There's 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 relationship with them, the last thing you want is for them to be offended by an impersonal email.

Though it'd be ideal to hand-craft each and every email you send, it can also be time-consuming and inefficient.

Don't fret, we've got you covered. Below, we'll go over a list of best practices for writing customer service emails, a guide for responding to angry messages, and a collection of the best customer service email templates for a variety of scenarios.

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Best Practices for Writing Customer Service Emails

Though using a customer service email template will make your job much easier, you should still follow a few best practices.

In fact, the following tips apply especially when you use a pre-written email. They can help you personalize your response so that it doesn't seem canned and strengthens your company's customer retention strategy.

1. Use the customer's name.

This is the first step when reaching out or responding to customers. Using their name in the greeting will make your response feel genuine and targeted specifically to them.

2. Have the customer's conversation history handy.

When responding to a customer complaint or email, it's key to know when and why they've reached out to your company. Have they had this same issue in the past? Or have they only been a customer with you for a short time? This information can help you choose the appropriate tone for your email — whether profusely apologetic or cheery and helpful.

Additionally, if you have the customer's conversation history, you can personalize any template you use by including background information and context.

3. Brush up on key facts about their business or buyer persona.

In a similar vein, skim through the information you have on their business and buyer persona to understand why they reached out. Are they users of your product? Or are they top-level stakeholders at their organization? Do you know why they chose to do business with you? We recommend collecting this information using CRM software.

4. Try to understand their problem inside and out.

When reading over the email, try to understand the problem they're encountering before crafting a response. If you still need clarity, your response would be the place to ask questions.

No matter what, ensure that every email you send is filled with empathy and understanding — even when the customer is angry.

Empathy can help you deal with frustrated customers and decrease the chances that they'll leave you for a competitor. We understand that this is hard, so below, we'll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to respond to an angry customer email.

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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. It's best to tackle the problem within an hour as this will likely keep the conversation going over email and will reduce the chance of a follow-up call.

2. Apologize for their negative experience.

The first line in your response should be a genuine apology.

No matter how hurtful or unfair their email may seem, it's important to recognize that they took the time to craft a complaint because they had such a negative experience with your company. As a customer service professional, your goal is for none of your customers to have such a terrible experience, and it's the responsibility of your company to apologize for that.

It's also important to acknowledge your mistakes, taking some responsibility for what your company may have done wrong. It's less about proving a point and more about salvaging the relationship with that customer.

In this step, try to choose a tone that's both empathetic and apologetic, but make it clear that you're also eager to help.

3. Explain what may have gone wrong.

Customers really care about getting clear explanations and complete solutions for their problems — not just for their own well-being but for other customers as well.

They care about not letting the same issue happen to others. Offering the customer an explanation for the situation can help them understand that there were unexpected factors in play.

If you explain to them that the situation was a one-time event or rare occurrence — like their package getting lost in the mail or if they're left on hold for an hour — it will help ease the tension and potentially get them to empathize with your company.

4. Provide context for what happened.

Like we discussed above, it's important to understand where the customer is coming from. By looking at their history with your company, you're starting out on the same page in the conversation.

Show that you understand the context for the situation so the customer knows that you're aware of the issues they've faced before. You could say something like, "I see that you've had this problem before, a few months ago." This can help you provide genuine empathy (and not the fake empathy that some customer service scripts can have).

5. Reassure the customer that this won't happen again.

Even if the problem wasn't your fault — say, your logistics partnered failed to deliver the package on time — it's important to reassure the customer that you're doing everything possible to prevent this from happening again.

Whether you're checking in with your product team, retraining your sales team, or revisiting the relationship with your logistics partner, you should indicate to the customer that their angry email has resulted in company-wide action.

This will reassure them that they won't have this experience again and thus make it less likely that they'll leave you for a competitor.

6. Offer an incentive, refund, or discount.

Offering an incentive is a great option when a customer's complaint is so extreme that you fear worse repercussions — or when they specifically demand a refund or free item.

Alternatively, if a customer complaint is reasonable and polite, offer an incentive as thanks for remaining calm and patient with your team.

If a customer's complaint is the result of an error on your end, do as much as you can to offer them a reasonable discount or refund when appropriate. If the customer is completely unable to use the purchase as a result of the error, it's only fair to offer a full refund.

