Contact Center Trends

7 Writing Tips For Exceptional Customer Support

By Kostas Papageorgiou

0 min read

This is a guest post from Kostas Papageorgiou, a content marketer at Userlike.

Everyone has their own voice. Whether face-to-face, over the phone, or in writing, our voice reflects our uniqueness. The same can be said about brands having their own voice too.

Customer service representatives are an important element of that voice. They’re the voice that speaks directly with existing and potential customers. The voice that can convince website visitors to convert into paying customers.

But the wrong tone can be destructive. According to Oracle, 89% of consumers will switch to a competitor after a poor customer experience. So how do you make yours excellent?

The way you communicate with customers and web visitors is a vital component here. In this post we’ll explore some nifty communication tips to help you deliver exceptional and proactive customer support.

1. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

The first and most fundamental step to delivering exceptional customer service is empathy. That means the ability to understand and relate to the other person’s feelings.

Think about all the times you’ve had to get in touch with customer service. What were your expectations? You probably wanted to get your issue solved or questions answered as quickly as possible, and to chat with someone who understands your situation.

A great way to get into the heads of your customers is through an empathy map. Originally developed by Dave Grey, an empathy map is similar to a user persona and can represent a group of users, such as website visitors or a customer segment.

2. Write Naturally

When writing to customers, remember that you’re not writing an academic essay – you’re writing to another person.

People look for conversation, not business jargon. To ensure you come across as friendly and approachable, maintain a conversational tone. People prefer to be addressed this way because it helps them to process the information.

When reading through an academic article, I often find myself having to re-read sentences to capture the meaning – which makes me feel like I’m not smart enough for the content. That’s not how you want to make your customers feel.

Your objective is to make people feel relaxed and reassured. When you write conversationally, they feel as if they are being spoken to, not lectured.

3. One Idea Per Paragraph

Who likes to be presented with huge chunks of text with no end in sight? No one. Bulky chunks of text put people off. They are difficult to read, which is why it’s better to keep your paragraphs short. By keeping your paragraphs short and limited to explaining one idea, you make your communication easier to digest.

You can break your communication into smaller parts by using:

  • Subheadings
  • Numbered lists
  • Bullet points
  • One sentence paragraphs

If you feel the content is overly dense, it’s best to break it up.

4. One Thought Per Sentence

On average, you’ll want to limit your sentences to a length of around 14 words. Based on research by the American Press Institute, a reader will understand 90% of the information in a 14-word sentence. Above 43 words per sentence, however, and comprehension dropped below 10%.

Typically any sentence longer than 25 words can confuse your customers. By keeping things short, your message becomes more memorable and understandable.

You can keep your sentence short and sweet by:

  • Breaking up long sentences into short ones
  • Using dashes
  • Using bullet points
  • Removing uncertainties (e.g. mostly, almost, nearly, just about, etc.)

There’s no strict rule how long a sentence should be. However, the people behind, published an interesting article where they make their case for sentences no longer than 25 words.

5. Show Genuine Interest

Personal touches are great for building rapport with the person you’re chatting with. It also tells your customers how attentive you are and the effort you’re putting in to help them.

If you’re working in B2B, you could give a genuine compliment about your customer’s business. With B2C companies, tell the customer what a great choice they’ve made in purchasing your product.

It’s important to be sincere. Don’t overdo it and give your company a reputation for being disingenuous.

6. Never Make the Customer Feel Stupid

Customers often raise questions which – for the service reps – have obvious answers. But the reality is that the customer is not as involved with your business as you are.

For most of your web visitors, this is probably the first time they’ve engaged with your business – and possibly your business model too. Keep this in mind when answering their questions.

Make sure to hide your frustration, even if you feel it’s justified. A negative tone can harm the reputation of your business. What’s more, people are unlikely to recommend you and probably start complaining on social media.

7. Always Be Positive

Always try to maintain a positive and constructive tone. Even with complaints from angry customers or unfortunate incidents, make sure to focus on the solution and drive attention towards a positive outcome.

Let’s say one of your products is out of stock and you need to explain to a potential customer. You could simply say, “The product is unavailable until next month.” That phrase is quite negative  because it doesn’t offer a solution.

Instead you could say, “The product is available to order next month. If you like, I can place an order for you.” Compared to the previous response, this one avoids using negative terms such as “unavailable.” It also communicates proactiveness by offering a viable solution for the customer.

Chatting with customers may seem simple enough, but tweaking your communication in a way which is informative, concise, and friendly takes practice. These communication tips will certainly help you in achieving a tone that makes people trust in you and your business. They’ve proven to be helpful for us, and hopefully they will be for you as well!

What about you? What crafty communication tips do you use?


Kostas Papageorgiou

Kostas Papageorgiou is a content marketer at Userlike, live chat for website and mobile support. With 5+ years of experience in marketing, FinTech and e-commerce, he helps businesses help their customers – when it matters, where it matters.