Handling customer service complaints is a sensitive process—if it’s poorly managed, it can result in losing valued customers and receiving poor reviews or ratings online. Your customer service responses should be crafted with standard replies to complaints and issues that address your customers’ concerns. In this article, we cover best practices for customer service communication and provide free customer service response templates you can use for email and chat channels.
Download all of the templates below for your convenience and share them with your support team. Personalize each template to ensure they reflect the voice of your brand.
General Customer Service Email Templates
These customer service response templates are for common complaints and situations that warrant a well-designed and standardized response. They are applicable to business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) customers and can be tailored to all operational procedures and company policies.
1. Refund Request
This refund request email response is for when you are responding to a customer or client request to receive their money back after a purchase—assuming it falls within your company’s refund policy. It’s often needed when someone is unhappy with the product or service or has found that it wasn’t a good fit for them. Below is a sample refund email to customers you can use.
On the other hand, when a customer is not eligible for a refund, it could get tricky as they might react negatively. So you have to respond in a careful and well-thought-out manner. You can consider offering a discount or promo to appease the customer.
2. Subscription Cancellation Request
Use this customer response template to acknowledge a customer’s subscription cancellation request. Typically, businesses include a 30-day cancellation policy with a money-back guarantee. However, if the cancellation exceeds the required time frame, communicate to the customer that you will cancel the subscription immediately but will be unable to refund the payment for the time that has lapsed.
If the customer is not eligible for a refund after subscription cancellation, you can use the email template below.
3. Product or Service Inquiry
Use this customer service email response when someone has pricing, payment options, or feature questions relating to one of your products or services. While it’s not a negative inquiry, it’s best to respond using the same best practices you would use for a complaint to make sure you fully address their needs and ensure they feel valued.
4. Billing Error
A billing error on your end could mean the customer was overcharged for something or they have been invoiced for more than they owe. Regardless, this situation is sensitive because your company could be perceived as having malicious intent by trying to charge more than necessary, even if it was an honest processing mistake. The billing error response template requires an apology and a plan to make reparations and preserve the relationship.
Did you know? 78% of consumers will forgive a mistake if customer service is excellent. That’s why it’s important to rectify a mistake immediately and assure customers that it won’t happen again. It is also essential to look into your business processes to avoid the same mistake from happening in the future.
5. Poor Online Review
Too many poor online reviews, commonly seen on Google and Facebook, can be detrimental to a business. In today’s digital age, the first impulse of a customer before patronizing a brand is to check available customer reviews. Having poor reviews online sets you back and drives potential customers away.
Negative reviews by angry customers must be managed with a solid customer reply on the review page’s comment section, instead of an email. The main purpose of this is to appease customers so that they would be willing to give you another chance and potentially take the negative review down.
6. Positive Online Review
In contrast to addressing a poor review, it’s just as important to give credit for positive reviews to encourage more customers to continue posting them. Going out of your way to thank a customer for helping improve your online credibility shows you listen to what they say about your service.
7. Customer Issue Resolution
To gain closure on a case, customer complaint, or issue, communicate with a message confirming it’s been resolved. You typically would use this sample customer support email or live chat message after closing cases, such as refunding a purchase, fixing a billing error, or sending a new or correct product to your customer.
8. Website or App Down Complaint
This modern-day complaint is common for software as a service (SaaS) businesses or firms that rely on their websites for the customer experience, such as ecommerce or online financial services companies. Typically for this situation, you need to stall and keep your customers calm until the software development teams can find the root cause of the issue and get the online service back up and running.
Pro tip: Excellent customer support should be available on many channels to meet each client’s needs. Customer relationship management (CRM) products such as Zoho CRM are well-known for their omnichannel communication capabilities. Leads and customers can reach out to your teams through social media, email, telephone, and live chat. There are also self-service portal options, web conferencing, and the choice to receive inquiries through your web pages.
B2C Customer Service Response Templates
These are the best professional email response templates for responding to customer issues specific to business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. Though they can be used in business-to-business (B2B) sales, these circumstances are most common when dealing with individual consumers. This is because they don’t have dedicated account managers (something common in B2B situations) to address questions and guide them through the buying process.
9. Customer Didn’t Receive Product
After the expected delivery date passes or the customer receives a notification that their package was delivered, they will likely be frustrated if nothing arrives. No matter the cause and assuming the complaint is legitimate, quickly reassure them you found out why they didn’t receive anything. For instance, the package may have been sent to the wrong address or lost in transit, in which case you can then acknowledge you’re sending another one immediately.
10. Wrong Product Received
The only thing that might be worse than not getting your product is receiving the wrong one. It’s essential in these scenarios to be specific as to what the customer needs to do to resolve the issue. For instance, you might need them to ship back the incorrect item, and in this case, you must provide details on how to do that—preferably with no cost required from their end. Alternatively, some companies allow the customer to keep the product free of charge to smooth out their relationship with them.
