Study Shows Poor Follow-Up To Customer Emails

Brands expect a certain response when they send emails. But they don’t always reciprocate, according to a study by SuperOffice.

For example, 90% did not acknowledge an email that was received. And that was only one of several lapses detected by the company.

SuperOffice found this out by sending emails and making other customer service queries. 

It sent emails to 1,000 companies, and only 95 replied — an acknowledgement rate of less than 10%.

However, 91% of companies prefer email as their primary contact method, and make their email address clearly visible on their website. The other 9% use web forms or contact requests. The risk in not responding is that the customer may try to contact you in multiple other channels.

The solution is to send automated responses that includes working hours and an emergency telephone numbers. Tag all emails with a unique code that allows you to track those that relate to that request, SuperOffice advises.

Also, include an estimate on when you may give a response. This can be done by calculating your average response time over the last 30 days.

Here is some sample copy:

We will reply to your message as soon as we can. Please note that our team is available on working days from Monday to Friday between 9am - 5pm.

While you’re waiting, you’re very welcome to take a look at our help section to see if the answer to your question can be found there:

If only that was the end of it.

SuperOffice also sent customer service requests to 1,000 companies, and 62% did not respond. These non-responders had several things in common: 

  • They could be reached only through a web form on their web site.
  • They tended to be small companies.
  • They didn’t send automated responses.

Another problem was poor follow-up. Out of 1,000 firms, only 24 followed up to a query — a rate of less than 3%.

Once again, the solution is automated email. Here is some sample copy. In this message, customers can choose from a range of smiling and frowning faces to indicate their satisfaction levels:


We’d like to hear about your recent interaction with our Support team. Your feedback helps us get better at what we do every day.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your most recent experience with our support team? (Click on the image best describing your feeling)

Yet another issue is that the average response time was 12 hours and ten minutes — clearly unacceptable. But the time was two hours for the top ten companies.

SuperOffice offers these general best practices: 

  1. Reply to all customer service questions.
  2. Use automated responses to acknowledge a support request.
  3. Follow up to see if the customer is happy.
  4. Try to answer questions in the first response.
  5. Make it easy for the customer to contact support. 
  6. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  7. Use customer service tools to empower your team.



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