30 customer service email templates and best practices for contacting customers
Use these customer service email templates along with customer support software to speed up your email workflows, save time, and increase efficiency at scale.
Last updated August 16, 2023
When a business hits its stride and starts gaining exposure, resources to address customer service requests are often limited. The influx of new customer service tickets forces small, bootstrap teams to invent patchwork solutions to keep up with the pace while still meeting internal expectations. The result is a chaotic support environment that diminishes the customer experience.
With email management through customer service software like Zendesk, you can template or even automate your customer service emails to save time, allowing you to increase efficiency at scale. In this article on customer service email templates, we’ll cover:
Looking for customer service email templates that you can just copy and paste? Download 30 complete templates by clicking on the button below. Read on for additional templates and tips on how to personalize your emails to make them more effective.
Writing customer service emails: 3 best practices
Customer service is a learned skill that you can improve with dedication and practice, along with the help of customer service tools. You should keep these best practices in mind when emailing any prospective, existing, or former customer.
1. Use their name
You likely have a few emails in your inbox (or spam folder) that address you with a simple greeting, but not by name. In most cases, this is a pretty clear indication of an email blast without any specific targeting or customization, and it can put a sour taste in your customers’ mouths.
You should aim to address all of your prospects and customers by name when you email them. With customer support software, you can add client profiles that help you by automatically updating the “name” fields in your templated emails. That way, you’re always reminding your customers that you care about them.
I’m glad you asked! I’d be happy to help you with your question.
2. Know their history with your business
Passing customers off to the incorrect party or flubbing the details of their account history can cost you some serious trust points. Every time you prepare to send a customer email, double-check your copy to make sure that you don’t frame anything incorrectly. While mistakes happen, it’s best to catch these unforced errors before they hit your customer’s inbox.
When using customer support software like Zendesk’s own to manage your customer service email operation, your customer’s account, purchase, and support history are viewable at the click of a button. Seeing these important details can not only help you avoid embarrassing mistakes but can also help you add personalized touches to your customer communications.
I know you’re familiar with my colleague James (he helped you with an email management support issue in February of this year)—I’ve looped him in on this email thread to offer his thoughts on this new issue. Hopefully, we can get this solved just as quickly!
3. Understand their wants and needs
One of the most important facets of the customer experience is the feeling of trust your customer has from their knowledge that you’ve got their back. Is there a new product they’d love? You should tell them about it. Is there something they were really excited about in their personal life? Follow up with them to see how it went.
Keeping tabs on your customers like this may seem overwhelming, but luckily you can add details to their profile with customer support software. That way, no personal detail or account metric is ever forgotten.
Before I detail our newest product offering that I think you’ll love, I wanted to check in: How has your experience been with your last purchase? I know you were really excited to try it out, so I wanted to make sure that we met your expectations.
The best customer service email templates and tips for common scenarios
Using customer service email templates will save your team from having to think up responses on the fly—which is both time-consuming and stress-inducing—while also ensuring your brand voice remains present in every interaction.
Here are 30 examples of customer support email templates that can be helpful for finding the right words.
1. Receipt acknowledgment
Confirming receipt is a common email best practice. In customer service, a confirmation of receipt is a quick note that acknowledges your team received the email and you’re looking into the issue.
Confirming receipt helps your customers feel heard, and it gives your team time to look into the issue without feeling rushed. With email management through customer support software, you can set up confirmation emails to send automatically when a new customer email comes in. Using these triggers saves your team time and allows them to focus their attention on solving the problem. Plus, with an automatic trigger like this, you never have to worry about customer emails going unacknowledged.
Here is an example of how to format confirmation of receipt:
2. Follow-up response
Sending follow-up notes to customers who’ve gone silent shows them that you care about them and appreciate their business. However, it can be tough to provide this type of personal touch at scale.
By taking advantage of email automation for follow-up responses, you can move through the process faster and keep providing the same level of service even as your team continues to grow. For example, you could use Zendesk’s own “Bump Bump Solve” email automation, which sends two automatic “bumps” to prompt a response. Then, if there’s still no answer, it solves the ticket and clears it out of your queue. This is all done without an agent having to touch the ticket.
Here is an example template for a follow-up email:
3. New customer onboarding message
The first email you send your new customers to onboard them sets the tone for their entire relationship with you and your company. According to Forbes, 83 percent of brick-and-mortar shoppers will return to shop again after a positive experience.
This first email impression is your chance to strike a positive (and even celebratory) tone to get your customer excited about what’s to come.
Try modifying this example template when onboarding a new customer:
4. Renewal reminder
If your company offers a subscription-based service, renewals are an important factor in your revenue stream. You’ll need to periodically remind your customers of their renewal deadlines to make sure there are no surprises. You might want to let your customers know before they’re charged an automatic renewal fee, and you’d surely like to know which of your customers are less likely to renew when the time comes.
