Month: March 2024

New customers are important to every business, but there’s an important audience for every business that shouldn’t be overlooked: existing customers.

“Is the person who purchased yesterday happy? Were they successful with our product?” are concerns of businesses everywhere.

Many companies struggle to help customers truly find success with their products. Customers sign up for a monthly package but ultimately cancel, or products get returned. When retention rates are low, something lethal is happening along the path of your customer journey.

Given that we’ve all been disappointed customers at one point or another, this process is easy to understand. I was in this boat recently when I was searching for transcription software. A free program caught my eye, and after I went through the signup and video upload process, it told me that only the first 60 seconds of the transcription was actually free. I immediately canceled my account.

In the words of Chandler Bing, could I have BEEN any more annoyed? Maybe this was a bait-and-switch trick on the company‘s end. Maybe I overlooked obvious warnings and had misaligned expectations. Whatever the reason, my customer journey ended as quickly as it began, and that’s a concern for all companies.

Pinpointing exactly how to help customers achieve their desired outcomes is a big task, but you don‘t need to immediately hire a customer success manager to tackle this. There are many steps you can take to further your business goals and customer success, even with a small team and limited budget. Here’s how to start.

Table of Contents

What is scaled customer success?

Customer support is the reactive process of helping customers with a problem. Scaled customer success is the proactive process of providing customers with the resources and support they need to achieve their desired outcome with your product. This is done by creating repeatable systems that help you keep up with a growing customer base.

A customer success strategy can take the form of knowledge bases, program demos, etc., or can result in the development of entire dedicated customer success teams.

Benefits of Scaling Customer Success

Your customer base will benefit from your scaled customer success initiatives, but how will YOU benefit? If you effectively scale customer success, you can expect to see these payoffs.

Increase in Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value (or CLV) refers to the sum total of revenue that a customer generates for a company, and your odds of increasing it rise when you scale customer success.

One CEO frames it this way: it’s less about extending company reach and more about increasing the value you provide to existing customers.

“We focus on deepening our impact and ensuring each individual is getting a more enriched experience through our offerings,” says James Wilkinson, CEO of Balance One Supplements. It’s paying off in spades.

“We’ve experienced a 40% increase in our CLV over the past year due solely to our large investment in scaling and optimizing our customer success, which has reflected a huge increase in revenue from our customers over the recent years,” Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson attributes this significant increase in customer growth to customers’ high levels of satisfaction.

“We’re putting great efforts into providing a more personalized experience by collecting data and then using data analytics to improve our recommendations and support framework for our customers so that they consistently return to our brand and make more purchases,” Wilkinson says.

Gather Insightful Customer Data

If you successfully scale your customer success, you’ll gather data, insights, and ideas that will help further your business growth. The most important data to collect revolves around:

  • Customer lifetime value.
  • Decision makers.
  • Segmentation data.
  • Customer happiness.
  • Sales won and sales lost.
  • Support ticket success.

Learn more in our customer data guide.


When do you reach out to customer support? After you have a problem with a product. It‘s a necessary reactive form of customer support, but smart brands also support customers before there’s a problem.

Can you remember the last time a brand proactively tried to assist you with their product? I’ll wait while you think. Proactivity is at the heart of scaled customer success, and it’s a powerful way to support and empower customers to reach their potential.

Better Understanding of the Entire Customer Journey

You’ll learn an incredible amount about your customers by proactively looking at what hurdles they might experience on their journey with your product.

There are huge payoffs to examining your customers‘ experience. You’ll:

  • Understand customer expectations.
  • Anticipate success hurdles.
  • Proactively resolve problems.
  • Improve customer experience.
  • Reduce the burden on the customer support team.

This is particularly important for businesses in the startup phase. Rapid growth can unintentionally result in missing puzzle pieces, skipped opportunities, and overlooked customer health concerns.

With fresh insights into the customer journey, you can tweak your offer to perfectly meet customers’ expectations.

How to Scale Customer Success

With the benefits of scaled customer success understood, it‘s time to look at the nitty-gritty of how you improve your customer’s journey.

Create a clear onboarding process.

A key part of effectively scaling customer success is an onboarding process that sets expectations, answers questions, and anticipates customer issues. Failing to do this is costly.

One founder even says that most customer churn is the result of failed onboarding and that businesses need to be spending more time, money, and resources on building the best customer onboarding.

“This must be the most diligent part of your customer success process,” shares Ed Porter, owner and chief revenue officer of Blue Chip CRO.

Porter says that onboarding requires diligence and time investment to ensure that all buyer personas understand how they will each receive the benefit.

“Often CSMs only talk to execs, who are farthest removed from the usage of the product or service. During onboarding, the full personas need to be mapped, engaged, and have a role to play that interfaces with your company,” says Porter.

Check out this onboarding process example from Duolingo:

Example of company onboarding process from Duolingo

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Offer customer self-service.

Salesforce surveyed more than 14,000 consumers and found that 61% of customers say that, when it comes to simple issues, they prefer self-service. Once you examine the customer experience, you’ll observe where customer issues arise using your product, and you can create resources that aid them.

Customer self-service offerings can take a number of forms:

Look at this customer self-service hub example from SurferSEO:

Example of customer success efforts from SurferSEO

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A word of warning: Never eliminate human help from your process, or customer relationships will suffer. Salesforce found that 65% of surveyed customers still expected an immediate response when they contacted a company, which leads us to the next step.

Invest in customer support.

That’s right — companies can never stop investing in customer support.

In the age of never-ending AI shortcuts and frustrating customer support chatbots, providing personalized support to customers is invaluable — and profitable.

Research has found that 88% of customers report that good customer service increases their odds of becoming repeat customers. Aim to understand customer needs and provide personalized support.

Or, as this founder put it: Foster a culture of customer obsession. Dr. Thanu Jey, medical director and founder at MediBrace, encourages businesses to leverage technology but keep the human touch in their customer support.

“Remember, technology empowers, but human connection is irreplaceable. Invest in building strong relationships through personalized interactions and active listening,” says Jey.

Jey also recommends empowering your team to go the extra mile to resolve issues and exceed expectations. “By prioritizing customer success, you build a community of loyal advocates who drive sustainable growth,” Jey says.

Here’s an example of a customer support hub from Later:

Example of customer success self-service from Later

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Survey for customer satisfaction.

More than 80% of companies agree that it’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to woo new ones. The importance of customer satisfaction can‘t be overstated, but how is your company doing on this front? Without surveys, you’ll never know.

Surveys turn your customers‘ feelings into data, and you can’t effectively scale customer success without it. Once you have this data, you can:

  • Identify patterns.
  • Develop more strategic initiatives.
  • Create better service offerings.

Not sure what to write? Download our free customer survey templates.

Check out this example of a customer survey from HubSpot:

Customer satisfaction survey from HubSpot

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Share customer success.

Not all of your customer interactions need to be customer service-centric or sales-oriented. Some teams nurture their customer base by sharing success stories.

“An example of scaling customer success that we’ve applied in our company is sharing successful cases of using our product with all users,” says Aksinia Chumachenko, product analytics team lead at Simpals.

“When people see that someone has solved their problem with a product or service, it increases their trust, and they are more inclined to use this product themselves because they have seen a positive example. This is an example where scaling customer success can impact revenue, as it encourages more people to use the product,” Chumachenko notes.

6 Tips for Scaling Customer Success

One in 6 shoppers say they’ll walk away from a purchase over bad service. The cost of poor customer experience is steep. Use these tips to help you build a system that works for both you and your customers.

1. Build a customer success team.

A customer success team (CS team) is a part of your company dedicated specifically to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes with your product. While it may seem like your entire company fits under this umbrella, many workers will never come into contact with customers themselves.

Customer success managers, on the other hand, work directly with customers and help improve the customer experience, retention rates, and revenue growth. These teams can come in different shapes and sizes: some companies have an entire customer success department, while a smaller team might have one customer success leader.

When managed properly, these teams are incredibly effective: The HubSpot customer success team was able to improve revenue retention from 80% to 100% by refining how we work (here’s how).

2. Leverage automation tools.

AI can’t do everything, but it can have a huge impact on your customer success. Shubham Nigam is an advocate for AI. As a Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn Search for four years, he worked on the search feedback in the LinkedIn app. He said that millions of daily users resulted in thousands of pieces of feedback from customers; AI made the feedback manageable.

“Using AI, we were able to categorize pieces of feedback and find the best ones to work on. The only way to scale customer success is to use AI,” says Shubham Nigam. “Convert the unstructured customer feedback data into structured data through LLMs and then give feedback to product teams to fix it.”

While not all companies can relate to receiving thousands of customer service messages per day, everyone can automate processes so they can focus on customer interactions.

See come of some of the free automation tools available in our Service Hub:

scaling customer success, Free customer success organization tools from HubSpot

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3. Use customer feedback.

Your golden ticket to increase customer satisfaction may be sitting in your inbox already. No one has insights into your product like current customers. Yes, sometimes these suggestions come from angry customers and make you feel like Ron Weasley opening a howler from his mother. Those emails still contain lightbulb moments for your customer success team.

Savvy customer success operations welcome customer suggestions. Here’s an example from the Tailwind App:

Tailwind App customer suggestion form

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I‘m a longtime customer of Tailwind, and I’ve suggested features that have eventually been worked into the platform. It feels incredible to see my customer feedback be valued and implemented.

4. Build scalable systems.

Scaled customer success relies on businesses building repeatable systems. This can leverage technology like:

Example of the chatbot builder within the HubSpot Service Hub®:

HubSpot Service Hub® chatbot builder screenshot

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Automated customer service is powerful when used correctly, but remember that managing customer relationships requires human attention and can never be completely automated.

