There is truly nothing worse than an automated, lifeless email from a company. That feeling of sheer disappointment when you read the robotic text is almost heart-wrenching. You expected so much more.
You never want your customers to feel that way about you. After cultivating a fierce relationship with your customers, the last thing you want is for them to be offended by an impersonal email.
However, as much as you'd like to hand-craft each and every email you send to a prospective or current customer, that can often seem impossible.
How to Respond to an Angry Customer Email
- Respond as soon as possible.
- Apologize for their negative experience.
- Acknowledge your mistakes.
- Explain what may have gone wrong.
- Offer an incentive, refund, or discount.
- Allow them to respond with further questions, comments, or concerns.
1. Respond as soon as possible.
The longer you wait to respond to a customer complaint, the more likely it is that they will take that complaint to a public platform where other consumers can form opinions about your company based on it. It's best to tackle the problem within the hour. This will likely keep the conversation over email.
2. Apologize for their negative experience.
The first and foremost line on your response, after addressing their name, should be a genuine apology.
No matter how hurtful or unfair their response may seem, it's important to recognize that they took the time to craft a complaint because they had such a negative experience. None of your customers should be having such a terrible experience, and it's the responsibility of your company to apologize for that.
3. Acknowledge your mistakes.
Again, if a customer decides to email you a complaint, there clearly must be something wrong, at least in their eyes. It's best to take some responsibility for what your company may have done wrong. It's less about proving a point to them and more about salvaging the relationship you have with that customer.
4. Explain what may have gone wrong.
If you can gently offer the customer an explanation for the situation, that's helpful. Customers often care about not letting the issue happen again to other customers.
If you explain to them that the situation was a one-time thing or rare occurrence — like their package getting lost in the mail or their being left on hold for an hour — it might ease their tensions.
5. Offer an incentive, refund, or discount.
There are some situations in which offering incentives seems like the best option. This may be when a customer's complaint seems to be so extreme that you fear worse repercussions if you don't offer an incentive or when they specifically demand a refund or free item.
Alternatively, if a customer complaint seems to be quite reasonable and polite, it may be nice to offer an incentive as thanks for remaining calm and patient with you.
If the customer complaints are a result of an error on your end — meaning, related to anything outside of the customer's control — do as much as you can to offer them a reasonable discount or refund, where appropriate. If the customer is completely unable to use the purchase as a result of the error, a full refund is fair to offer.
If an error resulted in an order delay or another type of minor inconvenience that doesn't impact the customer's ability to use the product or service they purchased, a small discount can buy you goodwill with the customer.
If the complaints are the result of a customer-wide outage or error that impacted hundreds or thousands of customers at a time, you may not be able to offer them all a discount or refund. Instead, own your mistake, apologize sincerely, and take steps to prevent the problem from happening again.
6. Allow them to respond with further questions, comments, or concerns.
At the end of the email, before closing, always ask them to let you know if they have any more questions, comments, or concerns. You want to show them that you're still open to further feedback and that the conversation must end with that email.
The more opportunities you get to interact with them, the higher the chance that their temper will subside and they will come to respect your company again.
Next, we have curated a list of the best customer service email templates for every customer situation.
9 Customer Email Templates
Tell us about yourself to access 17 customer-first templates.
The 20 Best Customer Service Email Templates
Let's take a look at some of the best customer service email templates you can lean on for support when in a variety of situations with customers. (Note that the final 5 templates are specifically for customer refunds.)
1. Thank You Email Template
Once in a while, it's nice to send your customers a little thank you. After all, your company would be nowhere without the loyalty of your customers. This can be sent in several instances: right after they make a purchase, when you notice it's their anniversary with your company, or when they refer a customer.
In a thank you email, you should never try to sell them something. It's a simply an opportunity to show your appreciation to them.
Thank you so much for referring your friend [Friend's name] to us. I've enjoyed getting to know them and do business with them. I'm so happy that you've stuck around with us for this long and brought your friend to share the experience with you.