It’s a good idea to reach out at least 90 days before renewal to start the discussion. To get a bigger head-start, it’s acceptable to reach out 180 days in advance on larger accounts with more parties involved in the decision-making process. Make sure you follow up periodically, too. A good rule of thumb is a monthly reminder email that notifies your customer of the 60- and 30-day marks before renewal.
Here’s a customer renewal template that you can alter for your business:
5. Complaint or poor experience response
Customers won’t always be in the honeymoon phase. Eventually, some are bound to complain about a facet of your product or service. Instead of letting that get you down, having a prepared response can help put out the fire and restore confidence.
If a customer chooses to complain to you, it signals an opportunity to shift them from unsatisfied to satisfied based on the nature of their complaint. They put time and effort into their message, and by showing the same effort in return while remaining polite and patient, you’ll likely stand a better chance of solving the issue.
Next time you receive a customer complaint, here’s a poor customer experience template to try out:
6. Unreasonable or angry customer response
A complaining customer is tough, but an angry customer can be uncomfortable to handle. When you find yourself in a tough situation with a customer, take a deep breath, imagine what the customer is feeling, and try to relate. Have you been in a similar situation yourself?
Acknowledge their frustration in a way that feels real, and then shift the focus to finding a solution. Email macros can help you keep your cool and prevent you from missing an important detail in the heat of the moment, but every situation is different and should be given the attention it deserves. You don’t want to sound impersonal or robotic, so we recommend personalizing your response to the person and their unique situation.
Here is a template for how we might handle an angry customer:
7. Customer apology message
Even with angry or unhappy customers, your team won’t be able to resolve each and every issue. Instead of letting that roadblock delay a response to your customer, apologize to them to show sincerity since they likely believe it was your company in the wrong.
With apologies, honesty and transparency are important to convey the truth behind your words. Few messages come off more negatively than a half-hearted apology. However, this doesn’t mean you need to agonize over every word.
Try building off of this customer apology template when you butt heads with an unhappy customer outside of a complaint or angry message:
8. Broken products or interrupted services notification
As the templates above show, mistakes happen. Sometimes, those mistakes are technical and entirely out of your control. In those cases when you have an interruption of services or a broken or recalled product, it’s critical to let your customers know as soon as possible and to assure them that you’ll keep them in the loop.
By introducing this level of transparency with your customers, you stand a chance at improving your long-term relationships and establishing yourself as an honest problem-solver.
Here’s a customer service email template for times when your products or services aren’t holding up:
9. Technical support message
Nowadays, it’s more common to resolve technical support issues over live chat and messaging so support agents can troubleshoot the problem. However, technical support requests still come through email from many customers, and having a response prepared can help get things moving so you can quickly resolve your customer’s issue.
When pursuing a customer for more information, take the opportunity to ask as many specific and detailed questions as possible so you can approach the problem with the full picture.
Update the tech support message template below according to your company’s product/service specifications:
10. Team transition notification
If the time comes for you to move on from your role with your company, it’s important to let your customers know that they’ll be working with someone else moving forward. It’s not always easy to break the news to loyal customers, but as a close point of contact, you need to let them know yourself as a matter of honesty and transparency on behalf of you and your team.
Try out the following account manager or team transition template when you’re looking to let your customers know about your departure:
11. New point of contact introduction
If you’re replacing a former account manager, you may find the transition period to be precarious as you learn to acclimate to your new client’s preferences and reacquaint them with a new point of contact.
Similar to an onboarding message, the first email from a new point of contact sets the tone for the duration of your relationship with your new client. You’ll need to make clear that you are the point person for communications going forward while aiming to make them as comfortable as possible during the transition.
Try this template to let your new client know that they can trust you as their new account manager:
12. Out-of-policy request response
Often, customers will request refunds, exchanges, or other actions that you can’t fulfill because of company policy. When these requests come through your inbox, don’t panic. Instead, use them as great opportunities to flex your customer satisfaction skills and offer alternative solutions.
Try this template when you get an out-of-policy request that you can’t make happen:
13. Free trial offer
When working through your sales pipeline, you might notice prospects that never reached the “Decision” or “Action” stages of the sales funnel. It might be tempting to ignore these prospects in favor of active accounts, but engaging with undecided customers is an important aspect of customer service to build that meaningful connection between them and your business.
A prospect may have delayed a decision because they were curious about how your product would address a particular problem they have. If you offer a free trial, you may be able to gain that prospect’s trust enough to have them accept. Plus, it’s more difficult to turn down a free offer than a paid one.
Try the following template for those undecided prospects that need an extra nudge:
14. Exchange offer
If you need a solution to a problem for an unhappy customer, it’s best to first offer a solution that benefits both parties. When you establish and follow through with customer service best practices, you’ll educate your customers on the benefits of sticking with you through poor experiences, as long as they are few and far between.
