Author: Kad Um Bree
Having a decade long work experience in Customer Service, the way this industry has evolved has knocked the socks off my feet.
When I started working with the Call Centre, the tone of the words used was very mechanical. What’s surprising is that it sounded very “professional”.
A few years into the industry, while working with an Insurance Company, I created the template below that was adapted as the “Standard Operating Procedure – Standard Email Response”
“Good Afternoon Mr. XYZ,
This has the reference to your <mode of communication> on <date> regarding <Subject>.
We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to you. However, we would like to inform you that we are working on resolving your complaint shortly. Someone from the concerned team would contact you soon.
Please feel free to contact us at < Toll-Free Number> between <hours> during <work days>
(Customer Service Representative)
The above “response” takes the crown of “worst writing piece” because it is full of ambiguity like –
Who will contact the client?
What are the next steps?
Why is a toll-free number given?
Don’t even get me started on the “Our menu options have changed. Please listen carefully. Press 1 for <abc> all the way to press 9 for <operator> (Seriously!)
This letter is such a let-down in every aspect thanks to the lack of empathy, yet I still see this in my mailbox every time. Imagine you have had a disappointing experience, and as a reply, you get a mail which reads like the above sample, would you be “happy” to contact a toll-free number? or would you get an impression that this company is going to resolve the problem you are facing? Why are companies holding on to this impersonal “Standard response” like lives depend on using this format? When the whole world is adapting and evolving, what makes companies/ businesses not pay attention to this little but mighty aspect?
A few years ago, I happen to have a chance encounter with this amazing 96-year old woman on a walk. The lady is a veteran and has fought wars. After her retirement, she taught “Business Administration” for 15 years. She said, “Kad Um Bree, companies should learn to acknowledge the “Value a client brings to the table” and then try to fix things. It will work wonders. That interaction changed the tolerance level I had for such robotic responses. Influenced by her approach toward this touchy-feely subject I changed my tone, voice and approach to the email sent to my clients.
Now my mails read something like this –
Hello Mr. <Name>
Hope you are doing well and are having a great day!
I noticed over the last few weeks you have mailed us a few times about <reason>. After a little research, I found that <problem> could be resolved within < time frame> provided the following papers are sent over to us < list>.
Let me know if you would like to set an appointment and block my calendar. In the meanwhile, please feel free to reach out to me at <email> and I will be more than happy to help you out.
Have a great day!
(or Happy <Weekday>)
The new format was a huge success for individuals and small businesses. They found me approachable, dependable, relatable and of course that made me feel like a Super Woman!
Once I adopted the new “humane approach “, a realization dawned – Mrs Betty was indeed right!
It is not the professional-sounding big words that people want in the name of “customer service”. Rather it is the acknowledgement of the huge “Value the client” brings to the table which matters.
I am very happy with this approach and now “Building relationships” is a huge part of me.
Thank you, Mrs. Betty, you are awesome!