"If Your Web Content Is Good, You Don't Need FAQs"

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10 Awesome Things I Got to Do While Filming a Lynda.com Course

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12 Not-Boring Ways to Start a Customer Service Email

The first sentence of an email to a customer gets more attention than all the other sentences combined. Here are 12 different ways to write a first-impression sentence that gets the email conversation off to a great start. read more »

20 Ways to Empathize With Stressed Out Customers

These are difficult times, and our anxious customers need us more than ever. Whether they need help completing a simple task or solving a complex problem, all of them need our empathy. But empathy isn’t easy. So I’ve pulled together this list of 20 ways to empathize with stressed out customers. read more »

Announcing my new Lynda.com course, "How to Write Customer Service Email"

Yep, you read that right! My first Lynda.com course, "How to Write Customer Service Email" is ready to view, and I am thrilled to share it with you. The course is made up of 29 short videos (about 3 minutes each) and loads of handouts and exercises, so you can apply what you have learned about writing great email... read more »

Can Bad Writers Improve? If You Coach Them, Yes

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Death to the Term "Soft Skills": Writing is a Hard Skill All Support Professionals Need

I hate the term “soft skills” and want everyone to stop using it. It’s vague, it’s dismissive, and it pits “soft” skills against “hard” ones when we know support professionals need both kinds of skills to do their increasingly complicated jobs well. If we can stop referring to writing skills with the empty word “soft,” we can recognize how important they are to providing great support. read more »

Don't Jekyll-and-Hyde Your Customers: Why Customer Service Should Also Use Your Company’s Brand Voice

It’s not good for your company to use one tone of voice when it’s trying to make a sale and another when it’s trying to solve a customer’s a problem. Customer Service should write in the same brand voice Marketing uses, or one that’s pretty close. Here are three things you can do to enable your Customer Service team to use a brand voice that builds rapport with your company and gives customers a seamless experience. read more »

E-WRITE's Eight-Course Writing Curriculum Helped a Government Agency Write Right

Over the last six months I’ve been involved in a dream-come-true project. For the U.S. Energy Information Administration, I developed a full writing curriculum—a set of eight different writing courses—and taught each of the courses at least twice. Learn how I developed the courses, how EIA got C-suite support for the project, and why the Write Right curriculum was so popular. read more »

Five Email Bad Habits That Make People Dislike You

These days, we begin most work relationships via email and we sustain them that way. All day long, we exchange emails with colleagues and clients whom we may rarely see in person or speak to on the phone. These five email bad habits may be putting people off you, even if they haven’t met you. Read on to see whether you have these bad habits and how to get rid of them, quickly. read more »

Getting Our Stories Straight: How to Deliver Consistent Communication in an Omnichannel World

Inconsistencies aren’t just bad for customers; they’re bad for customer service teams too. Inconsistent answers motivate customers to fish for the answers they want instead of the answer they received and harm managers’ efforts to get the best performance from agents. Learn the causes of inconsistent communications with customers and how to make our omnichannel communications clear and consistent. read more »

Guess Who's One of ICMI's Top 50 Thought Leaders of 2015

Yes! Check out number 39. I made the list! I'm proud to be in the company of these leading lights in the field of customer service. These folks have lots to say, so you might want to head over to Twitter and follow them. That's the first thing I did! read more »

How to Write a Condolence for a Coworker

Even if a condolence is difficult for you to write, you should still do it. “I don’t know what to say, so I won’t say anything,” doesn’t cut it. Take a deep breath and follow these writing tips. You’ll maintain your self-respect, and you’ll give comfort to a person who needs it. read more »

How to Write a Five-Star Response to a One-Star Rating or Poor Review

For years, we've been saying, “A complaint is a gift.” Well, if we’ve really meant it, we need to treat one-star ratings and low reviews as gifts, too. While we may fail to win over the most disappointed customers, we can demonstrate that we are listening, we are accountable, and we care. read more »

How to Write an “I’m leaving my job” Email That Won’t Burn Bridges

You’ve given HR your two weeks notice. You’ve archived your email, returned the back issues of professional journals to the company library, even packed up your sad-looking work sweater and black pumps. The last task? Writing your I’m leaving my job email. read more »

How to Write Automated Texts That Sound Human, Not Robotic

If your customers have opted-in to receive texts from your company, they probably understand that some texts from your company were sent by an automated system. However, your automated texts to customers shouldn't sound mechanical. Here are 10 tips to help you write automated texts that sound human and build rapport with your customers. read more »

I'm featured in this USA Today article! "Five things your airline should never say"

My 15 minutes of fame! Read the USA Today feature of me by consumer advocate and syndicated travel writer Christopher Elliott. When I proposed that we co-author an article about airlines' communications with customers, he counter-proposed that he write a profile of me and the work I have done with several major carriers. Read on! read more »

If You Apologize to Customers Sincerely, You Can Cut Formal Complaints (Nearly) in Half

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In Unusual Times, Replace the Usual Customer Service Phrases

On a typical day, most customers will understand what you mean even if you use less-than-graceful words when you speak or write. But these aren’t typical days. The usual customer service phrases can make your anxious customers even less patient and more emotional. These phrases can also make your company seem clueless. Here’s a list of six customer service phrases your team should probably avoid. read more »

Is Your Email Scorecard Making Agents' Writing Worse?

