Improving E-mail Communication at Your Call Center

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A poll conducted by Training magazine shows the use of electronic mail rising among industry professionals. When participants of the census were asked which means of external communication they use, 53% of them answered "e-mail." At a distant 24%, telephone was the second most popular type of external communication.

The study goes on to state that nearly 50 percent of all industry professionals (including call center managers and representatives) receive roughly 21 work-related e-mails per day. That's enough information to prove how important it is to cover e-mail communication in your call center training event.

Clearly, e-mail has become a preferred choice of customer service communication at many companies. But exactly how the rapid progression of e-mail communication affects your customers is yet to be determined. Are customers really that pleased with the e-mails they receive from the reps at your company?

Communicating via e-mail is much different than communicating via telephone. In telesales training, we learn that people rely upon tone, inflection, and rate of speech to get their points across—all of which are not present in an e-mail conversation. Without these attributes, the incorrect words can make for a catastrophic e-mail correspondence.

It looks like we are all going to be sending e-mail more in the future, so how can you raise the success of your e-mail correspondence? Below are a few ideas that will help you:

  • Your greeting should be friendly and brief. Use the customer's name, not only because it personalizes the greeting, but also because this makes it apparent who the primary recipient of the e-mail is.

  • Once you've greeted the customer, you should explain the purpose of your letter to let customers know right off the bat what they'll find in the body of the e-mail.

  • Use bullets rather than paragraphs when appropriate. This allows for more white space and makes it easy for the customer to discern the main points of the message.

  • Use an italic or bold text style for key words or other text that you want to emphasize; use underlining only for hyperlinks.

  • Avoid writing in all upper case letters unless you are using an acronym. It gives the impression that you're yelling.

  • The best way to make sure your message is not distorted is to take a second to read it over to check for and correct potential misinterpretations.

  • Look for opportunities during the interaction to thank the customer for his or her business.

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