The last thing your customers want to receive is an automated message devoid of any life. It’s upsetting and sometimes even offensive, especially if it doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. But as much as you’d like to hand-craft every email to perfection, there’s seldom enough time. Too many customers are waiting for you to tend to their needs. 

When you’re walking on eggshells, which is often the case in customer service, you need to write personalized responses that are well-thought-out and amiable. This is particularly true for those difficult situations when it becomes unclear as to how the matter should be handled. 

How do you tell someone that their feature request isn’t in the pipeline? What if you can’t process a customer’s refund? What do you do when it becomes apparent that the login details they’re requesting aren’t for their account? 

Let’s make things easier by looking at some response templates that are designed for tricky customer service emails. In each case, remember to keep the following fundamentals at the forefront of your mind: 

  • Address the customer by their name.
  • Take a friendly but measured approach. 
  • Use positive language.
  • Follow up on your initial message if they don’t reply. 
  • Empathize with their situation. 
  • Provide a clear explanation of how you intend to solve the problem. 

With this in mind, use the following templates to safely navigate more complicated and delicate issues. 

Refund Request

If a customer wants a refund (and you can’t provide it), they likely feel that they haven’t gained the value they were expecting from the product or service. Pay attention to their reasoning and acknowledge the issue before addressing it. 

Example Response

Hi Jennifer,

First of all, thank you for supporting (business name).

I’m sorry to hear that the (product/service) didn’t meet your expectations. As per our terms and conditions, I’m unable to provide a refund in this case. Fortunately, I can (offer a non-refund option). 

As we get that sorted out, I’d like to hear more about your situation. If you could elaborate on (why they want a refund), I can chat with (the relevant people, such as the product team), and we can provide our best advice. Any feedback or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. That’s how we make (product/service) better!

Additional Tips

In some instances, such as with small refunds, following through with the request and investing in the long-term relationship might be worth more than the money saved. In any case, it’s worthwhile taking the time to understand why the customer wants a refund in the first place. Linking to your refund policy will help you backup your response. 

Invalid Feature Request

This is a common one for software companies. Of course, it’s not a bad thing. It means that your users are vested enough in the product that they want to make it better by offering their own ideas. You can also gain some valuable insights here. 

However, not all feature requests make sense for the majority or align with your objectives. At the same time, you don’t want to flat-out reject the customer or not reply at all. Maintaining a positive voice isn’t always easy, but it’s not impossible to leave the customer feeling that they’re still valued.  

Example Response

Hey Steven,

Thanks for reaching out! We really appreciate it when our users provide this kind of feedback. 

While we can’t add (feature request) at the moment, it’s something we will consider for a future release. I’m adding your suggestion to the list, so as soon as I get news about (feature request), I’ll let you know when you can expect it in an update. In the meantime, your best bet would be to (suggest a solution when possible). 

Thanks again for taking the time to let us know what you want to see in (software). Don’t hesitate to contact me when you have any other ideas.

Additional Tips

Telling the customer that their request will be considered makes a strong case for them to stay on board. Ending with a suggestion is a good way to keep things positive. 

Failing to Comply

Sometimes, the customer will have a problem but is angry to the point where they refuse to give you the information you need to help them. It can also be the case that they simply don’t understand what you’re asking for, as it may be beyond their technical expertise. Here’s how you can help. 

Example Response

Hi Emma,

I understand how frustrating this can be. While I get where you’re coming from, I’ll need your help to sort this out. If you can provide the following information, we can get everything in order in no time. 

(List of steps or details you need). 

I know your time is important, so as soon as we have (details) I’ll get back to you with (solution). 

Looking forward to your response. 

Additional Tips

In some cases, you might be able to tell a story about another customer who was in a similar situation, and what you did to sort the matter out.

Social Engineering Attempts

As you may already know, social engineering is an increasingly common problem in customer service. But it can also be the case that the customer genuinely needs assistance, so you want to be secure while still being helpful. 

Example Response

Hi Robert,

I’m sorry to hear that you’re having trouble accessing your account. 

As I’m sure you can understand, we have to adhere to security standards when it comes to providing the sensitive information that our customers entrust us with. If you can’t remember your password, you should be able to reset it by following these steps:

(Make a bullet list) 

Let me know if you’re unsure of anything and I’ll be happy to help you along. If you’d like to learn more about our security policy, the following link has all the details: (URL). 

Additional Tips

There isn’t much along the lines of workarounds when it comes to security, but you can make things easier by linking to relevant policies and knowledgebase articles.

These templates should serve as a foundation on which you can build your replies for any other tricky emails that come your way. Be sure to incorporate your own tone and voice to add that personal touch.