When managers score frontline customer service agents’ email quality in a “gotcha” fashion, or when they score agents on writing skills that haven’t been explained, taught, or coached, they can actually damage agents’ writing skills. Yes, it’s true. An ineffective or punitive email scorecard can make agents’ writing skills worse. read more »

My Very Own Crystal Ball: Four Must-Have Writing Skills for Customer Service Agents of the Future

My crystal ball tells me the future of customer service writing is “the same but more.” Customers’ need for quick, correct, helpful service will be the same, but changes in technology will cause customers to expect more. Frontline customer service agents need great writing skills today, and they’ll need even stronger and more flexible writing skills in the future. Read on to learn which skills they'll need ... read more »

Nine Tips for Helping Your Customer Service Agents Write Better-Faster Emails

How can contact centers improve their email response time? It's not by increasing the email quota for individual agents. Contact centers can only improve response time when contact center managers choose the right people, knowledge management practices, workflow, and tools to enable faster-better email. read more »

No More “Nonpologies” – Learn to Apologize to Customers Like You Mean It

Don't write empty words, which just make angry customers angrier. Learn to write heartfelt apologies your customers will believe. read more »

Recorded webinar: How to Write Like a Human in an Age of Speed

Jeff Toister and I co-presented the webinar, "How to Write Like a Human in an Age of Speed." Jeff reported the results of his survey, "How Fast Should a Business Respond to an Email?" I offered 10 tips on how to respond to emails really quickly without sounding like a robot. I think you'll enjoy this webinar recording. Watch it yourself, or share it with your team of customer service writers. read more »

Register for my FREE Webinar on May 8: How to Use the Bite, Snack, Meal Approach to Web Writing

If you write content for your own website or your employer's, you'll want to learn to use the "Bite, Snack, Meal" approach, so you can reach more readers and give them information they'll care about. Register for my free 90-minute webinar on May 8, 2018, and you'll gain content writing skills you can use right away. read more »

Register for my webinar: How to Write to Customers in Your Company's Brand Voice

Register for my two-part webinar series on July 26 and August 2. You'll learn how to write to your customers in your company's brand voice. Register at http://bit.ly/2a6wnbQ. read more »

Resource List: Copyright-Cleared and Royalty-Free Images

For selfish reasons, I'm offering you this list of places to find copyright-cleared and royalty-free images. My scattered list of these sites is driving me crazy, and I need to keep track of these links for myself! If you have a resource you really like, please let me know, and I'll add it to the list. read more »

Should E-Mail Signatures Include Religious Quotations?

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Webinar recording: How to Develop an Agency Brand Voice That Connects With Customers Online

Is your company or government agency using a tone of voice that connects with customers online, or is it using a stale, bureaucratic voice that repels them and breeds distrust or confusion? In this recorded webinar, you'll learn what brand voice is and how it’s governed. I'll lead you through a simple exercise that will help you define your brand voice, which may vary somewhat by project, product, or section of your site. I'll also discuss the situations in which using an inconsistent voice will cause problems. read more »

Why You Should Be (Business) Friends With Your Competitors

Since I started E-WRITE in 1996, I've focused on being business friends with my competitors instead of seeing them as a threat to my own success. This attitude has yielded so much good! Without these competitor-friends, I’d have fewer clients and prospects, and far less job satisfaction. I know how much good my competitors have done for me. read more »

With Only Seven Words, You Can Help Someone Who’s Struggling

You do not need to know how to recognize a mental health condition to help someone with one. You don’t need to know that someone is low or depressed to create a connection that enables them to cope, and maybe even begin recover. All you need to do is create the opportunity to listen. read more »

Yes, Boomers Do Want to Text Your Company for Customer Service

Is your company is gearing up to offer customer service via text? That’s great! Your customers are going to love the convenience. As you plan your roll out, beware of a common trap: ageist thinking. While texting behaviors do differ slightly by the age of the person holding the smartphone, customers of all ages will use text for customer service if you make the channel easy to use. If you assume your older customers aren’t into texting, you’re mistaken. read more »

Yes, Writing to Customers in Social Media Does Require Special Skills

Customer service agents who respond on Twitter and Facebook, etc. must have social-media-specific writing skills. While you may have staffed your social channels with experienced agents who know how to write great emails or live chats, writing to customers in social channels is challenging and different. Read on to learn about the three social-specific writing skills agents need if they’re going to deliver excellent customer care. read more »

You Can Take Two of My LinkedIn Learning Writing Courses for Free!

Through March 2021, You can take two of my LinkedIn Learning writing courses for free! read more »

Your Reading List: Get Up to Speed on Bots in Customer Service

Preparing to use bots in your customer care organization? Confused about what a bot is and how one works? Here's a reading list that will help you get up to speed. And if you've read (or created) a great piece on bots in customer service, mention it in the comments. I'll include it in this reading list. read more »

“I’m tired of stupid comments”: How not to respond to social media followers

Use these eight tips for responding to your haters on social media. While these dignified responses may not shut down negative, provocative people, they'll demonstrate to other followers that you can provide a calm, polite response even to a troll. read more »

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  • March 15, 2021

    12 Not-Boring Ways to Start a Customer Service Email

    The first sentence of an email to a customer gets more attention than all the other sentences combined. Here are 12 different ways to write a first-impression sentence that gets the email conversation off to a great start.

    Read more on the blog »