We're lucky to have you. Thanks again for being such a fantastic customer!
2. Questionnaire Email Template
There are several kinds of questionnaires you may send your customers. From customer satisfaction to demographics to Customer Effort Score (CES), each questionnaire offers valuable data to your company. Performing a survey can help you get into the minds of your customers and make the appropriate changes.
However, it's easy for customers to see a link to a questionnaire and immediately close the tab. Entice them into taking the questionnaire by mentioning its briefness or perhaps an incentive.
Pro tip: Consider using one of these "thank you in advance" alternatives for a more polite approach.
Thanks for your recent purchase with us! I hope you're enjoying your new product.
I'd love to hear more about your experience working with our team. Please fill out the following survey, and give us your honest feedback. I promise it's short, and it'll help improve customers' experiences in the future.
I know your time is valuable, and I appreciate your attention.
<< Attach questionnaire >>
3. Angry Customer Response Email Template
Uh oh. You've got an angry customer. This could have happened for a range of reasons. They might even be angry about external factors and not necessarily your business. Remain calm and think rationally. The worst possible thing you could do is fight fire with fire.
It's okay to take some time upon reading the email to cool down before typing up a response. Don't take their email to heart. Sometimes, a customer is so upset that there isn't much damage control you can do. The best move is to wave the white flag and move forward.
I am so sorry to hear that you have had such a poor experience that you no longer want to work with us.
Customer satisfaction is always a number one priority for us. I'm deeply sorry that that wasn't clearly demonstrated to you.
As much as I hate to see you go, I completely understand how upset you must feel. I apologize again for any trouble we may have caused you. Good luck with your business, and I wish you all the best.
Let me know if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns.
4. Customer Complaint Response Email Template
Similar to an angry customer,, a complaining customer is not exactly a ray of sunshine on your workday. They can be almost worse, it seems, than an angry customer.
Anger can often be displaced or without reason, whereas a complaint is typically well-crafted and based on truth. Incidentally, there is often a greater opportunity of turning a complaining customer into a satisfied one.
Just as they have probably put a good amount of time into writing their email, you, too, should do the same. It's important to remain eloquent and polite, even if the complaint frustrates you.
I am so sorry to hear that you were put on hold with a customer support rep for over twenty minutes. That should never have happened, and I completely understand how frustrating this must be for you. I will relay this message to the appropriate rep.
We are prioritizing the malfunction you are facing in your software. Our team is jumping on that problem right away, and I will let you know as soon as it's fixed.
I appreciate you letting me know about your negative experience. We strive to ensure every customer is satisfied with our business, and I apologize for any way in which we may have inconvenienced you.
Let me know if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns.
5. Customer Service Follow-up Email Template
When a customer reaches out to you for customer service help, that shouldn't be the beginning and end of your interaction. A customer might not be expecting a follow-up, but that's what will make them appreciate it even more.
Plus it also indicates that your company is dedicated to not merely sales, but also fostering positive customer relationships.
I hope you're enjoying your brand-new product. I remember that you were torn between two versions, but I firmly believe you went with the perfect choice for you.
If you're interested, I'd love to hear more about how you're liking the product. Let me know some pros and cons and if there's any way I can be of assistance to guide you through this process. I'm here for whatever you may need and look forward to hearing from you soon.
6. Technical Support Email Template
While it's more common for customer support engineers to provide technical support over live chat, phone, or another quicker form of communication, they will also sometimes handle this over email. Since email is not meant to be an immediate channel for communication, customers may use this method when addressing an issue that isn't urgent.
Email also allows you to get a lot more information about the situation because customers can take their time to write out thorough responses to your questions. Take advantage of this and ask several in-depth questions in a single email to find a solution as quickly as possible.
Thanks for reaching out! I'd be more than happy to help you.
