Writing effective customer support emails

Use ChatGPT to create standardised responses to common customer queries and issues.

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As your business grows, customers will have more questions. You customer support practice should ensure email replies are standardized across the team, ensuring consistency across the customer experience.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to:

  • Analyze customer inquiries and replies from your customer service team
  • Systematically develop clear and helpful email replies to customer inquiries
  • Implement templates and train your staff

For a deeper-dive into using ChatGPT for customer support, check out our course.

Step 1: Analyze your customer service data

Your first step is to understand what’s happening today. What are customers asking and how is your customer support team responding? Your customer support “team” might just be you right now and that’s okay.

Identify priority inquiries

Start by building a list of inquiries from customers. Many customer support tools like Zendesk and Ada have built-in reporting and exporting available. You might also need to survey your team - here’s a template from ChatGPT you can use to send a survey:

Subject: Input Needed: Common and Complex Customer Inquiries

Hi team,

As we work to improve our customer service processes, I need your insights on the types of inquiries you handle most frequently or those that are particularly complex and time-consuming. Your feedback will help us create more effective templates and improve our overall support.

Please reply with a brief list of:

  1. The most common customer inquiries you receive.
  2. Any inquiries that you find particularly challenging or time-intensive.

Thank you for your assistance and support in this effort.

[your name]

From your research, generate a list of the 10 most common questions your support team faces. You can use ChatGPT to help you, if you have lot of research to sift through. Use the following prompt in ChatGPT along with an upload of your gathered customer inquiries:

I am attaching a database with customer inquiries our support team has received. Look through them and identify the 10 most commonly asked questions from customers.

Collect customer support team replies

Your next step is to evaluate how your customer support team currently addresses challenges. You can also refer to any help documents your team has created to answer common inquiries.

Gather email replies from your support team. If you have access to your team’s software, you can search and find the support interactions yourself. Alternatively, ask your team to forward email conversations they’ve recently had on the top 10 most common questions you identified.

Here’s a template from ChatGPT you can use to ask your team:

Subject: Request for Email Threads on Common Customer Inquiries

Hi Team,

Thank you for providing your input on the most common and complex customer inquiries. To further refine our process and create effective templates, I need your help with the next step.

Please forward me email threads for any conversations you've had on the most popular inquiries. This will give us real examples to work from and ensure our templates are as accurate and helpful as possible.

Feel free to remove any sensitive customer information before forwarding the threads.

Thanks for your help,

[your name]

Step 2: Clear and helpful email templates

In this next phase, you’re going to identify the most common replies, streamline the communication, and develop a template that your customer support team can leverage.

Evaluate customer support replies

Since you’re working with 10 popular inquiries and likely 2-3 different replies that were forwarded to you, you’ll be doing the following steps at scale. We suggest addressing one inquiry at a time, starting with your most popular.

For this tutorial, we’ll imagine the company/product is an online video call platform. Upon completing our research, we discovered the #1 inquiry was users trying to change their virtual background.

After asking the support team to forward recent interactions, we received 3 replies:

Reply A

Hi [Customer Name],

Thank you so much for reaching out! I hope you’re having an absolutely fantastic day! Changing your virtual background is super easy, and I’m here to guide you through it with a smile. 😊

During your call, click on your lovely profile picture.

Go to the delightful "Settings."

Select the charming "Background."

Pick your favorite background or upload your own fabulous one.

The best part? You can do this even if your camera is off, so you can set it up perfectly before you turn on your camera for the meeting. How wonderful is that?

If you have any other questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always here to help and make your experience as pleasant as possible!

Have a marvelous day! 🌟

Cheers,

Customer Service

Reply B

Hi [Customer Name],

Honestly, changing your virtual background is not that hard. Here’s what you need to do:

Click on your profile picture during the call.

Go to "Settings."

Find "Background."

Choose or upload a background.

This can be done with your camera off, so there shouldn’t be any excuses for not figuring it out before your meeting starts.

Don’t waste time asking about this again.

[Your Name]

Reply C

Hey [Customer Name]!

Changing your virtual background is a fantastic way to personalize your call experience and it’s quite straightforward. When you are in a call, you’ll want to start by clicking on your profile picture, which should be located somewhere on the screen, typically at the top right corner, but this can vary depending on the device you’re using. Once you’ve found and clicked on your profile picture, a menu will appear, and you’ll need to look for the settings option. This could be listed as "Settings," or sometimes it’s a gear icon, so keep an eye out for that. When you get into the settings menu, you’re going to scroll through the various options available until you see something that says "Background." It’s often listed under video settings or display options. Once you’re in the background settings, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a selection of default backgrounds or upload your own custom background if you prefer something more personalized. And the great thing is you can do all of this even if your camera is turned off, so you have the flexibility to set your background before joining the meeting or turning on your camera.

If you run into any trouble or need further assistance with any other features, feel free to reach out. I’m always here to help!

Best,

Customer Service

Analyze emails from your support team

To understand how your team currently handles inquiries, ask ChatGPT to analyze the emails you’ve received.

Here are 3 replies to the same inquiry. Analyze each email response and highlight opportunities for improvement for each of them.

Reply A: [email content]
Reply B: [email content]
Reply C: [email content]

Reply A is a bit over-the-top. Reply B is impatient and rude. Reply C is detailed but is written as a paragraph rather than an easy-to-read list of steps.

Create template answers ready for customization

Informed by what you’ve seen from your customer support team, you’ll ask ChatGPT to create a new template in a casual, friendly tone.

You’re creating a template email reply for a popular inquiry to our customer support team.

Business:
the product lets users [core product value].

Inquiry: the inquiry you’re addressing today is [inquiry].

Existing replies: the following 3 replies come from 3 different support team members.Instructions: identify the important information, most notably the steps the customer has to take to solve their issue. Create an email template that [positive attributes to include]. Avoid [negative attributes to exclude].
Reply A: [email content]
Reply B: [email content]
Reply C: [email content]

Repeat these steps for each of your top 10 inquiries.

Step 3: Implementing templates and training staff

Creating the template is one thing; getting your team to use them is even more important. Creating templates gives your customers consistency but also saves your team time. Now you’ll generate an email to send to your support staff encouraging them to use the email templates.

Prompt:

Write an email to the support team introducing them to 10 templates. Acknowledge that the templates are built off the great work they've already done with customers. The goal of the templates is to reduce response times, create consistency for the customer, and save them time from repetitive tasks. The goal of the email is for them to adopt the templates into their workflow.

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to improving your customer experience and reducing support debt significantly.

This tutorial was created by Jonah.

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