Opinion

A lesson from Parcelforce on how not to send a customer service email

Content Brewery founder Malcolm Auld rails against 'do not reply' emails, sending as a team, and why aiming to reply within four days isn't good enough.

Here’s a very good lesson in how not to treat a customer…

The following email was sent to me by a colleague, who was waiting on an urgent 48-hour air shipment from Parcelforce.

Just a heads-up folks – if the first words a customer reads on your email are “Do not reply to this email” you are in fact saying “we don’t give a stuff about you”!

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.

Thank you for contacting Parcelforce Worldwide.

Our Customer service email team will aim to reply within 4 working days. The email team working hours are – Mon-Fri: 8am to 6:00pm

Here is a bit of information with regards to deliveries that you may find useful:

  • Deliveries are usually made between 7am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday.
  • Deliveries on a Saturday are only made where the sender has chosen and paid for a Saturday delivery service. These deliveries are usually made between 7am to 1pm.
  • For Customer alerts, tracking enquiries, to price a delivery and how to pay a customs charges please refer to our website at: www.parcelforce.com

If you need to speak with someone due to the urgency of your enquiry, please contact our Customer Service Team on 03448 004466 and they will be able to assist.

Thanks
Parcelforce Worldwide Customer Services

The lessons from this abomination are:

  1. Never start your email with “Please do not reply to his message…” unless part of the sentence says “Please do not reply directly to this message, but contact us as follows, blah, blah…”
  2. Never aim to reply in four working days to a customer request? WTF are you thinking? Imagine a customer walking into your store with a question and you say, “please wait here for about four days, while we don’t give a shit about you”. You don’t aim to reply, you will reply immediately.
  3. Never use a typist to write your copy – use copywriters.

This sentence implies you might find the deliveries to be useful: “Here is a bit of information with regards to deliveries that you may find useful:”

It should read something like: Here is some useful information regarding deliveries:

4. Never sign an email from a team or Customer Service Teams. Teams don’t send emails – individuals do.

5. Never say “Customer service email team” – it just doesn’t make sense. An email team? Are there hordes of junior executives waiting around to send emails 4 days after getting one in an inbox? Sign your emails from an individual and make it easy to reply to the individual.

I suggest the CEO of Parcelforce does some mystery shopping and learn what it’s like to be a customer. Maybe then the company will wake up to itself and provide real customer service. I’m sure if they keep aiming to reply to problems within four working days, there won’t be much work left for anyone to do.

Malcolm Auld is founder of The Content Brewery. This post originally appeared on his blog.

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