5. Involve engineers.

Engineers don‘t know what inspires customers to buy from your company like your sales employees do. And your sales team doesn’t know the capabilities of the product backend.

“Being an engineer for 10+ years, I strongly believe that it should be an engineer directly talking to the customer and solving their issues with great speed, removing the need for the customer talking to the middlemen,” shares Nigam.

Nigam notes that this has been successful for Quest Labs AI. As the chief technology officer (CTO), Nigam leads customer success for select clients. “I haven’t heard a single complaint as of yet in the last couple of months after this strategy,” Nigam says.

6. Use Service Hub.

Not everyone has the budget for an in-house customer success organization; that’s where HubSpot comes in.

Service Hub has the tools you need to scale your customer success without the overwhelm of needing a different software for every task. Let us help you:

  • Manage contacts.
  • Track conversations.
  • Generate reports.
  • Automate follow-up communication.
  • Create customer portals.
  • Deploy customer surveys.
  • Build a knowledge base.
  • And much, much more.

Try it for yourself with our free plan or a free demo of our premium plans.

HubSpot Service Hub screenshot

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Scaling Your Success

When I‘m having an issue, and I’m put directly in touch with the customer success team, I feel confident that my problem will actually be solved. Investing in your customer success platform will make your customers feel just as valued.

Whether you’re building your customer success team or working on scaling customer success with free tools, the HubSpot Service Hub will support you and your customers every step of the way.

Apply for a job, keep track of important information, and prepare for an  interview with the help of this free job seekers kit.

Just as important as handling a furious customer over the phone is sending an email to calm an upset customer. Using the right customer service email template can amp up the resolution process and improve customer satisfaction.

In this guide, we’ll go over a list of best practices for writing customer service emails, tips to respond to angry messages, and a collection of the best customer service email templates for various scenarios. 

→ Access Now: 50 Customer Service Email Templates [Free Resource]

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

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.

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, which in turn strengthens your company’s customer retention strategy.

Best Practices for Writing Customer Service Emails. Personalize your email. Try to understand their problem inside and out. Have the customer's conversation history handy. Brush up on key facts about their business or buyer persona. Offer specific solutions or suggestions in the email. Anticipate extra questions or concerns. Use a customer service tool with built-in templates.

1. Use the customer’s name.

I always want to make customers feel comfortable and well taken care of.

I’ve found that starting emails with the customer’s name is the first step in creating a genuine customer interaction with a personal touch. This tip is a no-brainer, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it! I’ve certainly made the mistake of leaving the top of the email as:

Hi [Customer Name],

So don’t be like me, and double-check each email to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot by addressing the customer by name.

2. Have the customer’s conversation history handy.

I always want to be prepared, especially when responding to a customer complaint. In my experience, knowing as much of a customer’s history as possible is vital when corresponding via email.

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 by including background information and context. In my experience, customers appreciate when they can tell you’ve done your homework to understand their past issues and customer support history.

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

Similarly, I’ve also found it helpful to understand the customer’s business, what they do, and their needs. I spoke with Daniel Gallager, customer relationship manager at IBISWorld, who shared some insight on the importance of doing the homework to understand customers and gain their trust.

“Sigging into a client’s quarterly statements, annual reports, or even blog posts goes further than any generic check-in or marketing email possibly could. Let the client know you researched them with a detailed email, and you’ll differentiate yourself from 75% of their vendors,” he says.

Here are some things to consider when brushing up on customer details: Are they users of your product? Or are they top-level stakeholders in their organization? Do you know why they chose to do business with you? 

I’ve discovered that even a cursory understanding of a customer’s organization makes them feel well taken care of and more than just a number.

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 a customer is encountering before crafting a response. Then, if you still need clarity, your response would be the place to ask questions.

In my experience as a customer service rep, I always had the most tremendous success when coming from a place of empathy and understanding – especially when dealing with an angry or difficult customer.

Empathy is the key to pleasing frustrated customers and decreasing the chances they‘ll leave you for a competitor. 

I know it can be challenging, but keep reading, and I’ll take you through a step-by-step guide to responding to an angry customer email.

5. Use a customer service tool with built-in templates.

A tool with built-in email templates like Service Hub can simplify your customer service email process and make it more effective. With pre-designed and pre-approved templates, you can make sure your customer service emails are clear, consistent, and professional.

Built-in templates have saved me a lot of time and effort. Using built-in templates, your team won’t have to search for the right template or copy and paste an outdated template saved in a Drafts folder somewhere.

Templates offer a framework for common scenarios and feature customizable fields for personalization, making it easy to tailor each message to each customer’s needs.

6. Offer specific solutions or steps to resolve the issue.

As you personalize your response, be specific about your understanding of the customer problem.

Then, offer clear instructions. Break down complex processes into simple and actionable steps so that the customer can follow along easily.

Pro tip: Use bullet points and numbered lists to outline the sequence of actions required. This makes it easier for a frustrated customer to understand and try your solution.

7. Anticipate extra questions or concerns.

When working with customers, I always want to stay one step ahead. Use what you know about your customer’s pain points and history to anticipate any questions they may have after reading your email.

8. Bring up additional contact details. 

After a couple of years as a service rep for HubSpot, I noticed that not all customers want to continue the conversation over email — some would prefer talking over the phone, others through SMS, and some even on social media.

Occasionally, people reach out via email because they’re simply unaware of your other contact methods. Since great service is all about providing tailored experiences to each customer, make sure you give customers the option to move the conversion elsewhere if they wish.

Plugging in your other contact details, like your phone number or social links, in a customized email signature is the best place to let customers know about it. It doesn’t distract from the body copy, but the signature and contact icons are still visible enough to attract attention.

Add responses to those potential follow-up questions to your email. This will improve the customer experience because they won‘t have to reach out again. It will also show them you’re committed to their satisfaction.

1. Respond as soon as possible.

Everyone appreciates a timely customer service response. I know I do.

Sometimes, you receive a complicated issue or pointed complaint, and you just want to put it on the back burner while you deal with easier tickets first. Take it from me: that’s not the right move.

The longer you wait to respond to a customer complaint, the more likely they will take it to a public platform where other consumers can form opinions about your company.

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

Even if it was a difficult issue I didn’t have a solution for right away, I would immediately let the customer know I was aware of the problem and looking into it. I succeeded greatly in taking an honest, empathetic, and timely customer service approach. 

2. Apologize for their negative experience.

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

I’ve received customer emails that felt hurtful and unfair, and it’s no fun. However, I’ve found the key is approaching the situation from a place of empathy. Recognize that the customer had a negative experience with your company, and you’ll be better able to remove ego from the situation and work together to craft a solution.

I reached out to Alexander Watling, a former HubSpotter and current manager of customer success at Coveo, for some insight on the topic.

“Above all, and all the more so in escalated scenarios, remember there’s another human on the other end. If you use templates, make the words your own, and speak to that other human who is just trying to do what’s best for their company and customers,”

Watling speaks to the humanity at the core of service. We’re all just people trying to do our best, so always keep that in mind and meet your customers accordingly.

It‘s also important to acknowledge your mistakes. I’ve found that taking responsibility for something that went wrong, even if it’s not your fault, will go a long way in rebuilding trust with the customer.

When apologizing to a customer, an empathetic, apologetic tone works best. Make it clear to the customer that you are genuinely committed to help, and they will appreciate it.

3. Explain what may have gone wrong.

Customers 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 any 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 — it will help ease the tension and potentially get them to empathize with your company.

4. Provide context for what happened.

Customer interactions don’t happen in a vacuum. You must consider a customer’s history with your company, including past support tickets, interactions with CS, and more. Understanding a customer’s history with your company allows you to anticipate their needs and shows them your commitment to providing excellent service.

Demonstrating your understanding of a situation’s context helps strengthen the customer relationship with empathy and understanding. In my experience, saying something like, “I see you ran into this issue a few months ago. “I’m sorry you’re experiencing this again, but we’ll resolve it immediately” goes a long way in building trust and turning a negative customer experience into a positive one.

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

Sometimes, issues happen, and it isn’t even your fault. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s not great. However, as we used to say on my old team, “the buck stops with you.” 

It’s your responsibility as a service representative to own all problems that come your way and assure the customer that they won’t happen again.

Let’s say your logistics partner lost a customer’s package. Even though you didn’t physically misplace their package, you are the face of your organization at that moment, and it’s up to you to rebuild trust and assure the customer that your organization is doing everything possible to rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again.

In a difficult situation like the one above, you must clarify to the customer that their negative experience has resulted in company-wide action on their behalf.

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.

As a former support professional, I’ve encountered customer issues that are so severe that offering a refund, discount, or other incentive is the only option. Of course, this isn’t ideal. However,  I think salvaging a damaged customer relationship is worth the financial pain of the incentive.

When customers are reasonable, understanding, and polite during a difficult interaction, I’ve found that offering them a discount as a show of thanks can be an excellent move. 

If a complaint stemmed from an error on our end, we did everything possible to rectify the situation and offered incentives where appropriate.

In the case of widespread issues that affect many customers, you may be unable to compensate everyone involved. 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.

Before ending your email, always ask the customer whether they have any more questions, comments, or concerns. You want to show you‘re still open to further feedback, and it’s on them to end the conversation.

I found that most of the time, customers don’t offer much follow-up. However, those who do appreciate the openness and eagerness to serve. 

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

8. Follow up with the customer.

During my time in support, I always followed up with customers with a final status update on their issues. I also found that expressing gratitude was always a great option when wrapping up a service interaction, especially if it was difficult. 

