Welcome to the world of canned messages. If you're in the mood for spaghetti Bolognese, do you (a) spend hours over a stockpot of fresh Italian tomatoes and herbs, or (b) grab a jar of your favourite artisanal pasta sauce? Either (a) or (b) are correct since the results will be very similar to all but the most discerning gourmet!
Just like instant pasta sauce, canned responses have a mixed reputation as they may come across as stale, bland or insipid. But when used in the hands of a skilful and empathetic support agent, the result may be indistinguishable from a message that has been drafted from scratch, saving your team much time in the process.
Here’s how you can use canned messages effectively in your customer service strategy to improve team productivity and work more efficiently. Remember, even a pot of pasta sauce that has been lovingly simmered for hours can suddenly be turned inedible when too much salt is added at the end or when the bottom is burnt!
What are canned responses?
Canned responses are pre-defined answers or messages to common enquiries encountered by customer support agents. Rather than spending time writing an answer from scratch for every question that comes in, your agents can simply insert pre-written template responses to queries in email, instant messaging or live chat.
Hey! My name is Josh, you've reached the Best Pet Store on Earth. How can I help you today?
Now, imagine if Josh had to type this message every time he enters a chat. Not only will he be adding precious seconds to a customer's wait time, he would soon get tired of typing it out. Semi-automating this oft-used greeting saves him effort, gives the brand some marketing exposure, and reminds the customer who they are talking to.
Why should canned responses be used?
44%-46% of consumers still regard online live chat as a top three touchpoint when interacting with a brand.
Forrester, Infuse Digital Experiences With The Right Dose Of Human Touch
1. More efficient
Because agents can pair common responses to shortcut keys, canned messages work well in real-time, high-pressure live chat situations. When used during a chat, the flow may look natural while also moving the customer engagement efficiently, resolving the problem quickly, and frees the agent to answer the next chat in the queue.
2. Saves time
Just like how canned and jarred food can stand in when you are short of time, the clever use of canned messages can save your customers and agents time, achieving very authentic results like hand-crafted messages. The time saved could be spent elsewhere for more meaningful work and create happier agents as well.
3. Better consistency
Canned answers can also help ensure that FAQs are answered consistently and correctly. When your agents have pre-written templates and answers at their fingertips, they don't have to recall if the product return window is 28 or 30 days, for example, which reduces the risk of confusing customers with contradicting answers.
Examples of canned responses
As you can gather by now, canned messages can be used in just about any customer interaction. How you utilise them and what you write is limited by your creativity and imagination. Remember to follow your brand voice when you write so the customer experience is consistent across every canned response touchpoint:
✅ Hey partner! You can start earning credits from your referrals by sharing this link.
❌ Dear user, here is your affiliate marketing URL so that you can share it to earn credits.
Which would you rather have across the entire customer experience? Let's explore more canned responses.
1. Welcome message
A welcome message lays out the red carpet for customers. Just like making eye contact with a sales assistant in a busy retail shop, it acknowledges the customer's presence and asks them to patiently wait their turn while others are served first.
You're in the queue! We'll serve you very soon. Meanwhile, check out our seasonal promotions at the top of the screen.
2. Assistance message
Now that it's the customer's turn and the chat session has started, your agent can ask how they can help. Starting with an open-ended question encourages engagement and allows the agent to better understand the issue at hand.
Thanks for waiting. This is Jane. How can I help?
3. Thank you message
You finish the conversation with a thank you message after welcoming the customer to the chat. A thank you message is like politely walking a customer out the front door of a store—it expresses thanks to the consumer for their patronage.
Thanks for being a champ and our #1 customer. We'd love it if you could rate your satisfaction with our customer survey on the next screen.
4. Outreach message
Customer service and support aren't just a one-way street of inbound interactions. Your agents can send outbound chats and emails to check in with new customers to see if they are achieving their business goals using your product or service.
How's it going? Just checking to see if everything's running smoothly, or if there are any issues with our solution. I'm listening!
5. Feedback message
Asking for feedback is a good way to end a conversation, graciously signalling to the customer that the interaction is wrapping up. Since it is a leading question, if the customer answers "no" then additional enquiries and issues may be introduced.
It was great talking to you. Did I resolve your enquiry today?
Putting it altogether
CINNOX supports the use of canned responses that can be inserted into your conversations with a couple of keystrokes. Even multilingual text can be assigned to shortcut keys, enabling your agents to save predefined messages in languages that use special character sets like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, Thai, and more.
In CINNOX, canned replies can be categorised as personal or public to help managers and agents create a workflow for optimal efficiency:
- Public canned responses. All users can view and use them but only the admin can edit them. This is useful for creating and sending consistent messages, for example, details of a current marketing promotion.
- Personal canned responses are only visible to the user who created them. They are unique to each user and can be certain greetings or phrases used by them like "Have a good weekend!".
Now, let's see how an agent using CINNOX can piece together personal and public canned messages in a conversation with a customer's enquiry about the whereabouts of their order.
After looking at this natural conversation flow, let's see if you can spot personal and public canned responses in your next interaction with a customer support agent!