How Email Can Make You A Customer Service Star

I know you. You tell me what you want. I make it. I remember next time.
-D. Peppers and M. Rogers, Enterprise One to One


Customer satisfaction is vital for a company’s success. You take care of every customer, not only because you appreciate their business, but also because you know the profound effect of word-of-mouth.

Promptly responding to feedback can make you in an otherwise break-you situation. Read on to discover one company whose lack of response cost them millions, and three others whose effort earned them rave reviews.

As Joseph Jaffe points out, “Retention is the new acquisition.” Work on your own retention with these ideas on finding out what subscribers want – and delivering it.

A Public Relations Nightmare

Canadian country singer Dave Carroll‘s guitar was broken in spring of 2008 by United Airlines’ boisterous baggage handling.

The airline ignored Carroll’s complaints for months. Fed up, he launched a YouTube video informing the public that United breaks guitars (and a follow-up about the messy aftermath.)

The video was viewed over 7.5 million times. United eventually offered Carroll a settlement, which he redirected to charity.

United’s share value fell by 10% after the video’s release. The $180 million loss would have bought Carroll over 51,000 new guitars – and saved the airline’s reputation.

Gold-Star Acts of Service

On the other hand, when companies jump to respond to customer feedback, it pays off. Not only did these three avoid the snafu that United went through, they were also publicly praised.

Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific flight attendants circumvented protocol to get a stranded passenger halfway around the world to his home, earning a glowing recommendation.
Planet Hollywood
Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas found a disgruntled Facebook post about poor customer service. They apologized within hours with a basket of wine and chocolate.
Comcast Twitter
Comcast’s Frank Eliason addresses customer concerns – and improves the company’s reputation – on Twitter. No need to wait for the cable guy – he’s @ComcastCares!

You Can Do It, Too

As an email marketer, you are already a step ahead of the game. Through your email list, you are already in contact with lots of your customers. Here are some ways you can tell your readers that you want their feedback, and get it from them.

  • Make sure that the “reply” address and postal address listed in your emails are legitimate. If you don’t check them frequently, start doing so. Respond to every complaint and every compliment – show each customer you appreciate them.
  • Periodically send out customer satisfaction surveys. Design them so your readers can critique as much as possible. Cover every topic you can think of, then leave room for ones you miss. Encourage comments and stories, and again, respond wherever you can.
  • Include your company’s phone number in your emails with a clear invitation to call you with any questions or concerns.
  • Set up an autoresponder that invites feedback. For example, AWeber’s new blog subscribers get an email that shows all the ways they can contact us and asks for their feedback and preferences.

Once you have your customers’ feedback, go use it!

  • Apply your findings to the content of your newsletter. If your readers prefer certain topics, concentrate on them.
  • If you get feedback regarding a lack of interest in certain types of content, try segmenting your list. Group subscribers with similar preferences and send the content each segment most wants.
  • If you use a rating scale, segment the subscribers who rate an email low. Ask them what they didn’t like or what content they’d rather see. Personally address any serious problems.
  • Use the feedback as content in your emails. Positive comments can be included as testimonials. If you make a change based on a reader’s suggestion, write about it. You value your subscribers and your door is always open – let them know.

Want to Learn More?

For more information on email marketing for wineries, view our complete Email Marketing for Wineries Guide.

What Makes You Shine?

It’s been said that customer service is the new marketing.

How do you find out what your customers want? How personal do you get with your responses?

How does their feedback make a difference in what you do?