No matter the issue, your goal should be to reassure the customer that you‘ve finished taking the necessary steps to ensure it won’t happen again. You also want to show them your appreciation for being a customer and working through a tough situation with you.

I believe that customers want to feel understood and heard, not like a number in a spreadsheet. Following up with customers after you’ve resolved their issues is an excellent way to show your commitment to their success with your company. My goal has always been to show customers that I care about them and their problems and not just about closing their tickets.

how to respond to an angry customer email

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.


Hi [Customer],

I‘m so sorry that you had a negative experience with [product, service, or company department]. I’ve looked into the issue, and it seems that [briefly explain the reason for their bad experience, if applicable].

I‘ve forwarded this issue to [head of the appropriate department], our [person’s job title]. In the meantime, I’d like to offer a [discount/refund] for the inconvenience and will be checking in with you in a few days to update you on the status of [issue].

Once more, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if I can answer any questions, and I’d be happy to help!


[Your name]


Sample Email Reply to Customer Complaint

We’ve also written a sample email that you can use to respond to a customer complaint.


Hi [Customer],

I sincerely apologize for your negative experience with our [product/service/company department]. Here at [your company], customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance, and we genuinely regret falling short of that expectation in [brief description of customer issue].

I understand how frustrating it is to face this problem and how your business is affected. I’ve dug into the issue and discovered that [explanation of the reason behind customer’s negative experience]. I can assure you that this issue will not happen again. I’ve already alerted [head of the appropriate department], and our team is working to ensure that you and other customers won’t experience this problem in the future.

Thank you for your patience in this matter. As a token of our appreciation, here is an exclusive [discount code or other incentive] you can apply to your next purchase:

[Discount Code or Offer]

Once again, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this issue has caused you. I’ll be checking in with you in a few days to update you on the status of [the issue]. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to help in any way that I can!


[Your name]


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

Download Now: 50 Customer Service Email Templates

customer service email template examples

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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 various situations with customers.

Customer Service Response 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.

You can send this email in several instances. For instance, right after they make a purchase, when you notice it’s their anniversary with your company, or when they refer another customer.

Pro Tip: You should never try to sell them something in a thank you email. It’s simply an opportunity to show your appreciation.


Hi [Customer],

Thank you so much for referring your friend [Friend‘s name] to us. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them and doing business with them. I‘m glad 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! As a token of our appreciation, here’s a [coupon/discount] for you to enjoy.


[Your name]


2. Questionnaire Email Template

There are several kinds of questionnaires you may send your customers. Each questionnaire offers valuable data to your company, from customer satisfaction surveys to demographics to Customer Effort Score (CES).

Conducting a survey can help you get into the minds of your customers and make effective changes to your service experience.

But it’s easy for customers to see a link to a questionnaire and immediately close the tab. So, 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.

Customer service email templates: Questionnaire


Hey [Customer],

Thanks for your recent purchase with us! I hope you’re enjoying your [product/service].

I‘d love to hear more about your experience working with our team. So 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.


[Your name]

<< Attach questionnaire >>


3. Feedback Appreciation Email Template

If your customers take the time to respond to your questionnaire, then the least you can do is appreciate them. A quick thank you email can make them happy and foster stronger customer relationships.

Here’s an email template you can use:


Hi [Customer Name],

Thank you so much for taking the time to fill out our questionnaire. We’re always looking to improve the quality of our offerings, and we’re happy that you’re a part of that.

Thanks again,

[Your Brand/Service]


4. 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 mad about external factors and not necessarily your business.

Stay 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. But, 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.

Pro Tip: 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 #5.



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.


[Your name]


5. Customer Complaint Response Email Template

Like an angry customer, a complaining customer isn’t exactly a ray of sunshine on your workday. Sometimes they can be almost worse than an angry customer.

Anger can often be displaced or without reason, while a complaint is typically well-crafted and based on truth. Incidentally, there’s usually a more significant opportunity of turning a complaining customer into a satisfied one.

Just as they have probably put a reasonable amount of time into writing their email, you, too, should do the same. It’s essential to remain eloquent and polite, even if the complaint frustrates you.

Pro Tip: Remember, the complaint is not against you personally. Try to stay detached and remain professional while being empathetic to the customer’s situation.

Customer service email templates: Customer Complaint



I am so sorry to hear that [provide a summary of their bad experience]. That should never have happened, and I completely understand how frustrating this must be for you. I will relay this message to the appropriate department.

We are prioritizing resolving [the issue they faced with your product, company, or service]. 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 we may have inconvenienced you.

Let me know if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns.


[Your name]


6. 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 shows your company is dedicated to fostering positive customer relationships, not just sales.

Pro Tip: Be sincere, not pushy, in your follow-up emails so your customers feel genuinely cared for.


Hey [Customer],

I hope you’re enjoying your new product. I remember 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 need and look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your name]


7. Customer Loyalty Program Email Template

Every time you send an email to a customer you have a chance to build customer trust. Customer loyalty emails take the relationship one step further by sharing the benefits of your loyalty program.

Use this email to explain how the program works, the rewards they can earn, and any exclusive perks or discounts available. This email can boost repeat business, and deepen customer relationships with your brand.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have one already, discover ways to build your customer loyalty program here.


Hi [Customer],

Thank you.

We mean it. Thank you!

When reflecting on the past year, we just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much your business truly means to us. To thank you for your continued loyalty, we wanted to let you know about an exciting opportunity.

Introducing our exclusive [Rewards Club] — a program designed to reward customers like you who have been with us every step of the way. As a member of our [Rewards Club], you’ll enjoy a range of benefits, including:

  • [List key benefits and perks of the loyalty program]

To show our appreciation, we would like to invite you to join the [Rewards Club] as a VIP member. As a VIP member, you’ll receive extra benefits such as [special offers, early access to new products, etc.].

To join, just click on the link below and follow the easy registration process. It only takes a minute!

[Include a link/button to join the loyalty program]

We would not be half the company we are today without your trust and support. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don‘t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Here’s to another great year,

[Your name]


8. 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.

Pro Tip: 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.


Hey [Customer],

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.


[Your name]


9. 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.


Hey [Customer],

I‘m sorry to see you go. Doing business with you in the past [amount of years they’ve been with you] 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!


[Your name]


10. Customer Birthday Email Template

Another great way to create a positive connection with your customers is celebrating their birthday. Personalized birthday wishes, offers, or discounts are a powerful show of appreciation. It can also encourage repeat purchases during their birthday month.

Customer service email templates: Customer Birthday


Hi [Customer],

The team at [Company Name] wants to wish you the happiest of birthdays. We hope your day is filled with joy, laughter, and bright memories.

To add something special to your day, we’d like to treat you to a [discount/gift].

[Include details of the offer or gift, along with any redemption instructions.]

Again, happy birthday! We‘re grateful to have you as a customer. And if there’s anything we can do to make your day even better, don’t hesitate to let us know.


[Your name]


11. 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 essential 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. Then, you can take on a friendly, more comfortable tone. You want them to know that you’re someone they can trust.


Hey [Customer],

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. Do you have a few minutes this week to chat?


[Your name]


12. 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 challenging to relay it to your employer but even harder to tell your loyal customers.

Since you have been an integral part of their professional lives, you need to notify your clients of the change. Doing so will help them prepare for the shift, as this change will affect them, too.


Dear [Customer],

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 essential player in advancing my career, and I couldn’t feel more grateful for the opportunity.

However, that 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/he/they] has been working here for [amount of years] and has a lot to show for it. I genuinely believe you two will get along well and that [she/he/they] will be a huge support for you.

They will be emailing you in the next couple of days with a warm greeting and plans for you to meet. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Thank you again for being a great client for [amount of years]. I wish you all the best!


[Your name]


13. Product Update Announcement Email Template

Sharing important information about new products, updates, and features is exciting for a business. This template helps you communicate the latest developments and improvements to your customers. These emails can build trust and boost engagement with your products.

Pro Tip: This is a great strategy for upselling or cross-selling to your current customers.

Customer service email templates: Product Update Announcement


Dear [Customer],

We hope this email finds you well! We‘re writing to share some exciting news with you — we’ve just launched a new update for [Product Name].

This update includes enhancements and exciting features that we know you‘ll love like [highlighted feature]. We’ve listened to your feedback and worked hard to make [Product Name] even better.

To learn more and how to make the most of this update, we’ve created [this comprehensive guide].

Thank you for joining us on this journey. We‘re excited to bring you more updates in the future. Until then, if you have any questions or need support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer success team.


[Your name]


14. 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 interact with your company thoroughly. 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.

Pro Tip: Once a customer gets acquainted with a product during a free trial, it’s harder to turn it down.


Hi [Prospect],

I noticed that you seemed interested in [product name] 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.

If you‘re interested, I want to extend 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 premium features. 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.


[Your name]


15. Renewal Reminder Email Template

So, your customer purchased an annual subscription to your product? Great.

But 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.


Hey [Customer],

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 on [date of expiration]. 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 look forward to hearing from you.


[Your name]


16. 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.

Pro Tip: For more information on this, check out this post on how to ask for referrals.


Hi [Customer],

I‘m so happy to hear you’re having a great experience with [product/service/company department]. 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!


[Your name]


17. Customer Onboarding Email Template

As this email sets the tone for your interaction with the customer, it’s best to make it enthusiastic.

It should reassure the customer that they’ve made the right choice with your brand.

Pro Tip: Check out these free customer service email templates for more onboarding templates.


Hi [Customer],

Welcome to [Your brand/service]!

Thanks so much for choosing us. Our goal is to ensure you have a great experience and get the most out of our [product/service/company].