Before we dive in, can you give me a little more context on the situation? When did this issue begin happening? Has it been occurring consistently, or does it happen on and off? Have you tried any solutions on your own?
These questions will help me find a more personalized solution to your problem.
7. Keep in Touch Email Template
It's sad to see a customer go — especially one who has been loyal to your company for a while. Once you've built a real relationship with a customer, the last thing you want to do is break off ties as soon as they decide to take a different path.
You want to show them that, no matter what, you still care about them and want what's best for them. And maybe, just maybe, they'll come running back to you with open arms in the future.
I'm sorry to see you go. Doing business with you these last four years has been great. I've learned so much from you and have made several updates to our products based on your thorough, thoughtful feedback. I appreciate everything you've done to make our company the best it can be.
As you set onto a new path, don't forget about us! I'd love to hear about your successes in the future and the exciting growth your company inevitably will have.
Please keep in touch. Good luck with everything!
8. Welcome Email Template
Congratulations! You've got a new customer or subscriber. There's truly nothing more exhilarating for a business. However, as your company's customer base grows larger, be sure to not overlook newcomers.
That's why it's important to send out welcome emails. This will help them get acquainted with your company and also show them that each and every individual customer matters to you. Also, this is a good opportunity to shower them with helpful content.
Welcome to [Your company]! I'm so excited to have you join us. We're feeling pretty lucky that you chose us, and I just wanna say thank you on behalf of our whole company.
To get you settled, I wanted to share with you some of our best resources so you can make the most out of your experience with us. Subscribe to our blog [add link] for some great tips and knowledge to be successful in your industry. Check out our Instagram [add link], Facebook [add link], and Twitter [add link] for your daily dose of industry news, advice, and behind-the-scenes looks.
If you're interested in learning more about your product, feel free to contact me or anyone else on our support team at any time. We're always here to help you in any way we can.
9. Account Manager Introduction Email Template
It can be tricky to send out that first email, as an account manager. Your new client has probably been speaking with one or more other employees at your company and has gotten relatively acquainted with them.
As you will be the one working directly with them from now on, it's important to develop an even stronger relationship with them that will continue into the foreseeable future.
Make it clear that you will be their direct contact from now on. You can take on a friendly, more comfortable tone. You want them to know that you are someone they can trust.
I'm [Your name], and I'm very excited to be your new Account Manager at [Your company]! I've heard great things about you from my teammates, and I'm hoping they've said some good things about me, too.
My role will be to guide you through anything you need. If you ever have questions, run into problems, consider an upgrade, or anything at all, I'm the one for the job. We will be working closely together, and I'll be helping you navigate your new product.
I'm looking forward to meeting you. Shall we set up a time this week to catch up in person?
10. Account Manager Transition Email Template
As much as you might love your company, you may get to the point where it's time to move on. Once you get a job offer that you can't refuse, it can be difficult to relay it to your employer, but even harder to tell your loyal customers.
It's essential that you keep your clients in the loop about this change. Since you have been an integral part of their professional lives, they should be notified of your leave. This will help them prepare for the shift, as this change will affect them, too.
After eight incredible years at [Your company], I'm excited to inform you that I have just accepted an offer to move on to [New company]. This new role will be an important player in advancing my career, and I couldn't feel more grateful for the opportunity.
However, that sadly means that I will no longer be your Account Manager here. I have enjoyed watching you grow and cheering on your successes. Working with you has taught me so much, and I will carry this knowledge on to this next chapter in my life.
Luckily, I have an incredible replacement for you. [Replacement's name] is an outstanding Account Manager and a dear friend of mine. She has been working here for over five years and has a lot to show for it. I genuinely believe you two will get along well and that she will be a huge support for you.
She will be emailing you in the next couple days with a warm greeting and plans for you both to meet. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.
Thank you again for being a great client for the last two years. I wish you all the best. Keep me posted on your business.
