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4 Free Email Scripts to Handle Your Toughest Customer Service Challenges

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Use these templates to keep your customers happy.

Here’s why I love scripts and templates: instead of explaining a strategy conceptually, a script helps you see the concept in action. The examples make it easier to understand and internalize the message. I don’t think there’s a more effective way to demonstrate the principles of good customer service responses.

Here’s why I hate scripts and templates: if you copy and paste scripts that you find online into your own emails, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to build authentic, human relationships with your customers.

Worse, you risk some embarrassing fails:

When Templates Attack When Templates Attack

(Yes, this is real.)

How (SPECIFIC SYNONYM OF “REALLY REALLY ANGRY”) would you, as a customer who had a bad experience, feel to find this in your inbox?

Here’s How You Should Use These Scripts:

Imagine we were sitting in the same room, and I just told you a really funny story.

“Feel free to share that story with anyone you’d like,” I say.

(In this fictional scenario, I am both hilarious and generous.)

Three weeks later, you’re out with friends, and you find the perfect moment to tell the story.

Are you going to retell it word for word?

Of course not.

You remember the structure and the main points of the story, but you retell it in your words.

It’s natural, and it’s authentically yours. But because you know the most important parts of the story, you’re able to tell it effectively, and it works. The crowd goes wild.

That’s how you should approach these scripts. Read them, bookmark them, revisit them. Internalize them to understand the main points.

But change them to make them your own. Your customers will appreciate it, and the strategies will work much, much better.

Now, on to the scripts…

1. A Customer Asking for a Discount

Derek Halpern says that discounting can destroy your business.

And I agree: our goal is always to make the perceived value of Groove higher, not lower. Discounting is a great way to accomplish the latter.

Think about places that send you discount coupons all the time, like Bed, Bath & Beyond. I’ve gotten so used to getting them in the mail that I wouldn’t think to step into a BB&B without a stack of them.

That strategy may work for them, but it’s not our approach.

When a customer asks for a discount, we’ll respond with something like this:

Discount Request Discount Request

Why this works: It’s empathetic (we know how they feel), personal (we include information about them and their account) and still delivers value (the consultation we’re offering increases the perceived value of Groove).

2. A Feature Request You’re Not Going to Build

We get dozens of feature requests every week.

Not only would it be impossible for our team to build them all, but it wouldn’t be smart to do so, either.

Many requests don’t align with what we already know most customers want, or would find useful.

But flat-out rejection really sucks.

None of us like feeling like our ideas aren’t smart, useful or interesting.

And it’s not that your customers’ ideas aren’t smart, useful or interesting. Your customers are the smartest source of direction for your product.

But it’s easy to make them feel like their idea isn’t worthy. All you need to do is phrase your rejection the wrong way.

We’ve actually tested 10+ totally different approaches for this situation in the past couple of years, and one of them continues to stand out above the rest:

The Right Way To Say No The Right Way To Say No

Why this works: It’s personal (we took the time to read the idea, and our response makes that clear), it’s positive, and it still delivers value to the customer.

3. An Angry Customer

Everybody who works in customer support long enough will have to deal with a very angry customer.

Sometimes, the customer is angry because they feel slighted by something you or your company did. Sometimes, they’re venting because they’ve had a tough day and you’re an easy target.

We all have days when things don’t go our way, and it doesn’t feel good.

Customer service trainer Robert Bacal, in his Defusing Hostile Customers Workbook, outlines a simple system called CARP for dealing with angry customers:

CARP stands for:

The first step is to be in control of the situation. That means not letting your customer’s anger influence your own behavior. That is, don’t get angry back.

The next step is to acknowledge your customer’s feelings. Be empathetic and make it clear that you understand that they’re upset.

Third, refocus the conversation on what’s most important: the actual problem at hand.

And finally, problem-solve: work to find a resolution to the customer’s complaint.

Here’s a real example of how you can turn an angry customer into a happy one.

The CARP System The CARP System

Why this works: It follows the CARP system of control, acknowledge, refocus and problem-solve, and helps the customer feel better by knowing that their problem is being taken very seriously.

4. Your Product Is Broken/Down

Anyone in SaaS who’s been through a serious server outage knows the sinking feeling when you realize that all of the support emails in your inbox are coming in from upset customers who are wondering why the product they pay for isn’t working.

When one of our servers (I’m going to get technical here) “screwed the pooch” earlier this year, it was devastating.

Fortunately, the support emails we sent saved us more than a handful of customers.

Here’s the email we used:

Product Down Product Down

Why this works: It was informative (it included all of the details we knew at that time, with no obfuscation), empathetic (we were clear that we knew how terrible this was for our customers, apologetic and personal (including Alex’s email address and the promise of a follow-up).

Note: just as important as saying the right thing in this situation is making sure you keep updating your customers regularly until a conclusion is reached. You hate being kept in the dark, and your customers do, too.

In Customer Service, Empathy Above All

These examples are for specific situations, but the concepts in them can be applied to just about every customer service situation you run into.

Above all: dig deep to understand and appreciate how the customer feels, and respond the way you’d want to be responded to.

Do you have any particular scripts or approaches you love to use? Or any tough situations you’d like help dealing with?

Just comment below and let me know.

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About the Author

Len Markidan heads up marketing at Groove. He’s focused on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers.

Read his latest posts or follow him on Twitter

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