As a first step, please follow these instructions [link] to customize your profile. Also, we’ve provided some resources [link] that can help you enjoy the best experience.

Check out our Blog and the FAQ section for advice and other information.

You can also contact us if you have any questions.


[Your Name]


Check out these free customer service email templates for more onboarding templates.

18. Customer Data Privacy Notification Email Template

Use this template when you want to tell customers about updates or changes to your privacy policy. It explains how your business collects, uses, and protects customer data.

This reassures customers about their privacy rights and helps maintain data regulation compliance. This email can help build trust by offering transparency into how your business handles customer data.

Customer service email templates: Customer Data Privacy


Dear [Customer],

[Business name] is committed to the privacy and security of your personal data. We’re writing to inform you about an important update to our privacy policy and data protection practices.

We value your trust and want to give you a clear understanding of how we handle and protect your information. We encourage you to review our updated privacy policy, which outlines:

  • How we collect and use your data
  • How we store and secure your data
  • Your rights and options regarding your personal information

You can find the updated privacy policy at [link to privacy policy page].

If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy or data protection, don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team.

Warm regards,

[Your name]


19. Service Disruption Notification Email Template

Service issues happen. But unexpected interruptions can impact customer trust, so it‘s important to reach out and let customers know you’re working to fix it.

This template makes it simple to promptly notify customers about any issues affecting their experience. This offers transparency and shows you’re working to resolve the problem. It also gives you a chance to apologize for the inconvenience and offer updates or potential solutions.

Customer service email templates: Service Disruption


Hi [Customer],

We hope this email finds you well. We wanted to let you know about a temporary service disruption that‘s impacted the seamless experience you’re used to.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. We understand the importance of reliable and uninterrupted service and our team is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

We value your patience and understanding during this time. Our team will share updates on service as they become available.

In the meantime, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Our support team is on standby to assist you.

Thank you again for your continued trust and support,

[Your Name]


20. Broken Product or Service Email Template

If your product or service is broken, the least you can do is keep your concerned or angry customers in the loop.

Resolving issues related to broken products can sharpen your customer service skills and help you build a better relationship with customers.

Here’s an email template that can help you assuage your customers.


Hi [Customer Name],

Earlier today, we noticed an issue that affected our service and users’ accounts. We are so sorry that you were affected.

We have rectified the issue, and you should be able to access your account now. Be reassured that no data was lost during the downtime.

We will be implementing measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us.




21. Service Upgrade Notification Email Template

You can use this template to announce improvements or upgrades to your services. An upgrade might offer an enhanced experience for current customers. Or it could be a chance to change plans and add value.

Either way, it’s smart to connect with customers with a quick email. This template can help you build anticipation, create awareness for upcoming changes, and feature benefits of the upgrade.

Customer service email templates: Service Upgrade Notification


Dear [Customer],

We’re thrilled to announce an exciting upgrade to our [Service Name]. As a valued customer, we wanted to be the first to let you know!

This upgrade includes enhancements inspired by feedback from customers like you. [Service Name] will now offer an even more streamlined and efficient experience for you with [list of upgrade details].

This upgrade is free for [plan name], and users on [other plans] can take advantage of these features with the [plan name] add-on.

To learn more, check out this detailed [Service Name] guide or contact our customer service team.

Thank you for your continued trust and support.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]


22. 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 among 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 contact them 10-15 days after the product is delivered to ask them how it’s going.


Hi [Customer],

I hope you‘re having a great week so far! I saw you’ve started [details about how they‘re using your product] — it looks like you’ve achieved some impressive [details of the results they’ve achieved]. How are you enjoying working with the tool?

If you have any feedback or questions, don‘t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email, and I’ll help you out!

If you‘d like to share your experience using [Your company’s tool], here are our pages on [review site] and [review site], where you can give us a rating and share your feedback to help other customers like you.

Thanks for your time, and give me a call if you have any questions!

[Your name]


Customer Refund Letter Templates

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

23. 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 but simply couldn’t find a good use for the product.

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.


Hi [Customer],

I’ve processed your refund, and you should expect to see the amount appear in your bank account in the next couple of 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 searching 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. Thank you for your time and for giving us a try.

I hope to connect with you again soon.


[Your name]


24. 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, since they know what to expect from your products, they’ll likely be upset when some products don’t meet their standard. 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.


Hi [Customer],

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 [link] 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.


[Your name]


25. Product Discount Email Template

When it comes to refunds, not every company has the same policy. For example, 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.


Hi [Customer],

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 offer you 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.

Thanks again,

[Your name]


26. 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.


Hi [Customer],

Thank you for providing us with 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 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.

Thanks again,

[Your name]


27. Account Termination Email Template

Breaking up is hard to do and, whether an account closure starts with your business or the customer, it’s a sensitive situation. Personalization is essential for this email to a customer, but the template below can help you get started.

It gives you space to offer clear reasons for the termination and next steps customers may need to take. It also includes contact information for further assistance. This will help you keep any account closure communication empathetic, professional, and respectful.


Dear [Customer],

Thank you for your email. We hope this email finds you well. We are writing to confirm that your account with us will be terminated effective [Termination Date].

Your respect and trust is our first priority and we want to thank you for your past support.

You can find a list of commonly asked questions at [link to FAQ page]. If you have any questions or need help with any next steps, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Thank you,

[Your company/name]


28. 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 with 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.

You can use this letter to alert your customers of an overpayment for these cases.


Hi [Customer],

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.

Thanks again,

[Your name]


29. Refund Notification Email Template

Sometimes, 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.


Hi [Customer],

We hope this message finds you well.

We are reaching out 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.


[Your name]


30. 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.”


Hi [Customer],

I’m reaching out about the refund you initiated on [date].

Your refund has been deposited into your card ending in [last four digits of card]. You should see the amount credited to your account in about 3 to 5 business days.

If you don‘t see the refund in your account, respond to this email, and I’ll look into it for you. In the meantime, please let me know if I can answer any additional questions — I’d be happy to help!


[Your name]


31. Refund Not Received Email Template

Suppose your customer hasn‘t received a refund and reached out to you about it. In that case, 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 processing the refund.


Hi [Customer],

I‘m so sorry to hear that a refund hasn’t been deposited into your card ending in [last four digits of card].

I’ve contacted our accounting department to look into this issue for you. A refund has been issued, but it may take a few days for your bank to process the funds.

While we work on the delay, I‘ve created a ticket in our system to keep you updated on your refund status. We’ll try to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. In the meantime, feel free to reply to this email with any questions or concerns, and I’d be happy to help.


[Your name]


32. Out-of-Policy Refund Email Template

Sometimes, customers ask 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.


Hi [Customer],

Thanks so much for reaching out about order #[number]. I‘m so sorry the product hasn’t worked out for you.

Because more than [number of days] days have passed since the date of purchase, you’re no longer eligible for a refund.

However, I can give you store credit for your purchase. Alternatively, I can set up a meeting with our customer success department so that you can get the most out of your product.

Let me know which option you‘d prefer. Also, if you have any questions or concerns, I’d be happy to help.


[Your name]


Create a Strong Customer Experience Using Customer Service Email Templates

Excellent service is the cornerstone of creating delightful experiences that keep your customers coming back. Armed with the insights above, we hope you feel inspired to bring customers your A-Game. 

Still, we know you don’t have all the time in the world. That’s why we’ve compiled 50 customer service email templates that cover any situation you might come across. Download them below to save precious time without sacrificing the quality of your customer service interactions.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure to learn more about how we use AI.

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I’ve been writing about AI for over a year, and I can say that watching it evolve has been fascinating. From its adoption across industries, its ethical implications, or even funny instances of its misuse, I can only imagine what will become of it in customer service.

But then it dawned on me that I could do more than just guess or interview service pros on their opinion of the tool — I could go straight to the source for insight.

In this article, I‘m asking AI to see if it could predict how it will change the customer service industry. To validate its potential impact, I interviewed actual service professionals to see just how valid its response is. Let’s begin.

Asking AI How It Will Change Customer Service

Firstly, to prevent myself from experiencing any Terminator-esque outcomes post-AI singularity, I want to give a ChatGPT bot a proper (and friendly) introduction to today’s objective.

Alright, so out the gate, it‘s already letting me know that it’s not feeding me information out of its own subconscious. I find that reassuring, oddly enough. Let’s rephrase that.

Alright, now I can work with that. Let’s put it to the test.

While it may not be the most natural conversation, the AI numbered its predi-“estimations” in an easily digestible manner, with some rather broad topics. Let’s break down why it chose these 5 topics, and find some data to back up the claims.

How will AI change customer service?

Prediction 1: AI will drive personalization to new heights.

AI algorithms have demonstrated a remarkable ability to analyze vast customer data and deliver personalized experiences at scale. Our AI estimates that it will become even more adept at understanding customer preferences and tailoring interactions to suit individual needs in the coming years.

To support this prediction, a recent study by Accenture found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

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With AI-powered tools, businesses can leverage customer data to offer hyper-personalized experiences, increasing customer loyalty and higher conversion rates.

Prediction 2: AI will enhance customer engagement across channels.

As customers increasingly interact with businesses through multiple channels, maintaining a cohesive and seamless experience is growing in importance.

AI technologies, such as sentiment analysis, are well-suited to unify these interactions and ensure a consistent customer experience across channels. These technologies will most likely continue to evolve, providing an even more effective flow across channels.

By leveraging AI to understand customer intent and sentiment, businesses can deliver more personalized and contextually relevant interactions, leading to deeper customer relationships.

Prediction 3: AI will empower human representatives, not replace them.