11. Free Trial Email Template
If you notice a prospect who seems interested in your products but fails to make a purchase, don't sweep them under the rug. That's a perfect opportunity to mention a free trial.
Prospects might be curious to learn more about your products but nervous to put down their card when they haven't gotten to fully interact with it. By offering a free trial, you are gaining the prospect's trust. In addition, once a customer gets acquainted with a product during a free trial, it's harder to turn it down.
I noticed that you seemed interested in some of the products on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to guide you through the different options.
I want to extend to you an offer for a free trial as it can be tough to commit to a product from a mere description. Our free trial lasts 30 days and lets you navigate all the features from the comfort of your home. It's a great chance to see which product is right for you and how much it can benefit you and your clients.
If you're interested, email me back or give me a call. I can talk you through all the details and get you set up.
12. Renewal Reminder Email Template
So your customer purchased an annual subscription to your product. Great.
However, it's hitting 350 days, and they haven't mentioned any interest in renewing their subscription. Yikes.
That's the perfect opportunity to send a renewal reminder email. There's a high possibility they simply forgot. Or, it could be that they're on the fence about it. Either way, a gentle reminder could steer them in the right direction.
I hope everything is going well with you and that you've had a great year navigating your product.
I noticed that your annual subscription is expiring in two weeks. Are you interested in renewing your subscription? If you're weighing your options, I'd love to chat further with you to help you come to a decision. If you'd like to upgrade to a new product, we can discuss that, as well.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
13. Customer Referral Email Template
Now that you've built a solid relationship with a customer, it's about time to ask them (nicely) for a referral. It makes sense to ask a happy customer for a referral. When they've had a very positive experience with your company, it's natural that they'll want the same for their family, friends, and colleagues in similar fields.
(For more information on this, check this post on how to ask for referrals.)
I'm so happy to hear that you're having a great experience implementing what you've learned with us into your company. Helping our customers help their customers has always been our goal.
Since I've loved getting to work with you these past few months, I was wondering if there was anyone you know who might benefit in a similar way. It would be a pleasure to help them achieve their goals.
I'm looking forward to it!
14. Customer Review Request Email Template
If you've worked with a customer for a while and helped them achieve results with your product or service, you may want to take the opportunity to give your product, service, business, or you personally, a review.
Reviews help increase ratings on review sites, which are one of the most trustworthy ways prospects research companies or products before making a purchase.
Timing-wise, it might make the most sense for you to send this email within a chain you've already started with your customer about the good results or successful project you collaborated with them on. You can either copy this template directly into a chain, or use the exact wording to start a new thread from scratch.
If you sell a physical product that your customer personally uses, you might reach out 10-15 days after the product is delivered to ask them how it's going.
I hope you're having a great week so far! I saw you've started sending out emails with our email marketing tool this week — it looks like you've achieved some impressive clickthrough rates. How are you enjoying working with the tool?
If you have any feedback or questions about the tool, don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email, and I'll help you out!
If you'd like to share your experience using Biglytics, here are our pages on G2Crowd and Capterra where you can give us a rating and share your feedback to help other customers learn about us.
Thanks for your time, and give me a call if you have any questions about the tool!
Customer Refund Letter Templates
Here are five customer service email templates that you can use for refunds.
15. Refund to Customers Email Template
Sadly, some customers are going to return your products.
Don't worry, it's not you. But, it's also not them. They aren't upset or frustrated like the above complaining customer. They simply don't enjoy the product or find a good use for it.
For instances like this, it's good to respond to a refund with an email expressing that there are no hard feelings and that you hope to do business with them again in the future.
I've processed your refund, and you should expect to see the amount appear in your bank account in the next couple business days.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't love your new product. I completely understand that it isn't for everyone.
If you're still on the search for the right choice for you, let me know. I'd be happy to talk you through some of our other options and see if any of them feel like a good fit for you. In the meantime, thank you for your time and for giving us a try.
I hope to connect with you again in the near future.
