USING GMAIL ‘CANNED RESPONSES’ FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT

In our previous 4 articles, we examined Social Media with regards to Customer Service. This week, we veer away a little from Social Media and delve into the world of Email for Customer Support. Email has transformed the way we communicate and continues to evolve.   Gmail’s arrival in 2004 with enhanced features like greater space for storage and speed caused the then industry giants, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail to sit up. Gmail continues to advance with some helpful applications added on as it matures.

In this article, I want us to look at Canned Responses, described as “Email for the truly lazy”.  Canned responses is not an actual customer support software. However, there are productive reasons to consider Canned Responses especially for businesses with a lean budget. Customer support is, most often, a repetitive job. Your customer service email account gets the same queries over and over.  With Canned Responses, you get to pre-craft your email messages.  Use these pre-formed templates to respond to such queries instead of typing out repeated responses all the time.  Use your Canned Responses to give quick responses to important mails and buy time to give a detailed response later. Canned Responses give you the ability to respond immediately you read a mail, this prevents you from forgetting to respond to that important message. It affords you time – the opportunity to respond to an email if your answer requires a bit of research.

CANNED RESPONSES FOR MOBILE

Regardless of whether you are commuting, out of the office, showering, eating etc, your customers are going to experience problems and your inbox is going to fill up with queries. As we established earlier, the online customer is an impatient one. The quicker you get back to them, the happier they will turn out to be. when you are on the move, typing out long solutions is  challenging especially on a tiny screen. I think Gmail Canned Responses are gold on mobile.  Mobile takes this Gmail feature to another level. Canned Responses come in handy when you are on the go and cannot access the right/necessary information to respond to an email.

Furthermore, when you read a mail on your mobile device (whilst on the go) -which requires a lengthy response, having a pre-crafted response is invaluable.

The Gmail Canned Responses application is available for Android mobile devices on the Google Play Store.

With Canned Responses you can give timely responses. Acknowledgement of direct mails in the corporate world makes you sound courteous and professional – and it saves you from forgetting to respond to your mail.  This is a sign of courtesy to the customer too. In a nutshell:

  • Save time – for those who get and send tons of emails a day. Canned Responses will shorten the time you spend emailing.
  • Avoid typographical and grammatical errors: When you use Canned Responses you only need to proofread once.
  • Unlimited templates: You can have as many saved responses as you want.  Craft as many responses according to the needs you serve on a regular basis. The goal of customer service is to make the customers life easier.

TIP: Instead of directing the customer to a FAQs link. Turn your FAQs into Canned Responses for the customers who will contact you via email. Using Canned Responses does not mean you should operate like a robot, picking the right response and never adding a personal touch. Do not forget to personalize this response however with the person’s name and appropriate changes.

·       Use them as an outline:  you can edit Canned Responses before you send them out so if you need to make some additions or subtractions to your email text it is simple.

TIP 1: Give the  text you will need to change  frequently from your boilerplate a background colour. This will make it easier to locate without reading through the entire Canned Response.

TIP 2: Use this for your different email signatures. This is especially helpful for those running many businesses from one email account.

TIP 3:  You can automate canned responses you want to send out based on certain criteria (sender, keyword, label, subject and things like that) with Gmail Filters. We will discuss Gmail Filters in another article.

HOW TO SET UP CANNED RESPONSES

Figure 1 – Click on the gear icon and then click on Settings.

1.    Click the gear icon in your Gmail (top right corner as shown in figure 1).

2.    Click on settings (see figure 1).

3.    Then labs (see figure 2)

Figure 2 – Click on Labs

4.    Find Canned Responses in the list under labs

Figure 3

5.    Enable it (see figure 3).

6.    Save the changes.

CREATE A CANNED RESPONSE

1.    To set up a response, compose an email as you usually would.

Figure 4 – Follow steps 1, 2 and 3

2.    Click on  “more options” (on the lower right corner of the message window. (see figure 4) then “Canned Responses”. Click “New Canned Response”.

3.    After you save a response, you can

·       Insert a saved response,

·       Save or Edit,

·        Delete a previous response.

MODIFY A CANNED RESPONSE

To change a Canned Response:

1.    insert it into the ‘compose’ box

2.    make the necessary edits

3.    select the name of the canned response under “Save” in the “Canned responses” drop-down.

4.    Click ‘OK’ to save over your canned response if you are satisfied with the change

“I have a bunch of canned responses. I find I get a lot of common requests around sponsorship, around speaking engagements, around business development and integrations. I have canned responses because I found I was rewriting emails.” –   Ryan Holmes – CEO, HootSuite

Have you set up you Canned Responses yet? Do you think it can help you be more efficient at customer service? Head over to www.facebook.com/exactmediagh and lets us discuss. Use #BeInspiredGH  on Twitter.  I will be looking forward to your feedback!

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