One common concern surrounding the rise of AI in customer service is the fear of human representatives being replaced by automated systems. However, our research suggests a more nuanced view: AI is poised to augment, rather than replace, human representatives.

A study by Gartner predicts that by 2030, 40% of customer service engagements will be handled by AI. However, this does not mean a diminished role for human representatives.

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Instead, AI will assist human agents by automating repetitive tasks, providing real-time insights, and facilitating more meaningful customer interactions. This symbiotic relationship between AI and humans will elevate the quality of customer service and enable representatives to focus on more complex and high-value tasks.

Prediction 4: AI will refine automation.

Building off of the previous prediction, the technology can help its users automate work in many different ways.

In fact, 2024 HubSpot research shows that 24% of professionals feel that tools, like AI, help customer service agents respond to tickets, and would help their business the most.

AI can automate repetitive tasks such as ticket routing, data entry, and scheduling, allowing human agents to focus on more complex customer requests and empathy-driven interactions for higher customer satisfaction rates in the future.

Prediction 5: AI will improve upon voice recognition.

The prediction that voice recognition software becoming more important isn’t coming out of nowhere. AI-powered voice recognition technology enables customers to interact with businesses through voice commands, enhancing convenience and accessibility.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the speech and voice recognition market size was valued at USD 10.42 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 12.62 billion in 2023 to USD 59.62 billion by 2030.

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Why might voice recognition software be on the rise so fast? Web conference applications skyrocketed in 2020 and continue to grow, calling for more need for language processing technologies for recording and sharing transcriptions that businesses need for tracking, and accessibility, whether it be for those with hearing disabilities, or language transcription.

Do Human Representatives Agree with AI’s Predictions?

We spoke with experienced, customer service pros from HubSpot to gather their perspectives on AI’s impact on customer service in their roles, and where they see it going.

Kahla Pruett, a Senior Customer Support Specialist of 2 years, shared, “These predictions are pretty spot on. AI has been a game-changer for us. It helps me to prioritize and route customer inquiries more quickly, allowing me to focus on resolving complex issues and building customer relationships.

We have deeper insights into customer behavior and preferences with AI. This, in turn, has enabled me to provide more personalized recommendations and solutions, ultimately leading to higher, more satisfied customer interactions.”

Josefina Ondo-Baca, another 2nd-year Senior Customer Support Specialist, says, “I have noticed that AI tools do a great job at analyzing human sentiment, which leads to better understanding of customer’s needs and complaints.

I’ve found AI tools to enrich my work because it provides me with insights and strategies I might not have thought of before. It definitely drives me to be more creative in my approach to solving problems and communicating solutions.” Ondo-Baca stated.

The consensus among them was that AI has indeed revolutionized customer interactions, enabling them to work more efficiently and effectively, and they both seem confident that it will continue to benefit them in more ways than one.

So, was the AI prediction right?

I’d say it gave a pretty agreeable estimate as to the future of customer service. AI is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and personalization of customer service, leading to better customer satisfaction and loyalty. And by the looks of it, real-life service professionals can agree.

By embracing AI technologies and empowering their human representatives, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and meet the ever-evolving demands of modern customers. As AI continues to evolve and expand its capabilities, the possibilities for enhancing customer service are endless, promising a future where customer interactions are not just efficient — but genuinely delightful.

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SmileDirectClub officially shut down in December 2023. So why would we still be talking about in 2024? Because many of its former customers are still making payments for their dental work today — despite no longer receiving its services.

I’ve been waiting to share this customer service story for some time, in hopes of a more positive outcome, but this teledentistry business didn’t do what was best for its customers. In this article, I’ll outline the actions taken by the business, discuss the impact of its sudden closure on customers, and provide valuable customer service tips for navigating a business closing more thoughtfully.

Free Download: Crisis Management Plan & Communication Templates

The Situation: A telehealth company shut down, but not its payment plan.

SmileDirectClub was co-founded in 2014 by Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkell in Nashville, Tennessee. Its business model was to offer teeth aligners at a fraction of the cost of traditional braces.

smiledirectclub former employee providing dental service

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It grew in popularity as a convenient orthodontic solution but, over time, faced scrutiny over its practices’ legality, quality, and safety. These issues amounted to significant financial losses compounded over the pandemic, pushing them to bankruptcy after failing to sell.

Despite closing down, SmileDirectClub filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, requiring anyone who has the SmileyPay Plan to continue to “make all monthly payments until payment has been made in full,” according to a statement on the company’s website, and effectively terminate its Lifetime Smile Guarantee or warranty.

Fast forward to today, and former customers are voicing their struggle with debt collectors on spaces like Reddit, one user sharing, “I’ve given up… I’m so scared about my credit score but my teeth are fked and I can’t be paying £144 a month for literally nothing.” Even on X, you can find dissatisfied customers waiting for a solution.

smiledirectclub former customer expressing a need for a solutionImage Source

So what were some opportunities that the business could’ve taken to alleviate the stress on its customers through its last weeks in operation?

The Opportunities

1. Offering more truthful, transparent communication.

One of the last news releases on the company’s website stated, “SmileDirectClub intends to continue to provide affordable and accessible oral care to its customers without disruption. The additional liquidity the Company received from its founders, coupled with its normal operating cash flows, is intended to ensure SmileDirectClub is able to continue meeting commitments to stakeholders without disruption throughout this process.”

This statement gave customers a false sense of security when it could’ve been used to better prepare patients for a change in service.

Businesses should prioritize transparent communication with customers, particularly during challenging circumstances like financial instability or service termination. Clear and honest updates can help manage expectations and maintain trust with customers who rely on the services provided.

2. Having a more customer-centric approach.

While I wasn‘t a customer of theirs, the headlines after September made it clear that customer needs came after cash.

When customers’ health and well-being are at stake, businesses must adopt a customer-centric approach that prioritizes their needs above all else. Understanding and flexibility can go a long way in building positive relationships and instilling confidence in the company’s commitment to customer care.

3. Providing ethical service termination.

SmileDirectClub‘s closing was abrupt and nothing short of a headache. In the event of service discontinuation due to business closure or bankruptcy, it’s crucial for businesses to handle the situation with ethical integrity.

Providing options for alternative solutions like loan cancellation, or even a flat fee returned would be better than what the business chose. Ensuring fair treatment of customers can help mitigate the impact of such circumstances and protect customers from financial harm. And in case you reopen business down the line, you’ll have more of a chance of winning back some of those contacts.

So what can business owners and service teams take away from SmileDirectClub’s mistakes? And how can you set your customers up for a more fair departure?

How to Navigate Customer Service if Your Company Shuts Down

how to navigate customer service if your company shuts down

  • Give customers adequate notice and the opportunity to obtain the services of another provider.
  • Provide an FAQ landing page for customers to help answer their questions before stopping operations.
  • Have empathy. Give your customers some relief instead of more stress if they have been in good standing for the duration of their business with you.

Customers, especially those receiving services that affect their self-esteem and health, put so much trust into your business — don‘t throw it back into their faces once it’s all said and done. I hope these takeaways will encourage more service providers to use proactive strategies to uphold more ethical standards when serving those who rely on their care.

crisis communication

Crises come when they’re least expected, which is why a crisis communication plan is a necessity for every company.

Although life would be so much easier if emergencies arrived with fair warning, you will be better off having a plan that can help you avoid catastrophe.

Free Download: Crisis Management Plan & Communication Templates

In this post, we will discuss:

The idea is that a company’s reputation is perceived by everyone aware of your company whether you manage your reputation or not. So, it’s in a company’s best interest to have some input about the narrative. Not only that, but customer satisfaction increases when expectations are transparent.

Now, you might be wondering, “What constitutes a crisis?” Let’s dive into some examples below.

Crisis Scenario Examples

Just about any scenario could manifest as a business crisis that warrants communication from your organization. Some of the most common types of crises include:

  • Financial– Financial loss such as announcing a bankruptcy or store closures.
  • Personnel– Changes to staff that may affect operations or reputation such as employee furloughs, layoffs, or controversial behavior.
  • Organizational– Misconduct or wrongdoing as a result of organizational practices.
  • Technological– Technological failure that results in outages causing reduced functionality or functionality loss.
  • Natural– Natural crisis that necessitates an announcement or change of procedure. For example, defining safety precautions amid a health crisis.
  • Confrontation – Discontent individuals confront an organization as a result of unmet needs or demands.
  • Workplace Violence – Violence is committed by a current or former employee against other employees.
  • Crisis of Malevolence – A business uses criminal or illegal means to destabilize, harm, extort, or destroy a competitor.

In addition, anything else you can think of that could stall or halt business continuity is a good example of a crisis that warrants communication with customers and/or the public.

While crisis communication can be fairly reactive, it helps to have a crisis communication plan in place before you need to use it to make the process easier for your team members.

Crisis management plans focus on the company’s response and how it will communicate a crisis to its stakeholders. These steps ensure information reaches employees, partners, customers, media, the general public, and any other valuable stakeholders.

Most importantly, a crisis communication plan helps guarantee a quick release of information, as well as a consistent message on all company platforms during a time of crisis. That message depends largely on what the crisis involves and how all parties are affected by it.

Featured Resource: Crisis Communication Plan Template

crisis management and communication plan template

Use HubSpot’s Crisis Communication Plan Template to build out your company’s plan. Included are charts, sections, and prompts to help you document your company’s strategy when a crisis hits.

1. University of Washington

In a university crisis communication plan, it’s essential to focus on crises that may affect normal school and administrative functions. For instance, my college always emails students if a dangerous incident occurs on or near campus and gives us a list of tips to remain safe. Universities also plan for crises such as marches or protests, injuries or deaths of community members, and bad press relating to the school.

