Email Cheaper for Customer Service, But You Gotta Use it Right

Most companies that aren’t still waiting to approve funds for mimeograph machines have focused on using e-mail to handle customer service issues. But a new Jupiter research study finds it takes companies longer than answer online than it did two years ago, reports Wired.

Juicy stats and ironic twists, after the jump…

Of businesses surveyed, 25% responded to email inquiries within 24 hours, down from 27% did so two years ago. Also, companies are taking over three days to respond.

    “When consulting firm Marketspace Advisory tested 30 companies with e-mail queries, fewer than half even answered the questions. Moreover, for those who did bother to reply, the answers were often confusing and offered no method of pursuing inquiries.”

Companies often used incomprehensible subject lines and gave customers no way to follow up. Keys to giving good email include:

  • An automated reply to tell customers when a more detailed answer will come.

  • Subject line with company’s name.
  • Easy to scan message for pertinent info and easy way for customers to respond with follow-up questions.

Take care of the problem by email and save money. If a customer can’t understand the email, they’re going to call up and increase call center costs. Or you could do the whole thing back-asswards:

    “When Forrester e-mailed Chase a question about mortgages, the bank sent back an e-mail with a toll-free phone number.”

Customer Service Goes to Hell” [Wired] (Thanks to Gina!)