Importance of Email in a Multi-Channel Customer Service World

“One huge advantage of email versus social media is email’s linear delivery model,” – Jay Baer

In the world of modern commerce, customer service has evolved into a fine skill that operates through multiple channels such as telephone, text messages, email, social media, websites, and face-to-face interactions. The propagation and distribution of customer services through said channels has enabled modern businesses to reach closer to the customer, examine closely customer motivations and intent, expand business relationships, and tailor products and services in tune with the customer’s emerging requirements. That said, we must note that the importance of email remains a crucial factor in the customer service domain. Email may be regarded as ‘old school’ in certain sections of the market, but the said medium has proven itself to be a cost-efficient workhorse that can build or mar business performance.

We must bear in mind that email represents a permanent communications medium that remains unfettered by the limitations imposed by paper-driven systems. The importance of email is underlined by the fact that every modern consumer has personal access to at least one email inbox and this represents unprecedented business access to every consumer. Email systems can be diverse – ranging from proprietary closed email platforms to free for all email systems that can be used by anyone with an Internet connection. Commercial emails afford businesses an opportunity to conduct ‘cold’ calling actions without disturbing the time and space of the consumer; this stems from the fact that the consumer is free to review received emails at any time and place of his choosing. This is in sharp contrast to telephone calls that demand the consumer’s attention in real time. In addition, emails can be designed and re-designed from the ground up, iteratively and infinitely, in an attempt to capture the consumer’s attention. These aspects help us to appreciate the importance of email in the world of customer services.

Businesses must bear in mind that the primary purpose of emails in customer service applications lies in resolving a specific problem being faced by a customer. The wide range of products and services offered by modern brands and businesses creates substantial scope for customer interaction; this may be enabled by the use of an email system. The importance of email is illuminated by the fact that an email chain can be created through the back and forth interactions of a business and its customers. The chain of communication records the import of the dialogue; this enforces a degree of accountability on the business enterprise, because it has to stand by the commitments etched in the email trail. Moreover, both the business and the customer are at liberty to review the progress registered toward problem resolution by perusing the different stages of the email-driven dialogue. We may say that this enforces a degree of transparency in commercial transactions; we may view this as an emphatic win in favour of the customer’s rights when viewed through the lens of commercial obligations.

Most brands and enterprises exert themselves to expand their customer base and increase their market share. Email-driven customer service actions can help in the achievement of such commercial objectives. For instance, a cosmetics and beauty products manufacturer can deploy the full power of email communications to keep customers aware of the latest product offerings. This action can be counted among customer services because informing the customer reflects positively on the brand or business enterprise. The importance of email is further reflected in the fact that the said business can poll its customers on the efficacy of its products and test customer reactions via email. A few questions can be appended to the emails in an effort to gauge customer reactions to the overall business and unearth any instances of negative customer impressions. We must note that the email-driven dialogue creates ample room for the customer to post his or her reactions; this considered response can be leveraged by the business to refine its customer service stances and improve its position in the market vis-à-vis the competition.

Businesses can be advised to expand the use of customer service emails by educating the customer on the use of business products and services. For instance, a software manufacturer can device emails embedded with screenshots, examples, and web-links to FAQ pages. This approach underscores the importance of email as a critical visual aid to help confused consumers to navigate the firm’s products. We must note that the email sent to consumers can reside in perpetuity in their mail boxes and therefore, represents a ready reckoner at the disposal of the consumer at any time. The visual nature of the email communication also helps the business to reduce costs because it prevents the consumer from initiating a telephonic conversation with said business; such conversations have to be manned by technical experts and therefore, entail substantial additional costs for the said business. This represents a critical factor that spotlights the importance of email in modern customer service paradigms.

The use of emails in business communications such as customer services allows a business to use simple language to communicate with the consumer. In contrast, using real time vehicles such as telephones and social media platforms can force a business to use complex terminology. For instance, a telephonic conversation with a consumer imposes real time restrictions on both parties because they have to be connected and must converse in real time. The consumer may have a problem relating the nature of the problem or situation he or she faces, and this may be exacerbated by the fact that the customer service representative may not have a direct answer or solution to offer at the time. Similarly, an interaction on social media is constrained by the limits imposed by cyber real estate, thereby generating its own set of problems. However, email communication shines because the consumer can describe the situation in his or her own words and the business can take its time to respond appropriately. This approach makes for a considered back-and-forth exchange and is more likely to remedy the situation. This analysis further underlines the importance of email in customer services.

The considered used of web-links is possible mostly in email-driven customer service platforms. Web links are important because modern customers tend to be literate and technology-savvy; therefore, multiple (relevant) web links can be embedded in an email in an attempt to solve the customer’s queries and direct him or her to relevant knowledge portals. This aspect highlights the importance of email in customer service because a satisfied customer is less likely to raise a complaint to the business enterprise. The said customer can also be more inclined to give a more-than-satisfactory rating to the business because his or her queries and concerns were resolved at first contact with said business.

The preceding paragraphs have sought to examine the competitive edges that grace email-driven customer services. We must bear in mind at all times that a customer represents a crucial business asset and must be serviced on a priority basis. Email-driven customer service represents a failsafe mode of communications that bears the promise of creating enduring business value. The use of such communications reflects business priorities in a positive light and has the potential to elevate the image and mind share of any brand, business, or enterprise.


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