Do You Need a "Writing for Customer Service" Tune-Up?

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'd like to shift gears a moment in this post and talk a little bit about the the skills needed by your customer service reps to be successful at satisfying the needs of your customers via email. I believe that even with all of this technology today, the best customer service experiences are still a result of skilled humans!

But first - a recap: We've spent a lot of time in this blog talking about the importance of "using the right tool for the job" when it comes to customer service email. We've given several examples, statistics, and expressed much concern about the shortcomings of not handling your inbound customer service email quickly and professionally. We've discussed repeatedly how by using a tool such as MailFlow, you can gain and retain customers, thus improving your bottom line.

What we've not talked about much is what human skills are needed to answer customer service email quickly, professionally, and efficiently. Basically, the most skilled customer service agents in an email contact center are good writers, and more specifically, they're good at writing for customer service. They have the skills necessary to communicate with a customer in a caring way, providing the customer with just the information they need - in a clear, non-confusing, professional manner.

The truth of the matter is that these folks are in short supply today and good writing is often the exception, rather than the rule. Some of the gotcha's that are common in today's email correspondence are things such as bad grammar and spelling, slang and contractions, too little or incomplete information, or just a general tone of non-helpfulness.

I am not affiliated in any way with this company, but I did discover a book that has been written specifically targeting "writing for customer service". It is called "Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents". If you operate an email customer service contact center (or you simply converse with some/all of your customers via email), I think this is an excellent read.

Here's a short description of the book from the author:

"Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents is a cost-effective, self-paced method of teaching your staff to write customer service e-mail. The workbook is unique. It uses e-mail exchanges between customers and companies to teach customer service professionals the writing skills they need to communicate with customers. "

This book is actually written by the founders of E-Write, a business dedicated to helping others provide professional content for electronic media. For more information about the book, or to order a copy - click here.