Big Business Customer Service Mistakes – #1 Auto Reply Fails

Following on our Business Learning Series, which focused on how businesses can take control of their online reputation, we want to address some common customer service mistakes we see businesses make – on- and offline. While “Big Business” may be the most common offenders, businesses of all sizes and industries can learn from these mistakes and improve their customer service. Don’t make these Big Business Customer Service Mistakes.

We’re kicking off the series with: Auto Reply Fails

We encourage businesses to offer customers multiple channels to send feedback. Online forms and email addresses are certainly musts. When using these avenues, setting up an auto reply or  confirmation is a great way to quickly acknowledge that the feedback has been received. It is also an opportunity to set expectations about the customer service experience – both in tone and in speed (especially regarding the future, “real” response). Note: auto replies are commonly used by OwnerListens businesses for these purposes – we highly recommend!

They may seem simple (and they should be), but we certainly see our share of Auto Reply Fails:

  • “Please DO NOT REPLY to this automated message” or “This email account is not monitored”. Yikes, theses are not great entrees to the service experience. The email or web system may require these elements, but shouldn’t be the first thing the customer sees.
  • Making it all about the tracking number. Yes, Big Business systems usually require a tracking number to keep things organized. However, leading with, or over-emphasizing, the tracking number makes customers feel like they’re just a number interacting with a computer. If the tracking number is a must for the system, make it about serving the customer – it is needed so the customer can get the best experience.
  • The auto reply as a marketing opportunity. Ouch. Just don’t. A great customer service experience is the best thing a brand can do. Turning every interaction – especially an auto reply – into marketing is a bad move. Without having reviewed the message content first, sending marketing messages to the customer can sour the interaction right at the start. Focusing on a great overall experience should come first, and the marketing opportunities will show themselves later.

What do we recommend?
Auto replies should include a friendly greeting and a thank you to the customer for taking the time to send feedback. Following, a brief explanation of the next steps will help the customer understand the process. Finally, a quick thank you and (if possible) a sign-off with the name of the agent who will handle the feedback. Keeping it short and to the point is important…and get to the “real” response quickly.

Have you seen any Auto Reply Fails? Let us know!

Photo Credit: The Hamster Factor via Compfight cc

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