University of Washington's Crisis Communications Plan

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The University of Washington has an extensive crisis communication plan geared toward preserving the safety and security of community members. As a university, the main audiences for communication include students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, as well as visitors, temporary residents, the general public, and media.

What I Like: The attention to detail in all the varied organizations included in the team representatives shows an added layer of consideration during a crisis. By having a list of reps at hand, there’s a higher guarantee of a proper and timely response.

2. Southwest Airlines

Southwest has consistently been one of the safest airlines in the world. However, that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t experience accidents.

On Flight 1380, an engine malfunction resulted in the death of a passenger and was recorded as the company’s first in-flight fatality. The company’s CEO, Gary Kelly, immediately responded to the situation by offering a sincere, heartfelt apology to the victim’s family. He then pulled all advertising from their social media channels and made personal phone calls to passengers offering support and counseling resources.

Why This Was Effective: While it’s hard to consider grim crises like these, they do occur and impact businesses. Even though Southwest had never encountered an accident like this before, the CEO was prepared for this situation and demonstrated genuine remorse both through his words and his company’s actions.

3. Boeing 737 Max

Boeing experienced a major crisis when two of its 737 Max airplanes fatally crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia just 5 months apart in 2018 and 2019. The crashes killed a combined 346 people and the manufacturer is still suffering the fallout from the events.

At first, Boeing blamed pilot error for the crashes until information surfaced later that it was a flight control software issue. In response, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded for 20 months by the FAA and other global regulators until they could figure out what software glitch was causing the fatal crashes.

As a result, Boeing’s stock price plummeted and was forced to halt production of the Boeing 737 Max — costing the company billions in losses. Once the pandemic hit in 2020 and air travel slowed, Boeing faced another crisis as orders for the model were canceled, which led to more financial losses.

To make matters worse, when 737 Max planes were finally cleared to fly in November of 2020, they were grounded again in early 2021 after electrical issues were discovered. In 2021, Boeing was ordered to pay $2.5 billion to settle charges that the company hid issues with the plane from safety officials.

At first, Boeing deflected blame for the crashes to “inexperienced pilots,” but an investigation later showed that it was Boeing’s flight control software that was the main contributor to the crash. Moreover, the US Justice Department found that Boeing knew about the software issue and tried to conceal the faulty software from investigators.

“Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” stated a DOJ press release regarding Boeing’s fraud charges.

While nothing would have made up for the loss of life, Boeing would have been better off coming clean about the existing software glitch. Its efforts to conceal the issue meant that pilot training manuals lacked information about the faulty system, which forced planes to nosedive after it overrode pilot commands.

What Could’ve Been Better: Had Boeing been transparent about its automated flight control system, including it in its manual and informing customers of the aircraft software, tragedy could have been prevented.

4. Virginia Department of Education

Similar to universities, schools need to deal with crises efficiently, especially if they impact the normal class schedule. Since schools deal with children, parents and guardians must be made aware of any situations that could affect the education, safety, or health of their kids.

School Crisis Communications Plan from the Virginia Department of EducationImage Source

The Virginia Department of Education has created a lengthy management plan, including crisis communications. The plan highlights various crises that would require communication with parents — such as a school bus accident —and gives letter templates that can be quickly sent out.

What I Like: There are several different types of symptoms listed that parents or guardians are instructed to keep an eye out for in this crisis communication plan. This is vital because it isn’t always clear how students are affected, and letting them know what to be on the lookout for is important for their care.

5. KFC

In 2018, restaurant chain, KFC, got into an awkward situation when it ran out of chicken to serve its customers. Having built its brand on its 11-spice fried chicken recipe, this was a crisis that the company probably didn’t plan for.

But, KFC’s marketing team quickly got to work and was able to put a positive spin on the situation. They released videos and tweets like the one below that light-heartedly apologized for the shortage and showed off the brand’s humility.

KFC crisis communication plan

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This is why a crisis communication plan is essential for restaurants. Some scenarios you’ll want to plan for are the spread of foodborne illness, unsanitary working conditions, and, of course, delivery issues affecting food supply.

What I Like: While the brand typically doesn’t take itself too seriously (like it’s humorous social media marketing campaigns) it met customers with the facts, and what it was going to do to better serve them.

6. Amazon

Amazon faced criticism in December 2021 after a tornado ravaged one of its warehouses in Edwardsville, Illinois. Six people died in the warehouse collapse in Illinois as a series of tornadoes ripped through parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas.

Once reports surfaced of Amazon warehouse workers allegedly being forced to continue working through tornado warnings, the company’s health and safety guidelines quickly came under scrutiny.

Amazon’s first misstep was a delayed public response. CEO Jeff Bezos took nearly 24 hours to respond to the warehouse collapse.

“The news from Edwardsville is tragic. We’re heartbroken over the loss of our teammates there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones,” Bezos tweeted. “All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis. We extend our fullest gratitude to all the incredible first responders who have worked so tirelessly at the site.”

Bezos was quickly lambasted across social media, with many suggesting that his statement was insincere.

What Could’ve Been Better: When such a tragic loss of life happens, it’s best to come out with a statement that expresses empathy sooner rather than later. Bezos’ reply came across as insincere in part because it was delayed. The CEO had been steadily tweeting and posting about the landing of Blue Origin throughout the day, so by the time he commented on the tornado tragedy, it seemed like an afterthought.

7. Burger King

In the fall of 2019, a man who follows a vegan lifestyle filed a lawsuit against popular fast food chain Burger King on the basis that the company misled other vegan customers regarding the newly introduced Impossible Burger. Upon realizing the meatless patties were prepared on the same grill as the 100% beef burgers, the plaintiff alleged that the ads weren’t clear that the burger was not completely meat-free.

Other popular fast-food chains like Subway and Wendy’s experienced similar crises in the past regarding issues with food preparation. Although both were unfounded claims, they caused a significant crisis for both brands. It’s not a surprise that Burger King experienced similar, unfounded claims.

Although Burger King had a strong rebuttal against the lawsuit, the company awaited the decision of the judge who dismissed the case a year later due to a lack of evidence from the plaintiffs.

Why This Was Effective: Burger King was successful in this crisis communication because it allowed the crisis to run its course without intervening more than necessary. At the announcement of the case dismissal, Burger King responded, “This claim has no basis.”

8. United Airlines

No list of crisis communication examples would be complete without mentioning United Airlines. Already under pressure for less-than-stellar customer service, the 2017 video of Dr. David Dao being dragged out of his seat when the airline overbooked put United into a tailspin.

Their first response? Not great. United’s CEO tried to blame Dao, calling him “belligerent” and “disruptive.”

Not surprisingly, this didn’t sit well with the public, and #boycottUnited hashtags began trending. The company then did an about-face, took full responsibility, and pointed to changes being made.

What Could’ve Been Better: Businesses should lead with empathy in situations where emotions run high. While United’s image did stabilize over time, the changed tactics strategy is a good example of what not to do when a crisis comes up.

9. Hollywood Foreign Press Association

In 2021, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was under fire for lack of diversity and inclusion. Over 100 PR firms — and their celebrity clients — threatened to boycott the Golden Globes unless the HFPA committed to “transformational change” within the organization.

“We call on the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. to swiftly manifest profound and lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos and pervasive practice of discriminatory behavior, unprofessionalism, ethical impropriety and alleged financial corruption endemic to the HFPA, funded by Dick Clark Productions, MRC, NBCUniversal and Comcast,” the publicists said in a statement.

“To reflect how urgent and necessary we feel this work is, we cannot advocate for our clients to participate in HFPA events or interviews as we await your explicit plans and timeline for transformational change.”

In response to the outcry, the HFPA pledged to increase its membership to a minimum of 100 people and require at least 13% of its members to be Black journalists.

While the HFPA has since implemented several changes, including increasing membership to 105 members, the organization still has a lot of work to do in order to regain the trust of the entertainment industry. Not only was the Golden Globes ceremony telecast canceled in 2022, but many publicists maintain their position on having their clients boycott the organization.

What Could’ve Been Better: Had the HFPA listened to concerns and implemented change sooner, it might have been met with less scrutiny.

10. Cracker Barrel

In 2017, a man named Bradley Reid asked a question on Cracker Barrel’s corporate website: He wanted to know why his wife had been let go from her 11-year manager position at one of the company’s Indiana locations.

The social media firestorm came quickly, with #JusticeForBradsWife trending and other brands posting signs that they would be happy to hire Brad’s wife.

crisis management example: Cracker Barrel and Chick-Fil-A

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Cracker Barrel’s response? Silence. The public never learned the circumstances of Brad’s wife’s job loss, and after a few months the crisis blew over. In this case, weathering the storm worked for Cracker Barrel, in part because the issue revolved around a single person and their specific circumstances. Speaking up — even if the job loss was benign — could have resulted in questions about personal privacy and also put the company on the defensive. Instead, they chose to wait out the storm.

Why It Was Effective: While your communication plan will differ depending on the crisis you’re dealing with, below are some common strategies that businesses use to deliver an effective response.

Crisis Management Strategies

1. Spokesperson Response

When your company makes a mistake, the best thing you can do is apologize and be human. The most effective way to do that is to assign a spokesperson to speak on your brand’s behalf. After all, it’s a lot easier to relate to one person than a group of lawyers.

This person could be your CEO, a company executive, or someone you feel is best suited to represent your company. It’s important to choose a good communicator as their actions will influence how your key stakeholders will react to the situation. If they can make your company look human and your mistakes appear manageable, that will play a major role in maintaining stakeholder support.

