Wins Multiple Stevie Awards for Customer Service Excellence

Alina Benny


Alina Benny

Alina Benny is the Senior Content SEO Lead at Nextiva. Her B2B marketing career has taken her all over the place — from branding and copywriting to product marketing, SEO, and SaaS content marketing. She also uses her keen eye for great copy, action bias, and search discoverability as a mentor with First Round Capital…

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