The Anatomy of a Customer Service Email

The Anatomy of a Customer Service Email

Customer Support

We live in the age of technology and information where communications from across the globe can take place within a matter of seconds, and although it connects us, it can also feel isolating at the same time. Addressing customers online makes it ideal for businesses to expand their reach, but it’s also easier for customers to submit their questions and frustrations. Despite the headaches we get receiving excessive amounts of upset emails, we have to remember that every customer service email is an opportunity to build a stronger relationship. Email and Live Chat (especially Social Media Biz Pages) supersede phone calls today, so let’s dissect the anatomy of what written responses should look like. 

1. Greet

Always address the customer by their name (or social media handle if replying on Instagram or Twitter). It makes the first connection, that this response is personal to them and their needs.


  • Good morning [Customer Name],…
  • Hello [Customer Name],…
  • Hi [Customer Name],…

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” —Dale Carnegie


2. Thank the Customer

It’s good to thank them for their email, question or frustration. Sounds odd—but it makes the customer feel appreciated. In the case of the extremely frustrated or angry email, it can shift the tone and tension to positive. Gratitude should always be given to a customer regardless of the matter at hand.


  • Thank you for reaching out.
  • We/I appreciate you bringing this to our attention.

**In the event a customer has replied thanking you for what you did to help them (it happens often), or they had their AH-HA! moment, reply simply saying…

  • [Customer Name], / You are most welcome! Happy to help. 
  • [Customer Name], / We are happy to help! Never hesitate to reach us if you have any other questions or concern.

“Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” —Jacques Maritain


3. Congratulate or Empathize

We all have our own s*** in life to swallow—you never know what kind of s*** the customer may be dealing with in life (i.e. family member died, garnished wages, laid-off at work, recent divorcee, etc). Just because our communication is written does not mean we omit character. Simple: be kind and understanding—care—celebrate their victories.


  • We’re/I’m so happy to hear you like it!
  • I can certainly see how that can be frustrating.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” —Leo F. Buscaglia


4. Summarize their Question/Situation

This ensures that you and the customer are on the same page before moving on to step 5. It also solidifies to the customer that they’ve been heard and understood. At the end of the day, an upset customer just wants to be heard.


  • I’m sorry to hear you’d like to refund your subscription with us. […]
  • I can certainly help you with placing an order through your account. […]

“Everyone hears only what he understands.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


5. Resolution / Call-To-Action (CTA)

Completing this step will entirely depend on policy and standard of operations for your company or business. Whether it’s giving them information they’re missing or not understanding, explaining or guiding them through a process, or even cancelling a subscription or account, here are a few examples of how you can successfully do this:

**Note: Please speak to your direct supervisor, team leader or trainer for how they want you to successfully complete this step (especially if you aren’t sure).

  • Screenshots (Jing is a great free, and easy tool to use for this!)
  • Step-by-step instructions or details.
  • Example(s)
  • Links

It’s important to make this step simple, easy to follow, and comprehensive. It should never be confusing. This step will take you the most time to write, and that’s okay! It’s better to take longer to be thorough and correct, than hurry and be misleading or incorrect.

“Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe[…]”
—Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


6. Conclude

Finish your email with a simple goodbye and your name. They want to know whom they have heard from! This step will also entirely depend on the matter of the email.


  • Thank you for your patience, / [Your Name]
  • Have a great rest of your day, / [Your Name]
  • Appreciated, / [Your Name]
  • Thank you, / [Your Name]

“Start strong, stay strong, and finish strong by remembering why you started in the first place.” —Ralph Marston

To bring it full swing, here’s an example of everything put together—a real email recently sent to a customer who was concerned about awards they’d received that were not showing up correctly on their account. This inhibited them from being able to redeem their awards. It was our technical error, and this was my response:

Good morning Theresa,

Thank you for reaching out. I’ve looked at your account and you are correct, you should have three awarded points and are only showing two. We are currently encountering a server error regarding points awarded in 2016. I apologize for this inconvenience! We’re working diligently to fix the error. It should be resolved and reflect correctly on your account in the next day or two, in which case you can most definitely expect an update from us.

Please don’t hesitate to reach us with any other questions or concerns. We’re here to help!

Thank you for your patience,

One of the most important things to remember when writing a customer service email, or responding to customers via Live Chat or on social media is to not sound scripted or like a robot. With all this technology that’s supposed to bring the world together, it can surely make one feel more isolated. Be real. Let your personality shine through your writing. A customer wants to know you’re a real person. Take pride in your work and how you write.

To bring this to a close, love what you do. If you aren’t loving what you do, it’s okay to recognize that it’s time to move on to something different. That’s what life is all about, exploring opportunities and creating new adventures. If you aren’t loving what you’re doing you aren’t truly living.

Thank you for taking time to read this,

Shayne Montalvo







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