2. Proactive Damage Control

No matter if things are going well now, you should always prepare for a crisis to occur. Don’t worry, this doesn’t make you a pessimist. Instead, it makes you proactive.

Proactive damage control is what you do to reduce or prevent the effects of a crisis before it occurs. For example, adding security software that records and backs up company data will help you avoid a malware crisis. Additionally, you can train your employees to watch out for suspicious or harmful emails that might reach their inboxes.

At HubSpot, our security team sends out routine training videos to educate employees about different security protocols. The videos are short and the multiple-choice quizzes are so light-hearted that they act as additional learning tools in case you didn’t pay close attention to the video. This makes the training easily consumed, and, more importantly, successful in teaching employees how to protect company data.

3. Case Escalation

Sometimes crises can be resolved on the individual level before they reach a viral tipping point. For these cases, it helps to create an escalation system within your customer service team that can diffuse the issue before it gets out of hand.

At HubSpot, we have specialists who work on complex or time-sensitive cases. When customers have needs that require additional attention, our experts intervene to assist. This helps the service rep manage a tricky situation and ensures a more delightful experience for our customers.

4. Social Media Response

Social media is a wonderful marketing tool that allows companies to reach audiences across the globe. But, this reach works both ways, as customers can share stories, post pictures, and upload videos for the world to see. One viral video painting your company in the wrong light can lead to millions of people developing a negative perception of your brand.

Crises are battled both in-person and online. So, your company needs a social media plan that can manage the digital buzz around your business. This may include assigning more reps to monitor your social channels or updating followers with new information. But, regardless of how you use it, social media can’t be ignored when your company is working through a crisis.

5. Customer Feedback Collection and Analysis

Sometimes you may have a crisis occurring, but it isn’t on the front page of the news or going viral on social media. Instead, it’s silently affecting your customers and causing churn, but you’re unaware of it because you’re not gathering enough feedback from your customers.

Gathering feedback is an excellent way to prevent a crisis. That’s because it provides insight into how customers are feeling about your business. This allows you to spot major roadblocks before they escalate into a crisis. And, it allows customers to share negative criticism that you can use to improve other customers’ experiences.

When faced with an unhappy or escalated customer, our success team recognizes this as a chance to collect customer feedback. They begin interactions by asking customers to review their experience and discuss any unsatisfactory elements. This helps our team create actionable steps that they can use to align themselves with the customer’s needs.

Rachel Grewe, a HubSpot Customer Success rep, explains this strategy in the quote below.

“I open with asking for the opportunity to hear their feedback on their experience, then I make sure to close with actionable next steps for myself and the customer. An escalated customer isn’t always a sign of failure but an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to our customer’s success.” – Rachel Grewe, HubSpot Customer Success

For some businesses, writing a crisis communication plan can be difficult, so let’s follow the steps below to get started.

How to Write a Crisis Communication Plan

how to write a crisis communication plan

1. Identify the goal of the plan.

Before you begin, your team should determine what the objective of the plan is. It can be as simple as: “This plan creates a structure for communicating with internal and external stakeholders, in the event of a crisis that affects the reputation or normal business functions of the organization.” This ensures every aspect of your plan aligns with this common goal.

2. Identify stakeholders.

When writing the plan, it’s important to know who the plan is designed for. Outline a list of all stakeholders you’d want to keep informed about the crisis.

This list probably includes employees, customers and users, partners, investors, media outlets, the government, and the general public. The latter likely includes social media followers or people located nearby in the event of a location-based crisis. You should also add all necessary contact information for each of these groups in your plan.

3. Create a hierarchy for sharing information on the crisis.

The person or team that reports a crisis doesn’t always handle crisis communications. So, a part of the plan should be dedicated to forming a hierarchy outlining how information should be shared within the company. That way, no matter who notices the crisis emerging, they’ll know whom to go to first.

This order depends on the structure of your team. The first step may be to notify the CEO or president of the organization, followed by the head of communications or public relations. The plan should also constitute what information should immediately be disclosed to these parties. This might include known details about the crisis, the source of the incident, and any existing backlash

4. Assign people to create fact sheets.

Your plan should detail which people on the team are in charge of creating fact sheets about the crisis. Fact sheets are lists of known facts about the crisis. They prevent rumors or misinterpretations from spreading to media outlets.

Additionally, you should set a deadline for when these fact sheets will be prepared. Depending on the crisis, you may need them within 24 hours, six hours, or even 30 minutes.

5. Identify and assess example crisis scenarios.

When a crisis does happen, you will likely feel overwhelmed. Your mind will race and you will feel pressured to respond to phone calls, social media mentions, and media inquiries.

This is why it’s best to outline common scenarios in advance. Some types of crises that may affect your organization are natural disasters, disruptions in normal business functions, customer or employee injuries, and product tampering.

6. Identify and answer common questions.

During any crisis — no matter how big or small — people are going to ask questions. Whether they are customer advocates or reporters, the public will want to uncover the truth. After all, in most cases, companies are seen as guilty until proven innocent.

Crisis communication plans can help you identify and answer questions that you can expect to be asked during your crisis scenarios. For instance, if a natural disaster strikes your headquarters, some questions you may get asked are, “Was anyone injured in the incident?” and “How long will it take for the business to return to normal functionality?”

7. Identify potential risks.

No matter how well-thought-out your crisis communication plan is, there are always going to be pros and cons. Naturally, you’ll stick with the plan that maximizes benefits while minimizing costs. However, the costs are still important to consider.

Under each plan, you should list out the potential risks you’ll face. That way, if the plan does backfire, you won’t be caught off guard. You will have prepared yourself and laid out steps for recuperating from these additional losses.

8. Create guidelines specific to social media.

Proactive communication is essential during a crisis. To offer as much transparency as possible, teams should focus on preparing press materials and sharing information about the crisis. The more information you retain, the more the public will want to know what you’re hiding.

Reactive communication is just as important. Team members must be focused on social monitoring during a time of crisis. Any negative social media mentions should be dealt with immediately and with consistency. There should be sections of your plan dedicated solely to social media crisis management.

Now that you know how to craft your crisis communication plan, check out the following template to get some added inspiration for your process.

The Crisis Management and Communication Plan Template

crisis management and communication plan template

It can be difficult to get your crisis communication plan started from scratch. That’s why we’ve created a three-part Crisis Communication Plan Template to help you navigate the process.

1. Create an incident response team.

First up? Create a core incident response team and broadly define their responsibilities when a communications crisis occurs. Create a list of everyone on this team along with their email and phone number in addition to a group email or chat that can be used to activate the entire team at once. Then, build a greater response team to help support the core group. This may include departments such as customer support, legal, social media, C-suite executives, and security.

Regularly reevaluate these lists to keep them current and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

2. Identify roles and responsibilities.

Next, identify the roles and responsibilities of each team member in the core group and those in greater departmental response teams. For example, you might assign one member of your core team the job of managing social media communications, while another may be tasked with drafting a public statement.

Departments such as social media, meanwhile, should each have their own crisis contact with their own set of responsibilities — such as creating a larger-scale campaign to minimize public fallout.

3. Implement an escalation framework.

Crisis response comes with substantive stress: Companies must act quickly to resolve issues without making things worse. As a result, it’s worth implementing an escalation framework to help guide your response:

Step 1: Alert

Ensure that all relevant team members are notified ASAP. Define specific communication channels for this process.

Step 2: Assess

Assess the severity of the incident and your potential response. Key questions to ask include: What happened? Where and when? Who was affected and involved? How much do we know?

Step 3: Activate

With the initial assessment complete, activate the relevant team members and their department contacts to help begin the crisis management process. The first steps might include calling an all-hands meeting, responding to immediate media inquiries, and drafting communications to customers and other affected stakeholders.

Step 4: Administer

Crisis communication persists over a few weeks or months. As a result, it’s critical to continually monitor what’s happening and what’s changing to ensure communication is administered effectively.

Step 5: Adjourn

When the worst of the crisis has passed, regroup your team to debrief how the crisis was handled, what outcomes occurred, and what changes could be made to improve overall response. It’s also worth having at least one staff member regularly monitor the situation in case another response is required.

Talking the Talk — and Walking the Walk

When a crisis occurs, communication is the first step. Companies need to create response plans that prioritize clear and transparent communication that is sincere and direct but still respects staff and customer privacy.

But talk isn’t enough in isolation. Businesses need dedicated crisis management teams and resources to help them walk the walk by taking ownership, making amends where possible, and creating customer confidence in your company.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

crisis communication

It’s been just over a year since I delved into the nuances of AI-powered imagery, exploring its pros and cons while underscoring the importance of responsible usage. It was a matter of time before I’d find myself coming right back to discuss instances of its misuse in the realm of customer service.

As a writer for the Service blog and a chronically online TikTok user, I’d be remiss not to discuss the crazy customer service story of the Glasgow Willy’s Chocolate Experience that happened just last month.

What originally started as fun marketing for a family-oriented pop-up event, quickly went awry and turned into a complete service disaster. In this article, I’ll give you a brief overview of the event, identify opportunities for service improvement, and show you what future success can look like in these situations.

The Situation: A New Immersive Experience

Most likely drawing inspiration from the latest attention for the movie Wonka (2023), event organizer Billy Coull was inspired to create a magical experience of his own. Under the label of his firm, the House of Illuminati, he advertised a family-oriented event in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 24th-25th.

On their website and social media, he shared AI images as promotional material like these:

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While these images are sweet, they have massive indicators that they are artificially generated. For example, I‘m not sure about you, but I can’t find “encherining” in a dictionary, and some of the depicted candies are misshapen.

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Parents trusted the organizer and RSVP’d, paying up to £35, or around $45, each to attend. Naturally, families were expecting an experience like the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; whimsy, mystical, and exciting.

