Canned responses are pre-populated helpdesk messages that allow customer support agents to respond quickly to customer issues. A catalog of canned responses can increase a customer success team's efficiency, allowing them to provide more resolutions to more customers, quickly and efficiently.
Here are six common canned responses to save in your email inbox, along with details on how to implement them successfully. Following the list are some guiding principles that will help you ensure your canned responses are providing the best customer experience possible -- so read on.
6 Customer Service Canned Responses
6 Canned Responses to Use in Customer Service Emails
If a customer submits a support ticket, they deserve 1. confirmation that you received the ticket, and 2. affirmation that you are working on it.
If possible, personalize this response relative to the issue. If a customer filled out a form with drop-down category, this is easy. Additionally, you can train your reps to know which response to use.
Here's a great example based on an email I received from Jet.com that you can customize:
Sometimes support cases can take a long time.
As the time lapse increases, your client's patience decreases. They might start wondering if their issue is even being worked on.
To help ameliorate this tendency, make sure you proactively follow-up with them letting them know you're still working hard to reach a resolution, and that you will let them know when there are updates. This shows you care.
Here’s an example based on an email the LawnStarter team received. It communicates that the team is working on resolving the issue and appears as if they are advocating for us.
Once a customer has indicated that an issue is resolved, it's important that you thank them for their patience.
This should come from the agent that was handling the case, and appear in the same thread, if possible. If this is not possible, be sure to indicate which support issue this is addressing.
Make this as friendly as possible (and customize it as needed).
Often there are issues that take time to resolve. For example, I recently placed an order that was lost in transit. The company issued a new date of expected delivery, and the package did not arrive.
Or, a customer may have had trouble using a feature of your product. Follow up with them a week later to make sure they were, in fact, able to use that feature.
Don't put the onus on your customers to check in with you -- instead, proactively reach out once you've solved the customer's problem to make sure it was satisfactory.
At LawnStarter, for example, occasionally a customer doesn't like the work their lawn pro does, so we offer to match them with a new one. Here's an example of us checking in to make sure they're satisfied that you can adjust:
Once an issue is closed out, it is important to get feedback from your customers, usually in the form of a customer satisfaction survey.
Make this message straight to the point and friendly, but neutral. You don't want to lead your customers to a positive response. A survey that includes an overly positive lead in can skew your data.
Here's a template based on an example of a perfectly good response from Pitchbox. They even included the conversation history to help jog my memory.
Inevitably, customers will reach out with a support issue that, in your opinion, shouldn't be a support case.
For example, a customer may report that a feature isn't working properly, when, in reality, they simply aren't using it properly.
Keep in mind that your product isn't self-explanatory, so this is your responsibility -- not theirs. Avoid talking down to them, no matter how simple the issue is.
In your response, do not simply link your customers to a knowledge base. Rather, include the instructions in the email itself, with screenshots as a visual aid. Make it as easy as possible for your customer, and include any other relevant information that will help them succeed with that feature. Here's an example you can template-ize:
How to Write Canned Responses that Work
Now that you've read some of the common canned responses, you're probably thinking about times you've gotten one of those responses. Chances are, it was not a good
Even the term "canned response" makes me cringe a little, quite frankly. That's because most companies put no care whatsoever into their responses.
The perfect canned response shouldn't sound canned at all.
Rather it should be tailored towards giving your customers the best experience possible. Remember, that's the goal of a canned response after all.
Here are a few guidelines for crafting high-quality canned responses:
Admit your shortfalls and empathize
"When you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically." Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Often customers are not happy with the product, and it's your company's fault.
Though the human gut reaction is to respond defensively, it's important to let your customers know that 1) you know your company fell short, and 2) you understand their pain.
Always think about how you want to be treated when you have to talk to support.
Avoid bland jargon
There's nothing more disgenuine lines like "We are working diligently to resolve the issue you experienced," or "Your satisfaction is of utmost importance."
While these are grammatically sound, they are not believable. A good practice is writing how you speak.
Personalized, but not too personal
How many times have you submitted a support request and received a response like "[Company] has received your support ticket #34850. Reply above this line"?
It makes you feel like a number.
Make sure your canned response addresses the customer by name and is somewhat tailored to the nature of the request.
However, don't go overboard attempting to make the message look like it was typed personally. For example, putting "Sent from my iPhone" in the footer is going way too far. Customers will see right through this charade.
In cases where there is a next step, let the customer know what to expect.
Will you have an answer in a day, a week, a month? This is important for someone who uses your product.
Don't use a canned response when a personal response is needed
There's a time and place for canned responses, but sometimes you should really type a personalized response that's unique to the situation -- especially in situations where your product or service really fell short.
Never Stop Improving Your Canned Responses
Once you've set up your canned responses, the work is far from over. Make sure you periodically review the responses and how customers react. You'll likely discover responses that aren't drawing the ideal response, or responses that can be subcategorized and improved.
What are some examples of canned responses that you've used to create a stellar customer support experience? Let me know on Twitter.