11. Defective Product
Another product-related concern you might encounter is a defective product. Product warranties typically cover replacing defective products due to factory defects. Apart from acknowledging the customer’s message, you may also want to ask for a photo of the product and a description of the defect for documentation purposes. Assuming the customer is eligible for a replacement, ensure the new product is shipped immediately and offer a gift or discount to compensate for the mistake.
12. Answers to FAQs
Once businesses become more established, they begin seeing a pattern of similar questions submitted by customers. This prompts them to add a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page on their websites and marketing materials to address those particular inquiries. One issue, however, is when customers aren’t aware that a FAQ page exists. They might submit a specific FAQ—requiring you to give an answer while politely guiding them to resource pages for reference in your customer support response template.
Pro tip: There are customer relationship management (CRM) providers that either allow you to save email templates or choose from their existing ones. For example, HubSpot CRM has robust email marketing features that include a wide range of email templates you can choose from. If you prefer to use your own, you can easily save the template in your account.
B2B Customer Service Response Examples
In B2B sales, the customer experience looks different because there are often dedicated account managers to assist. There are also typically more complex product or service delivery processes that could open an organization to unique complaints requiring technical or professional knowledge.
For instance, how a consulting or professional service was delivered, a software platform performed, or a tangible deliverable like a piece of content was developed all create technically specific complaints. These demand more specialty skills from a B2B customer service rep than a B2C rep. These generic customer service response templates are designed for common scenarios in the B2B industry.
13. Negative Experience With an Account Manager
An account manager should be the go-to point of contact for a particular client. But sometimes, a customer may experience having an unresponsive account manager who can’t assist with their needs or is not fit for their role. So, when they contact the customer service department complaining about their dedicated account rep, your service team must have a solid response lined up.
14. B2B Product or Service Process Error/Mistake
B2B products and services tend to be more complex in the production and delivery process compared to B2C. In B2C, for instance, it could be as simple as a person ordering clothes online and getting them delivered to their door. The amount of data, information provided by the client, and professional expertise required in B2B solutions open them up to unique risks that they need to be prepared to respond to.
15. Resources & Knowledge Base Questions
Similar to how B2C businesses use an FAQ page on their websites, firms that sell software or web applications tend to use a dedicated FAQ section within a knowledge base page. These resources generally include tutorials, videos, community forums, and sometimes a company-sponsored academy, all with information regarding how to use specific software. This template is for when a user submits a question or complains about information found in the knowledge base.
Customer Service Response Best Practices
It doesn’t matter why someone is reaching out to your service team or the type of relationship (B2C or B2B) there is. You must ensure you’re controlling the situation while also giving respect to your customers. Here are some best practices to follow when using our customer service email response examples and engaging with customers:
- Always address the customer’s name: Customers appreciate the simplest signs of service personalization. Merely addressing them in your email gives the impression you know them and have an idea of their past interactions with your company.
- Refer to the customers’ activity history: You can further personalize your message to customers by referencing a past activity, purchase, or any notable interaction with the brand. This little gesture shows you know them, and you have the initiative to log their activity history with your business.
- Keep customers reassured with a plan of action: In your response, explain what you’re doing and what the customer can do to solve the problem. Include time estimates, action steps, and contact information with whom they can communicate questions or concerns.
- Maintain a “customer is always right” mentality: Despite your feelings toward the matter, it’s essential to remain sympathetic to the customer, specifically when responding to negative inquiries. Always apologize, take responsibility, and avoid any responses that make it seem as if the customer is to blame and frustrate them further.
- Directly reference the inquiry: Somewhere in the message or subject line, indicate exactly what the customer’s issue, complaint, or compliment was to confirm you’re responding to their specific need or issue.
- Apologize to the customer as necessary: There are times when a business can’t give the customer what they want due to business policies—such as refunds and returns. Even if you are not in the wrong, make it a point to sympathize by offering a short apology for the inconvenience the situation may have caused them.
- Thank customers to control the conversation: Manage any potential narrative created from a poor customer experience by treating each inquiry as a chance to improve rather than take offense to the claim. Start each response by thanking the customer for bringing the issue to your attention, as it serves as a new insight into improving the solutions you provide.
As a top priority for evaluating an organization, 68% of customers are willing to spend more on a brand that understands them and treats them like individuals. Therefore, throughout customer service communications and support processes, it’s recommended that you track each inquiry and case management performance with a CRM system.
Pro tip: Products such as Salesforce offer centralized modules to receive customer cases and complaints, assign them to reps, and track their remediation progress. Additionally, customer service managers can view performance metrics, such as the percentage of issues resolved or escalated and the average time to resolution, on the Salesforce service dashboard.
Interested in learning more about how excellent customer service can help with your business? Check out our article on customer service statistics.
Diligent customer service management is critical to the success of a business in terms of new business sales and retained revenue. With these downloadable customer service responses and best practices, you can ensure every situation has an effective, ready-to-go response plan to boost customer satisfaction. While most of the templates available are for generic use, the B2C and B2B templates are applicable to common scenarios specific to those respective industries.