Canned responses: How to talk to your customers efficiently, without being robotic

From time to time we like to get a fresh perspective on the blog from a different member of the team. Today we tapped Customer Support Rep Betsy, to discuss how customer support can be more efficient with their time in answering FAQs without coming across as the robots we all know are meant to eventually replace us. Here are her 5 Ws on it, plus a few baseball references thrown in for good measure.

Got something to say about customer support or baseball? Find her on Twitter @UnionBetsy.


Hello again sports fans, my name is Betsy and my favorite names on the Kansas City Royals roster are as follows:

  • Brooks Pounders (he’s a pitcher)
  • Bubba Starling (who doesn’t love a good Bubba?)
  • Hunter Dozier (It is my sincere wish that any question in the clubhouse that begins with “does your…?” is answered with “I don’t know, Dozier?”)

Why do I have time to think about such things as good baseball names, or Rusty Kuntz’s hair? Because I’m obviously a well rounded individual, and also I’ve worked hard to streamline my support work utilizing canned responses.

Why?

Yes, customer support involves answering the same question several times a day. You write help docs, you hold webinars and groovy office hours on Facebook, people still ask. The trouble with a repetitive question is that your answers become less and less verbose as you repeat them. You’re trying to save time, you know this answer inside and out, you cut corners and get downright terse. You know who that doesn’t help?

Well that brings us to the Who.

Who?

This is someone’s first time asking that question, it’s a valid question, and you’re helping a person by answering it well. Don’t phone it in, can it in! Customers don’t deserve robotic or shorthand responses; make sure you have the clearest answer ready to go.

What?

DON’T CAN A WHOLE EMAIL. The first thing any customer can sniff out is a thoughtless rubber stamp reply. Be real, be human, answer a question directly and specifically. Our support canned responses are one-sentence explanations, definitions, TOS policies, URLs, and a few polite intros and outros.  Mix these in with specific answers, direct instructions, and a dash of charm. It’s a semi-homemade soup that can’t be beat.

Where?

Under there, silly.

When?

Can frequently, revise often. Write a canned sentence as you see customer questions evolving. Have you typed the same explanation twice today? Can it. Use it in your next few support interactions, then tweak it as customers respond to your answers.

Anything else?

I miss baseball.


Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash