As customer service has evolved, with each passing we rely more and more on online channels like email in order to solve customer dilemmas.
Many might tell you that email is too impersonal to deliver the kind of excellent customer service that people remember — but is that really the case? In order to answer that question, I ventured out to see if I could find examples of excellent customer service over email that were so good that the customer just had to share his or her experience.
After all, if you can get a busy customer to screen-cap an email and share it online, you must be doing something right.
7 examples of excellent customer service emails
I came across some excellent examples of good customer service emails, and below you'll find eight of my favorites that showcase how great things can be done through email when it comes to taking care of customers.
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1. Timex turns the tables on a bad situation
For many folks, a Timex was one of the first watches they’ve ever owned. What you may not know is that Timex is well known for their excellent customer service.
Consider this example shared with me by Michael O’Neal, a longtime Timex owner. While biking a while back, Mike had the unfortunate experience of being in a hit-and-run accident, in which he broke a collarbone.
A sour situation, only made worse by the fact that his beloved Timex was also smashed in the process. Not looking for sympathy, but rather a solution, Mike emailed Timex's customer service to find out how he could get the watch fixed, and how much it would cost.View Larger Version
To his surprise, a Timex rep told him that “We are sure you have enough to worry about after your accident and getting your watch repaired shouldn’t be one of them,” offering to repair or replace it at no charge.
We give Judy a ton of respect for being able to empathize with a customer’s situation, and to Timex for being a company that ensures their customer service reps have the leeway to make things right for customers in unusual circumstances.
Their excellent customer service won a customer for life in Mike, and hopefully they’ve served as an inspiration for all businesses to understand how to handle out of the ordinary circumstances like this over email.
I'm happy to share this story with you for one other reason — I only found out about this situation by seeing a comment Mike left on one of my older articles. It’s nice to see great service happening for the benefit of the customer, and not for the pursuit of good PR.
In fact, the only public mention that I’ve found from Timex about this incident was their get well wish to Mike:
@inmikeswords Consider this tweet your personal "get well soon" card from all of us at Timex :)— Timex (@timex) August 13, 2013
That’s excellent customer service with some class.
2. Zappos knocks out a customer dilemma
Zappos is a company well known for excellent customer service, but can the magic really transfer to a channel like email?
The Zappos team answers with a resounding, “Yes” with what is perhaps one of the most shared customer service emails of all time. Originally sharedon Reddit, a customer service rep from Zappos named Paul replied to a customer’s unfortunate dilemma over a pair of ragged shoes that had been delivered.
How he handles the situation is nothing short of inspiring:View Larger Version
What makes this email so great can be summed up in one word: personality. This excellent customer service email serves as one of the very best examples because Paul strongly showcases why email support doesn't have to be boring, bland, or lacking in humor.
Paul's style may not work for every customer service rep, but his enthusiasm for getting customers excited about even a simple email is something everyone in the support space should aspire too. Cheers to Paul and the Zappos team for crafting what is undoubtedly one of the most creative customer service emails of all time.
3. FrozenByte cuts the red tape
The gaming software known as Steam allows users to play purchased computer games via an account, with no need for a CD. Unfortunately, this can create a conflict when different versions are released through platforms like Amazon.
That's the problem Eduardo ran into when he purchased a game from Amazon and couldn't get it to work on Steam. He decided to email Frozenbyte, the creator of the game, to see what could be done.
This is a classic case of not letting red tape get in the way of a paying customer's satisfaction. With a single excellent customer service email, Joel from the Frozenbyte made things right for Eduardo by giving him another "Steam key," a paid code used to activate the game, for free.
He let this customer know that Frozenbyte is a company that plays fair, and cares more about selling to people who love their products than nickel and diming their customers.
4. Callaway keeps customers coming back
Any avid golfer knows about — and has likely coveted — a sleek new set of Callaway golf clubs. As a premium brand, Callaway is obviously expected to deliver on product quality, but as you'll see from this next example, many of their customers stay for life thanks to their top notch customer service.
