11 Email Etiquette Rules to Follow for the Best Customer Service

Ludovic Armand
by Ludovic Armand

Customer service is the backbone of any successful business. Mastering the art of providing exceptional customer service is crucial for any growing company.

The email has emerged as the leading communication channel for customer service. A whopping 54% of consumers use customer support email, according to a study by Forrester.

Communication channels used for customer service by customers

As a result, it’s important to have proper email etiquette. It will help you provide timely and effective customer service to your clients. You'll also be able to set yourself apart from your competitors.

In this article, we'll explore some of the best practices for customer service and guidelines for email etiquette. Following them will help you provide excellent customer service and improve customer satisfaction.

Why Having a Proper Email Etiquette Is Important for Customer Service?

Email is probably the first point of contact your customers will have with your business. This is why proper email etiquette is essential for customer service. The tone and professionalism of your email can make or break your customers' impression of your company.

80% of customers think that their customer experience is as important as the products or services you provide. Customer service will help dictate their loyalty and if they repeat business. Another study from Microsoft stated that 61% of respondents have decided to use another brand due to poor customer service.

Having email etiquette in place will also help your team be more efficient, professional, and clear. They will also offer a uniform experience to all customers.

11 Email Etiquette Tips for Better Customer Service

Proper email etiquette is crucial for providing effective customer service to clients. Here are some tips for email etiquette in customer service.

1. Use Grammar & Spelling That Shows Your Professionalism

Nowadays customers aren't just looking for a solution to their problems. They also want to choose a brand that is aligned with their vision when making a purchase decision.

Having proper grammar and spelling in your emails will not only make your business look more professional but also help your recipients better understand you.

After all those rules are there for a reason.

Grammarly inside an email in Missive

Making sure that your team always sends spelling-free emails might be hard, but luckily for us, tools exist to make sure our messages stay mistake-free. Some shared inbox software, like Missive, even integrated with advanced tools like Grammarly to improve efficiency.

2. Take Advantage of Canned Responses

Let’s face it, some customer service inquiries are really common and need can be answered with the same email.

Using canned responses can help you and your team by providing a well-written and detailed answer every time without having to spend the whole time crafting the answer.

However, you should remember not to overindulge in using canned responses too often. Your customer will certainly appreciate the feeling that they are talking to an actual human being and not interacting with pre-determined answers.

3. Stay Human

As we mentioned in the last point, your customers probably want to be treated as human beings and not just as ticket numbers. You should make sure that every email interaction you have with your clients is personalized and tailored to its recipient.

A study from Zendesk shows that 76% of customers expect some personalization when interacting with a company.

By showing that you care about your customers you can make a difference in client retention. It can also help build a brand that will attract potential clients.

While you should always stay professional, you should provide personalized service to your customers.

We’ve all heard it:

A picture paints a thousand words

And while it can sound cliché, it could be more true. Including attachments in your email is probably one of the best ways to help your customer with their inquiry.

Links and attachments in a customer service email

It's especially true for software companies. Providing a screenshot can help the recipient understand what you’re describing in your email.

The same can apply to any files that could help provide more detailed information.

Another great email etiquette to remember for customer service is to provide links to relevant articles, FAQs, guides, or videos. There’s no point in writing a lengthy email when the question or issue has already been answered in detail somewhere else.

The time saved by providing links to the information will let your team focus on emails that are of higher priority.

It can also be useful to go beyond the issue experienced by your customer and send them links to resources that can help them later on.

With that in mind, you should remember that 81% of customers attempt to resolve their issues themselves before reaching out to your team. So don't just send links to useful resources and call it a day. Try to bring value to every exchange.

5. Avoid Getting Emotional

We all experienced it:

You receive an email from an angry customer and you just want to reply on the spot.

While it might be tempting to respond immediately, doing so when you’re still emotional can lead to unprofessional answers. It can exacerbate the frustration experienced by your customers.

It’s important to remember that your customers are people too with emotional ups and downs and their problems. Empathizing with them and focusing on providing a solution rather than dwelling on the issue will help with your clients' interactions.

6. Use Professional Email Addresses

If you’re still using a @gmail.com (or any provider's) generic email address for your customer service, this should act as your last warning notice to make the switch to a business email address.

Your customers will certainly see your business email address as more professional and credible. It will help them take you seriously and trust you.

7. Make Sure You Follow-Up

Sometimes you want to take your customer service to the next level. Following up on inquiries you had in the past can be great email etiquette to adopt. It can bring many benefits:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Issue resolution
  • Customer feedback
  • Reputation management

It could be as simple as sending a follow-up email to know if your customer resolved their issue. You could also take that moment to ask them if you could further assist them or if they could leave you a review.

8. Use Language That Is Easy to Understand

The goal isn’t to show off your wide vocabulary or use the most technical jargon to prove that you’re trustworthy. Your focus should be on being easily understood by your recipient. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a grade level equal to or lower than 8. this way you’ll make sure that the vast majority of your audience understands.

Of course, this tip needs to be adapted to your audience and industry. For example, if your business is in the tech industry and you're dealing with developers, you should be using technical terms when necessary.

9. Use Short Descriptive Subject Lines

Email subject lines are important when determining if someone will open an email or not.

Using a short but descriptive subject will help your customer understand what your emails are about before even needing to open them. In fact, 64% of recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line.

You should aim for a descriptive subject line that is less than 9 words (60 characters) and that doesn’t use too much punctuation.

10. Be Friendly

Depending on your industry and customer base, being friendly can make your customer go the extra mile. Let’s face it, having a more casual tone can make a whole difference in customer satisfaction. It will ensure that your clients leave the email interaction with the feeling that you’re helpful and kind. And as we know by now, keeping customers is a lot more valuable than acquiring new ones.

You should also try to be thankful instead of always apologizing. For example, instead of apologizing for the wait time, you could thank them for their patience. You’ll see that the conversation will get a whole new tone from there.

11. Respond to All Emails on Time

Just so we’re clear here, we are not talking about responding to all those spammy emails that end up in your shared inboxes every day. We’re talking about all those legitimate emails from customers you receive.

You should make sure you have an SLA in place and that you are respecting it. This will send a strong signal to your customer that you care about them and they’ll also get an idea of when they should be expecting a reply.


Following this email etiquette for your customer service will help you provide a great customer experience. It will set you apart from the competition.

Making sure that no email is left unanswered and that everyone gets the right answer to their inquiry can be a demanding task. But, using a shared inbox software like Missive you and your team will be able to offer better service by enabling all your team to collaborate on customer service emails.

Ludovic Armand

Digital Marketing Lead at Missive
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