House of Illuminati then dropped the ball on its opening day, leading customers into a warehouse with miscellaneous decorations, an ill-equipped staff (allegedly given scripts two days before) left to perform a story of Willy McDuff and his “Wonkidoodles.” They were also only offered jelly beans and lemonade that soon ran out — not even chocolate.

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The event was so bad that it even earned itself a song on TikTok, “Pure Algorithimination.”

So we‘ve gone over how it failed, but what opportunities did the House of Illuminati have that could’ve made for a better customer experience?

The Opportunities

1. Make sure your immersive experience is immersive.

The “immersive experiences” trend means nothing if the customer experience isn’t there.

Customers needed to get more description of an itinerary for the Willy’s Chocolate Experience. Had the firm developed a more compelling story of tangible fun activities to partake in upon arrival, children could still have more to do than stand around confused.

2. Ensure your event has a service desk.

One of the craziest parts about the Willy’s Chocolate Experience was that there was nowhere they could make a complaint or request a refund.

Allegedly, some customers called the police trying to look for some sort of a solution. Your customers should never feel that unsupported at an event they’ve paid money and traveled to. Include a form of a service desk to provide a primary point of communication between customers and your business.

3. Use AI imagery, but don’t falsely advertise.

Artificial intelligence is an incredible tool, making visuals in seconds for relatively cheap, but misusing it to advertise falsely is a full-blown scam.

I don‘t think it’s unethical to use AI to make magical posters, as I’m sure it helps less tech-savvy business owners gain more visually appealing assets. But, it needs to meet your customers’ expectations for the service they’re being provided.

And finally, the most obvious opportunity for improvement:

4. Vet your AI images.

Frequent spelling errors that make nonsensical statements aren’t the best way to represent your business. Ensure the visuals you share are sensical and appropriate, giving customers some programming insight.

So how could the Willy’s Experience have succeeded? And how can your business navigate this type of situation?

How to Succeed

  1. Equip your service reps with the tools they need to deliver a good customer experience.
  2. Make programming that keeps customers engaged in multiple ways; offer refreshments, games, and amenities for everyone.
  3. Use AI responsibly to build hype, but don‘t set expectations your business can’t meet.

Don‘t let this one event deter you from providing an excellent immersive experience to your customers if you have what it takes to make them happy. If you take the time and effort to prevent these mistakes, you’ll set your business up for success.

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There‘s no time like the top of the year to pause and reflect on your business strategy, especially when it comes to how you bring in customers. You have the opportunity to change your approach according to new opportunities — and challenges. And I’m here to help you do just that.

I ran a GlimpseAhead survey of 100 service, support, and customer experience professionals about the biggest customer acquisition challenges they‘ve had and which businesses should be on the lookout for the most in 2024. In this post, I’ll walk you through their responses and share what you should keep in mind for the year ahead.

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Customer Acquisition Challenges You May Face This Year Survey

To start off, I wanted to get a feel for how different professionals felt about acquisition challenges they dealt with in the past.

biggest customer acquisition and retention challenges

At the end of 2023, what are three of your team’s biggest customer acquisition or retention challenges?

Understanding Customer Needs (50%)

By delving deep into customers’ needs, preferences, and desires, service professionals can tailor their offerings, messages, and interactions to resonate with their target audience, ultimately driving higher conversion rates and fostering brand loyalty.

Professionals can find it challenging to understand customer needs for their acquisition strategy due to evolving consumer behavior, diverse preferences, varied communication channels, and data overload, making it complex to pinpoint and address client pain points accurately amidst competition. Adopting a data-driven and customer-centric approach is crucial to navigating these challenges effectively.

Customer Messaging & Communication (46%)

Effective customer messaging and communication are essential components of a service professional’s acquisition strategy as they serve as the bridge between the business and its potential customers.

In the realm of acquisition strategy, it can be challenging for service professionals due to factors such as not having accurate or in-depth data on their target demographic, inaccurately addressing customer needs or pain points, inconsistency in tone and branding, and the ever-evolving market trends that prospects gravitate towards.

Without clear and enticing messaging, it’s hard to garner attention.

Leveraging the Right Tools & Technologies (30%)

Service professionals face challenges in finding the right tools and technologies for their acquisition strategy due to the abundance of options, varying technical capabilities, budget limitations, integration complexities, and the need to stay abreast of evolving digital trends. After all, it seems like there’s new AI tools coming out every other day.

Selecting, implementing, and optimizing tools that align with business goals and cater to customer needs requires extensive research, planning, and ongoing learning to effectively drive successful acquisition outcomes. And oftentimes, the tech may be too new to know whether it’s effective or not.

To better get a pulse on the metrics professionals are paying attention to the most, I lead to the next question.

With your current customer acquisition strategy, which metric are you trying to improve the most in 2024

With your current customer acquisition strategy, which metric are you trying to improve the most in 2024?

The top three metrics chosen tell a story within themselves.

Customer Retention Rate (43%)

Service professionals are keeping an eye on CRR the most, and it comes as no surprise. It’s crucial for customer acquisition as it indicates customer satisfaction and loyalty, impacting acquisition success.

A high CRR leads to lower acquisition costs and increased customer lifetime value, while a low CRR signals retention challenges that need attention to sustain growth and profitability. Monitoring CRR helps service professionals make informed decisions and prioritize retention efforts for effective acquisition strategies.

Customer Lifetime Value (21%)

Knowing lifetime value is crucial for customer acquisition as it provides insights into the long-term profitability of acquiring and retaining customers. A healthy CLV is hard to achieve because it requires accurate data, predictive analytics, ongoing customer relationship management, and a deep understanding of customer behaviors and preferences.

Service professionals must invest in building strong customer relationships, delivering exceptional experiences, and continuously optimizing strategies to maximize CLV, which can be challenging amid changing markets, evolving customer expectations, and fierce competition.

Despite the difficulties, a solid CLV metric is essential for making informed acquisition decisions and prioritizing high-value customers.

Customer Acquisition Cost (21%)

Tied with CLV, customer acquisition cost is used to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of their acquisition strategies in relation to the revenue generated from new customers.

Having a healthy CAC is challenging because it involves balancing the costs of acquiring customers with the value they bring to the business over their lifetime — but maintaining it is easier said than done when inflation has hit record highs for both businesses and direct consumers.

Much of customer acquisition is based on the mindset of the customer, and that changes with time based on many factors explored in the next question.

Are there any notable changes in customer preferences or expectations that are impacting your acquisition tactics?

This open-ended question gave a multitude of perspectives, but I can summarize the responses into these buckets:

1. Customers want more value for less.

“Customer needs are always changing, and they always want more for less,” one respondent shared.

How customers perceive the benefits of a product or service in relation to its cost. Customers are more likely to make a purchase when they believe that the offering provides significant value that outweighs the price they pay. Positive value perception can be influenced by factors such as product quality, features, uniqueness, brand reputation, and customer service.

2. Customer service expectations are rising.

Customer service expectations directly impact customer acquisition by influencing how potential customers perceive a company’s commitment to addressing their needs and concerns. Meeting or exceeding customer service expectations can enhance brand reputation, build trust, and encourage word-of-mouth referrals, thus attracting new customers.

One response that stood out to me was, “Customers demand more transparency and quick transactions.” Transparency and timeliness demonstrate respect for their time and concerns, making for a positive customer experience, and if anything, it’s a new standard to lean into transparency when customers can always leave to competitors they find more trustworthy.

3. Customers want more personalized marketing and sales teams.

Customers should be experiencing the same business they see in ads as they experience in service and sales, and they will leave for a competitor much faster than you think.

A cohesive and coordinated approach ensures a seamless customer journey and consistent brand experience, and allows each team to work together to understand and serve the right personas when they start their journey to purchase.

Misalignment between these teams can result in disjointed messaging, disconnected customer interactions, and inefficiencies that hinder acquisition efforts.

4. Customers expect innovative tech.

A common perspective shared was, “Competitors and brand app aggregators are using AI,” and “Pretty much everything we are working towards is happening pretty fast.”

Keeping up with an everchanging environment is tough enough, but when that change means incurring more costs and changing pre-existing processes, I had to find out what service professionals were planning for new technologies introduced to the market, leading to the next question.

Due to these challenges, do you plan to invest in new automation technology or AI to streamline your customer acquisition?

About 50% of service professionals claim they will or already have plans to invest in new automation technology like AI to streamline customer acquisition in 2024.

Additionally, about 25% of service professionals claimed they were considering the possibility of implementing automation technologies before the year ends.

The remaining 25% of respondents said they would not invest in AI due to two key reasons:

  • Risk: Using AI feels risky, considering recent headlines of certain companies landing themselves in hot water for copyright infringement and other lawsuits. Additionally, it can be tedious to learn and implement new tech for your team.
  • Hard to get leadership buy-in: One of the first responses I read laid it out clearly, “I wish my company could (invest in AI), but I don’t have the authority.” Many service professionals see the value of automation technologies but can’t convince decision-makers who have different plans in mind.

To wrap up this up, and also to get a pulse check on what service professionals are thinking about going into the year, I closed with this last prompt.

Briefly describe what you feel your biggest customer acquisition challenge will be in 2024 and why

The last question I had for service professionals was the main reason for this post, what they believed their biggest acquisition challenges were going to be in 2024, and the biggest takeaways reiterated their biggest pain points for this year.

How to Stay Ahead of Customer Acquisition Challenges

Don’t let customer acquisition challenges derail your path to profitability in 2024. By anticipating and addressing these hurdles head-on, you can position your service business for success and sustainable growth.

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