As a new customer, George was distraught to find that his Odessey putter, a brand owned by Callaway, had begun to lose its grip. The model he owned was discontinued, so he contacted Callaway's customer service to see where he could buy a new grip, saying that he would be "willing to pay a fair amount" since he was especially fond of the putter and didn't want to give it up.
A Callaway customer service rep named Sean received George's email and said that all he needed was George's address so that he could send him a new grip ⎯ free of charge.View Larger Version
Less than two days later, the brand new grip for a discontinued putter was at his doorstep. George would later share the story on Reddit, saying:
“I want to buy more Callaway products.
Perhaps the best part of this story, however, is the comments on George's post by other users of Reddit's Golf forum. Avid Callaway fans seem to come out of the woodwork, and they clearly spell out why excellent customer service skills plays an important role in why customers keep coming back.
Take, for instance, this comment:
"I have nothing but excellent customer service from Callaway, they really do know how to treat their customers... It's experiences like this that have made me a Callaway product owner for life.”
5. Archival Clothing gets proactive
Have you ever come across something that you would just love to buy, but the business is located far away and shipping costs make the purchase unfeasible?
That's what Reddit user Doug D. ran into when he tried to order a sweatshirt from Archival Clothing. As a UK resident, Doug wasn't able to get the lower prices that Archival normally ships for since the company is based in United States.
Someone from Archival saw that he had added the sweatshirt to the site's "Shopping Cart" but never checked out. They also saw how high his shipping costs were and figured that was the culprit.
They immediately followed up with Doug in an attempt find some creative ways that they could ship the order to him for less:View Larger Version
The result was an incredibly satisfied customer who actually ended up ordering more from Archival, just because someone took the extra time to find an unspoken customer problem.
It’s a perfect example of why it's not the medium that matters when communicating with customers; it's your willingness to find out what they need.
6. Powerup Apparel pays it forward
Recently, I was talking with Andrew Youderian on the Ecommerce Fuel podcast about what a pain it is to handle physical item exchanges. Not only is the process a burden for customers, but it can also be a hassle for businesses as well. Racking up extra fees just to ship back a t-shirt makes little sense for both parties.
That's why I really enjoyed this next example of excellent customer service from Powerup Apparel, who had a customer in need of a size exchange due to a shirt he received as a Secret Santa gift.
(If you're unaware, a "Secret Santa" exchange is when gifts are randomly assigned and given anonymously.)
Corey, the recipient, reached out to Powerup Apparel's customer service, looking to see if he could swap his large shirt for an extra large. Knowing that the process would be an annoyance to Corey and add a needless expense to the business, Chris P. decided to send out a brand new shirt, and he simply asked Corey if he could pass the other one on to someone who may enjoy it:View Larger Version
As trite as it may sound, this is a situation that is truly "win-win" for both customer and seller. Chris knows that the outcome will be appreciated (and possibly shared) by the customer, but he also knows that what he's doing is the best option in this instance.
It’s an excellent example of why there is a legitimate business case for taking care of customers.
7. Blizzard wants customers to walk away happy
Ah, buyer's remorse — no matter how smart we try to be with our purchases, this is something that happens to the best of us. Some companies try to take advantage of spur of the moment purchases by having rigid return dates and requirements for customers to justify why they're returning the product.
Blizzard Entertainment, a game developer, sees things differently.
When a recent customer of theirs told the customer service team that they got caught up in the hype of a new Blizzard release, you would expect the response to be, "That's a shame, but it isn't a valid reason for a return."
Blizzard' customer service, however, told the customer that they understood the predicament — we all make purchases that end up being wrong for us, and the Blizzard team decided that they'd rather have a customer walk away happy with a refund than disappointed with how they spent their money with the company:View Larger Version
The language in this customer service email is excellent, and it’s something Chase has highlighted in our Brief Guide to Better Support Emails. It is made very clear the customer service rep is on the customer's side, and he uses positive language to clearly state what will happen in regards to the customer's request and why it will happen.
Kudos to for Blizzard doing the right thing.