For loyal customers that ask for exchanges instead of refunds, or for nonloyal customers who might just be curious to try an alternative rather than back out of your offerings entirely, you should make an effort to appease them with an exchange.
Try this template out when dealing with a customer who doesn’t want the product they purchased:
15. Refund offer
Not every offer for an exchange will be successful. Some customers will simply ask for a return, and that’s OK. If a product wasn’t right for them, it doesn’t mean it was your account management that dissuaded them from their purchase—it just means that this fit wasn’t quite right for their needs.
However, assessing those needs (and figuring out the source of their disappointment with the product) can produce valuable insights for your future client relationships.
This refund offer template is a great way to extend an olive branch to a dissatisfied customer and maximize your chances of them returning in the future:
16. Discount offer
Sometimes, a customer may require a little incentive to keep them happy with their purchase. As long as it’s in line with your company policy, you might choose to offer a credit, partial purchase compensation, or a small purchase discount to an agitated customer.
Whether it’s to fend off a return or encourage a purchase, here’s a discount offer template to keep your customers from walking away:
17. FAQ highlight message
If you feel like you’re responding to the same questions over and over, that’s probably because you are. Frequently asked questions can usually be addressed with language that’s already been developed and approved. However, responding to questions still takes time.
As your organization grows, tackling all those questions could quickly become overwhelming and lead to a backlog of emails. To avoid this, you customer support email software to easily create shortcuts (also called macros) that allow you to plug in standard responses. Then you can customize those responses as needed.
Using these shortcuts speeds up the response process—stopping the backlog before it even starts—so you can provide service at scale.
Use the template below to expand on any frequently asked questions you see come through your inbox.
18. Redirection to a different department notification
Sometimes, a customer will send you a request that you’ll need to send to a different department. We’ve covered the importance of letting your customer know that you received their message, but if they should expect contact from another department, it’s best to give them a heads-up.
Here’s a template to let your customer know that you are rerouting their request:
19. Referral request message
When you’re working with an established customer who you’ve known for some time, it can be a good idea to ask them for a referral. As long as their experience with you and your company is positive, you should feel open to asking them if they know anyone with similar needs.
Asking for referrals can feel pushy, but think of it this way: If you thoroughly enjoy the food at a restaurant, you’d probably feel comfortable recommending it to your friends, family, or colleagues. The same goes for most products and services.
Try out the template below with your trusted customers when you’re ready to ask them for a referral:
20. Review or feedback request message
Like asking for a referral, requesting feedback or honest reviews from your customers is a great way to grow your business. Reviews can lead to new inbound business, and feedback is helpful to better tailor your services to the needs of your customers.
A customer will likely receive your request for feedback or a review better if it happens in the same email thread where you discussed the product or service.
Use this template in either an existing email thread or a new one when you want to politely ask for product or service feedback from your customers:
For an even more comprehensive collection of customer service email templates to help you find the words for almost any scenario, download our full list of 30 customer service email templates below.
Customer service email FAQ
Responding to customer emails entails encountering many different scenarios. These frequently asked questions can help put your worries to rest.
How do you respond to a new customer via email?
To respond to a new customer via email, carefully read their initial inquiry and gather the intel necessary to form your response. Even though you might not have much historical information on a new customer, you can still respond to their email with confidence. Use the best practices above to set a positive tone for your conversation, including using their name. You can even use one of the templates in this article.
How do you respond to an angry customer email?
Responding to an angry customer service email can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You should:
- Respond quickly and follow up if necessary
- Apologize clearly for the poor experience
- Give an explanation of what went wrong
- Offer a monetary incentive, like a refund
- Explain how you’ll ensure this won’t happen again
- Ask for further questions or concerns
What’s the best way to conclude a customer service email?
Your customer service email conclusion should be brief. Summarize your intent, ask for a response, and sign off. Common sign-off signatures that you can feel comfortable using in customer service emails are “Thanks” or “Thank you,” “Best,” or “Cheers.”
Why is customer service email etiquette so important?
Customer service email etiquette is important because it sets the tone for your communications with that customer going forward. Your emails are a written record of your correspondence, and they can easily be referenced in a public review. Etiquette is your first line of defense in ensuring that the customer experience is as positive as possible.
Use strategic email templates to increase customer service efficiency
These are just a few examples of how customer service email templates can save you time and effort. Taking control of your customer service emails doesn’t just help your team, it also serves your customers. Your agents can tackle more tickets faster, which results in a better customer experience for every person who emails you. It’s a win-win.
Customer service email templates are especially effective when used alongside the right tools. With Zendesk Suite, you’re able to easily scale your business as your needs grow and change. Start your free trial today.