Email Templates: Yes or No?

It’s fine to use templates

Some vendors hesitate about using templates because they are afraid they sound insincere. Did you personally bake the cake for your kid’s birthday party? Perhaps not, but if the kid’s name was written on the frosting and you served the cake outside of the box you purchased it in, I bet the crowd was very happy with it.

Templates are fine–assuming a delicious base model and appropriate personalization.

Talk like a person

Did the cake say, “Happy Birthday, Olivia” or “The Bakery sends best wishes on your birthday”?

Talk like a human being. We (human beings) do not say “Dear Customer”; we say “John” or “Mr. Jones”. We do not “regret any inconvenience caused by the error”; we “are so sorry the system went down for you”. We do not “appreciate your feedback and will pass it on to the engineering team”; we “understand this new feature would save you lots of extra work and we will bring it up at the next review window next week.”

Make personalization easy

Build each template with placeholders for specifics such as the customer’s name, the name of the helper, a description of the problem or next step, etc. For instance:

“Hello [customer name]-

I’m [my name] and I will help you with the issue you are having with [short description]. Would you be able to send me [details of request] so I can troubleshoot the situation further?

Please let me know if you have any questions: you can reply to this note or call xxx.”

Train the team to ad-lib

Don’t hide behind the templates: using a template is not an alternative to writing fresh text, it’s a help. Train the team to add details and deviate from the templates as they need to.

Crowd-source

Most team members create their own, personalized templates. Encourage them to propose the ones they think others may enjoy using–and extract good ideas from your case reviews too. Credit the creators!

 

Do you use templates? What techniques work for you?

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