At Twilio SendGrid, we’re professionals at sending billions of emails a month—on behalf of our customers and to our customers. Over the years, our email team has juggled the art of sending out mass email communications while responding to customer replies.
Here, we’ll share our experience and best practices to help you make your emails more effective. From how to react to negative feedback to how to be punctual, this blog will help you solidify your customers’ trust and create truly effective lines of communication. Let’s start with the best practices.
1. Use a reply-to address
First and foremost, it’s crucial to include a reply-to address. This is your sending address that allows recipients to receive emails and reply back. Not only does this help eliminate customer confusion and frustration, but it improves your email deliverability (more on that in a minute).
Email service providers (ESPs) often identify reply-to addresses as legitimate sources—in other words, not spam. However, if you have a no-reply address, ESPs and recipients might mark your email as spam, having lasting effects on deliverability.
A reply-to address also shows your recipients that you’re on the other side of the computer and care about their questions, comments, and concerns. By setting up this capability and paying attention to your recipients’ replies, you can improve your customer experience.
We can’t stress enough the importance of having a reply-to address to steer clear of spam and boost your customers’ overall experience. Plus, it’s a great way to drop potential customers into your sales funnel.
Need more convincing? Read our blog post, What Is a No-Reply Email (And Why You Should Never Use Them), for more facts on why a reply-to address is crucial.
2. Be timely with your response
Consumers value brands that respond quickly. Having a reply-to address will likely result in a new influx of automated email replies. It’s crucial to take an hour or 2 out of your day to filter through your inbox and ensure you haven’t missed any critical communication from customers.
Try to hold your team to a consistent response time, ideally within 24 hours. You can even set expectations for a response by including a note in the footer of your email. To reduce bandwidth constraints on your team, consider periodically rotating who’s in charge of your reply-to inbox.
And if you anticipate the inability to respond on weekends, we suggest setting up an automated response. This will let your customers know you received their message, and they’ll hear from you on Monday. If you anticipate urgent requests, provide them with a phone number to call for emergencies.
A prompt email response time shows your customers that their needs are important to you and that you appreciate their willingness to reach out. And when you provide a positive brand experience, you can expect higher customer retention to follow.
3. Show compassion when receiving negative replies
Messages from unhappy customers are bound to come up at some point, and can be a good learning experience. Make sure your team is equipped to respond to those emails, and remind them that they’re not personal. Your customer may just be having a bad day.
That said, not all replies will warrant a response. It’s helpful to provide your team with some examples of what does and doesn’t require a response.
When responding to negative replies, show compassion for your recipient and put your brand’s best foot forward.
To establish a relationship with your recipient, craft personalized responses. For instance, use your first name, the recipient’s name, and “I” as much as possible. You even might start off your response with something like, “Thank you for reaching out, [recipient’s name]. I apologize for your difficulty.”
If you have access to their customer profile, you can include contextual information about their past purchases or engagements with your brand. The more you can include personalization, the better.
Once you feel you’ve addressed the customer’s comment or concern to the best of your ability, thank them for their feedback and let them know you’ll be available if any other issues arise.
For example, you could end your response by saying, “Please don’t hesitate to reach out again with any questions or concerns by replying directly to this email.” This follow-up sentence builds trust and ensures your customers feel comfortable communicating with you.
For more inspiration on writing top-notch emails, check out Email Writing 101: How to Write Better Emails in 2021 (14+ Ways).
4. Forward a reply (when applicable)
Although we strive to answer customer questions to the best of our ability, sometimes it’s impossible to answer every question that comes into your inbox.
If you receive a question that another department, like sales or support, can answer, don’t be afraid to direct the customer elsewhere. Align with stakeholders from those teams to coordinate and agree on who will respond to what types of questions.
At SendGrid, we forward technical account questions like “How do I get rid of this IP?” and “I forgot my username and password, can you help?“ to our Support team. We also forward sales-related questions such as “Can I speak with someone to talk about the benefits of upgrading?” to our Sales team.
Don’t have a support or sales team? Not to worry. You can forward messages to colleagues who are experts in the topic. Or you can address your recipient’s question or concern yourself with a little preparation.
5. Respond to positive feedback
We covered the importance of responding to negative feedback, and it’s just as crucial to respond to positive feedback. Customers who’ve had a positive experience with your brand can turn into loyal customers who come back again and again, so it’s crucial to foster these relationships.
When you receive positive feedback, show your recipients some love and let them know they made your day. This positive communication will reinforce their trust in your brand, and show them how much their business means to you. Businesses that create excellent customer experiences have the opportunity to build loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.
Those customers can also be great advocates for your brand. So if you feel comfortable doing so, ask your customer to share their positive experience by leaving you a review on Google, Yelp, or wherever your brand shows up.
6. Use some of Twilio SendGrid’s prepared responses
Now that you know our best tips for replying to emails, let’s put them into action. We’ve created some email responses below to help you respond to your email recipients more quickly. Copy, paste, and tweak them as you please. You can even tailor these responses specifically to your brand’s voice.
We recommend saving your most frequently used responses to a document and sharing them with your team to create a quick and efficient response process. Here are our best responses that illustrate how to respond properly to an email:
- “Hello [recipient]! My name is [sender]. Thank you for contacting us. I’m happy to help …”
- “Hi [recipient], thank you for the reply. I’m sorry for the confusion …”
- “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, [sender]. How can I help …”
- “Hey there, [recipient]. Thank you for reaching out! …”
- “Hey, [recipient]. Thank you for reaching out! I’m happy to provide an explanation …”
- “I look forward to resolving this issue with you!”
- “As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out with further questions or concerns.”
- “Let me know if I can point you to additional resources or get you in touch with our Support team!”
- “I’m here to help! Don’t hesitate to reach out again with any questions or concerns by replying directly to this email. I’ll get back to you shortly.”
- “I hope I was able to answer your question. If not, feel free to reply directly to this email and I’ll further assist you!”
How to respond to an email professionally for an interview
When emailing, especially if you’re job hunting, impressions matter. The initial email you send in response to an interview request might be the first time the company or hiring manager has a direct exchange with you, so you should make it count.
The most effective ways to stay professional in your response email are to reply in a timely manner while keeping the email formal and error-free. This means spell-checking twice (maybe even 3 times) and remaining mindful of your email response time. For example, if you received an interview invitation on a Monday, don’t wait a week to respond—respond as soon as you see the invitation and during business hours.
Send with confidence
When you’re confident in your email reply process, it shows. So does when you overthink the reply process. While you want to stay professional and adhere to the rules of proper email etiquette, it’s crucial to relax and be yourself.
Although it’s sometimes easier said than done, confidently responding to emails can set your business up for success by creating a positive brand experience with recipients. As long as you’re clear, concise, polite, and timely, you’ll accomplish your task and email with confidence.
Get help responding to recipients from Twilio SendGrid
Before you do anything, make sure you’ve established a reply-to address to open the door to direct customer communication. It could take some time getting used to, but work with your team and your colleagues to build an action plan around owning responses. You’ll also need to use your best judgment regarding who you respond to, and remember, positive replies deserve a response too.
Regardless of the situation, always put your best image forward and avoid letting your customers wait multiple days for a response. By doing all these things, you can improve email deliverability, learn from your customers, and build strong relationships that lead to loyalty.
Need help setting up a reply-to address? Twilio SendGrid has your back. Check out this tutorial in our knowledge center.