Are 6 exclamation points too many? Punctuation’s gone wild in live chat with Crate and Barrel

by | Aug 22, 2012 | Writing Matters Blog | 0 comments

I recently had simple, direct, if somewhat slow chat (almost five minutes long) with Susan, a helpful customer service representative at Crate and Barrel. My question: “Do you sell bird baths or bird feeders?” Crate and Barrel’s answer “No, sorry. Not any more.”

Live chat is perfect for this kind of interaction. For the customer, the chat freed me from digging around the entire website looking for products Crate and Barrel doesn’t sell. For the company, chat offers the opportunity to suggest a substitute item for one that’s no longer available.

But why the abundance of exclamation points? Susan’s writing sounds over-caffeinated. The wording in her sentences is upbeat and helpful enough; she just doesn’t need the exclamation points. Even innocently friendly comments like “I will check for you” or “Enjoy your evening” sound like barked commands when followed by an exclamation point. In my opinion, such insistent enthusiasm can be too much of a good thing.

What do you think? Trying reading each of Susan’s chat statements without the exclamation point. In your opinion, are any of them necessary?

Need more advice about writing great chat to customers? Read these posts:

Update: Crate and Barrel offers a gracious reply to this post

Props to Crate and Barrel. When I tweeted about their exclamation-happy live chat, Crate and Barrel replied with thanks and a promise to forward my feedback to the head chat honcho. Now that’s how to take some light constructive criticism. I’m impressed.


















Tags: Chat, Customer service, Tone


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