16. Product Exchange Email Template
Fortunately, not every unhappy customer will ask for a refund. Some may regularly purchase your product, so they know that one poor experience doesn’t represent your brand.
However, that also means they know what to expect from your product and will still be upset that it didn’t perform up to their standards. They won’t be angry enough to churn, but they will expect you to make things right. This is where this letter comes in handy.
Thanks for letting us know about this faulty product. We’ll do our best to assess the problem and determine exactly what went wrong with your [product name].
In the meantime, please accept this replacement product that I’ve personally assessed for performance.
We’d like to offer our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. We hope you continue to enjoy using our product and we are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Please feel welcome to contact our support team at [phone number], or reply to this message and we’d be more than happy to help.
17. Product Discount Email Template
When it comes to refunds, not every company has the same policy. Some may not offer product exchanges or full compensation for specific products or services. Others may require proof of purchase to issue a refund and can only provide store credit without it.
For these cases, your business may offer a small promotion so the customer will have a discount the next time they shop at your store. It’s not the refund the customer is looking for, but it’s better than leaving them empty-handed.
Thanks for reaching out.
Unfortunately, we can’t offer a refund at this time. According to our policy, [policy description + explanation of why the policy is in place].
I’ve checked with my manager to confirm this policy, and while we can’t offer a full refund, we can provide you with a discount of [discount amount] for the next time you shop in our stores.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding in this matter. Please feel welcome to reach out to me with any questions you may have and I would be more than happy to help.
18. Customer Apology Email Template
In some cases, your customer service team won’t be able to provide any type of refund or discount. This can lead to an awkward or stressful situation with the customer, especially if they feel like your company is in the wrong.
While you should personalize every apology, this message can be a baseline to work from when you need to take responsibility for your company’s mistakes.
Thank you for providing us this feedback.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and we appreciate your understanding in the matter. We know that [problem] has prevented you from achieving [customer’s goal], and that we have fallen short of your expectations.
I have relayed this feedback to the rest of my team and can assure you that this mistake won’t happen in the future. That being said, if there’s anything else that I can help you with at the moment, please feel welcome to reach out and I would be more than happy to help.
19. Return of Overpayment Email Template
Depending on your business model, customers may have to pay for a product or service upfront and are reimbursed later if they paid more than they needed to. This either requires you to send them a check or wire the money via a direct deposit.
Regardless of how it’s transferred, customers will want to know where this money is coming from. While they’ll be happy to accept the cash, they’ll be dubious of its origin if you don’t notify them of the return. And, you’ll also want to take credit for this refund as it shows your intention to provide an honest transaction.
For these cases, we can refer to this letter to alert your customers of an overpayment.
Thank you for your recent payment of [payment amount].
Upon review of your transaction, we’ve determined that the amount you have paid is more than what was required for this product or service. The actual amount that was due was [payment amount], thus leaving you with a credit of [credit amount]. Please find a [check amount or notice of deposit] enclosed in this letter.
We strongly believe in providing an honest experience for our customers and can assure you that we are working constantly to prevent potential fraud. We hope this message resolves any concerns you may have about this transaction and are more than happy to answer any additional questions.
20. Refund Notification Email Template
There are times where customers are eligible for a refund, but just don’t know it. While you shouldn’t be eager for them to return products, it’d be dishonest not to notify customers when they qualify to do so.
This type of proactive customer service builds trust with your customer base and creates a delightful support experience.
We hope this message finds you well.
We are reaching because you qualify for a refund for your purchase of [product name]. This refund is eligible for [period of time] and can be initiated by calling or messaging our customer service team.
Please feel welcome to reply to this email with any questions you may have and I would be more than happy to help.
Over to You
These templates will help you effortlessly master every email conversation and promote strong relationships with your customers.
Next, read this post on successful customer retention strategies from real brands.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November, 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published May 18, 2020 11:39:00 AM, updated May 18 2020