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, a small discount can buy goodwill with the customer.

If the complaints are the result of a company-wide outage or error that impacted hundreds of thousands of customers, 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.

7. 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 that you're still open to further feedback and it's on them to end the conversation.

The more opportunities you give them to interact with you, the higher the chance that their temper will subside and they will come to respect your company again.

8. Follow up with the customer.

After leaving the path open for more questions, it's critical to follow up with the customer and give them a final status on the resolution of their issue.

Whether it was a delayed package, a product outage, or a bad experience with the website, you want to reassure the customer that you've finished taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.

For example, if the issue was that the package was delayed in the mail, follow up with them in three days to tell them they should've received the product they ordered. Alternatively, you can check the tracking number and notify them that the package should have been left in their mailbox or on their front step.

If the customer experienced a technical malfunction, touch base with them to let them know that your team has finished working on the issue and that the malfunction is resolved.

Best Sample Email for Responding to an Angry Customer

Using the tips above, we've written a sample email that you can use to respond to an angry email from a customer.

Don't stop here. Below, we've curated a list of the best customer service email templates for every support situation.

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50 Customer Service Email Templates

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The Best Customer Service Email Templates

Let's take a look at some of the best customer service email templates you can lean on when in a variety of situations with customers.

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Customer Refund Letter Templates

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 another customer.

In a thank you email, you should never try to sell them something. It's simply an opportunity to show your appreciation.


2. Questionnaire Email Template

There are several kinds of questionnaires you may send your customers. From customer satisfaction surveys to demographics to Customer Effort Score (CES), each questionnaire offers valuable data to your company. Conducting a survey can help you get into the minds of your customers and make effective changes to your service experience.

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 offering an incentive.Pro tip: Consider using one of these "thank you in advance" alternatives for a more polite approach.


3. Angry Customer Response Email Template

Uh oh. You've got an angry customer, and they want to leave your business. 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 to cool down before typing 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.

This template is best used when the customer has indicated that they're taking their business elsewhere. If the customer is complaining but will remain with your business, you should use template #4.


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's 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.


5. Customer Service Follow-up Email Template

When a customer reaches out to you for support, 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.


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'll sometimes handle support inquiries 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.


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 back to you in the future.


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 not to overlook newcomers.

That's why it's important to send 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.


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 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're someone they can trust.


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.


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. This is a perfect opportunity to mention a free trial.

Prospects might be curious to learn more about your products but nervous to show their cards when they haven't gotten a chance to fully interact with your company. By offering a free trial, you're gaining the prospect's trust. Additionally, once a customer gets acquainted with a product during a free trial, it's harder to turn it down.


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.


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. If 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.


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 ask them to review your product, service, business, or you personally.

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 sense for you to send this email within a chain you've already started with the customer about the good results or a 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.


Customer Refund Letter Templates

Here are a few useful customer service email templates that you can use for refunds.

15. Refund to Customer 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 customers above. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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 return, they'll be dubious of its origin if you don't notify them ahead of time. You'll also want to take credit for this refund as it shows your intention to provide an honest transaction.

For these cases, you can use this letter to alert your customers of an overpayment.


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.

 

21. Refund Status Email Template

To avoid any hiccups in the refund process, it'd be helpful to let your customer know the status of their refund once it's en route to their account.

If you'd prefer to refer to your company in the plural form, simply swap the "I" for "We."

 

22. Refund Not Received Email Template

If your customer hasn't received a refund and reached out to you about it, you should act as if you're responding to a customer complaint: with empathy, sincerity, and clear intentions to resolve the problem.

Most of the time, the delay is on the bank's end. In this instance, gently remind the customer that a few more business days may pass before the refund is processed.

 

23. Out-of-Policy Refund Email Template

Sometimes, customers reach out for a refund when they're past the date of eligibility.

You have the option of offering store credit or giving them personalized support for getting the most out of their new product.

Create a Strong Customer Experience Using Customer Service Email Templates

Using email templates will help you effortlessly master every email conversation and promote strong relationships with your customers. Provide personalized solutions, connect with your customers, and retain their business without needing to write every email from scratch.

The email templates above will help you create a winning customer service strategy — all while saving time and effort for your team.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Originally published Jun 11, 2021 5:00:00 PM, updated June 15 2021

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