5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience Using Email

07 July, 2022

Email is still very much alive and well! Electronic mail is one of the top three favourite touchpoints when connecting with a brand, according to Forrester.

While customers prefer phone calls and online chats for the human emotional connection, email is preferred for asynchronous communication such as feedback and complaints.

The key to improving customer experience with email is to equip your teams with the tools they need to do their best work. When they collaborate and work smarter towards first-time resolution, they will have more time to create value and build customer relationships. After all, happy teams equates to happy customers!

What is the email customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) refers to the total impression that customers have of your brand after interacting with it. This encompasses anything from your agent's tone on a phone call to their effectiveness in resolving a problem through a live chat widget.

For emails, customers quickly form impressions after exchanging messages with your business. These include questions such as:

  • Do they have a complete view of me as a customer?
  • How knowledgeable are they about my issue?
  • Can they resolve my problem in the first email?
  • Did they reply to me using a template answer?

While email lacks the immediacy of phone calls and live chat, customer expectations for timely and quality email responses are just as high. The following best practices show how to improve customer experience with emails. Try them out now!

1. Unify your communication channels

Customers can sometimes feel that emails are an isolated experience from other touchpoints. Businesses may use a separate app for emails as well as different support teams to handle email enquiries. This results in a disconnected experience when agents switch between applications, unaware of what was discussed in earlier phone conversations, live chat or social messaging.

By unifying your communication channels, you can demonstrate awareness of prior customer interactions. A CX platform, such as CINNOX, can integrate your emails as omnichannel enquiries, linking your support email inbox so that you can see emails, phone calls, chats and social messages displayed in a single continuous conversation.

Giving agents the tools they need to stay informed enables them to surprise and delight your customers. Instead of asking clients to clarify or repeat their questions, you can anticipate their inquiries by quickly understanding the context of their interactions. This not only saves everyone's time but also helps to resolve the customer's issue quickly.

2. Resolve it in the first reply

Forrester also discovered that few customers enjoy exceptional experiences. The majority believed that their questions were not answered in the initial engagement, and more than half did not achieve the expected outcome. If you're using email, each encounter with a new agent will add to an already lengthy and complicated thread!

By linking your support email address to a CX platform, you can route and transfer customer emails just like any other enquiry. This helps businesses with multiple customer service teams or groups as you can distribute incoming email enquiries to their preferred destinations using smart routing rules:

  1. Alternative routing distributes incoming enquiries in a linear pattern to your destination. For example, if Team A is unavailable it should go to Team B.
  2. Percentage routing distributes incoming enquiries at percentage value. For example, 70% of emails should go to Team A while 30% go to Team B.
  3. Time-based routing distributes incoming enquiries using time allocation. For example, 8:00am to 7:59pm goes to Team A while Team B picks up the night shift from 8:00pm to 7:59am.
  4. Sticky routing establishes a relationship between a customer and agent. New enquiries from the same customer will route to the agent that helped them before.

In addition, ongoing email enquiries can be transferred from one agent to another. This helps to ensure that the issue is resolved the first time since the enquiry is directed to the best-qualified agent or a subject matter expert who can respond to the email.

The routing and transfer features work together to provide a better CX email workflow. Once routing rules are established, they operate intelligently in the background, reducing mistakes caused by human routing. Furthermore, they increase team productivity by allowing more time to be spent on challenging cases.

3. Build one-to-one relationships

Some contact centres have a policy of answering support tickets by agents on duty at the time. While this leads to faster response times, some customers may feel as if they are being passed from agent to agent with no one point of contact.

CINNOX's sticky routing functionality allows you to create one-to-one relationships. When CRM, ticketing and billing data are integrated, the client will be greeted by a familiar agent who will have a 360-degree customer view. All these additional insights can help agents tailor personalised solutions specifically for the customer.

Personalising emails can also help to build stronger customer ties. Start by using a business casual tone—write how you might speak to them in person—and use their first names. However, what works for a hip consumer brand may not resonate for a private wealth management product! Match the brand voice to your product.

4. Proactively engage customers

When a customer or prospect calls you for assistance, they may have become frustrated while attempting to fix the issue on their own. Or they may simply try a competing solution. This brief window of opportunity can mean the difference between a trial account that does not convert and a paying customer!

You don't have to wait for inbound emails to uncover problems. Instead, utilise outbound emails to reach out to customers and anticipate issues. This email strategy enables you to influence their decision-making, guide them through your offerings, and alert them about their self-service help options.

For example, you could have a dedicated customer success team whose job is to anticipate customer challenges and assist them in achieving their goals with your product. You can assign staff who can send outbound emails and limit them to contacts in their list to increase transparency and accountability.

5. Monitor emails for service quality

While network administrators can monitor and audit company emails sent via Google Workspace or Microsoft Exchange Online, these insights do not provide a comprehensive picture of all customer interactions with your brand.

When you integrate Gmail and Outlook with CINNOX, you can search for email enquiries, view their statistics from your dashboard and generate enquiry reports using filters. Drill down into analytics to learn about your most popular enquiry channels, destinations that handled the most enquiries, and the average time spent on them.

Using these reports, you can also see the proportion of online versus offline enquiries received by your team. Furthermore, you can view specific email conversations handled by your agents for quality assurance and performance monitoring.

Better email practices for happier customers!

By implementing these email best practices for customer experience, you can ensure that your customers are well served by your online and offline support options. Customers, after all, see your brand as a whole—a bad email experience can quickly undo an exceptional phone call or a fantastic live chat experience.

To learn more about how to improve your customer experience using email, speak to an expert at CINNOX now!

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