Posted October 27, 2016
The following contains excerpts from TELUS International’s white paper “The workhorse of the contact center: Optimizing email for the modern customer service environment.” Download the free paper to find out how to make the most of your email support program.
Today’s smartphone is like the modern day Swiss Army Knife. Everything from banking, to picture taking, to online shopping to emailing now happens right in the palm of your hand. In true Swiss Army style, you can even get a case that doubles as a bottle opener.
The greater access to information made possible by mobile devices has changed the relationship between consumer and brand. A study by Northridge Group found that on a global level, at least 20 percent of all customer service interactions are now initiated by consumers on a mobile phone or tablet.
The irony, however, is that many Millennials are averse to using their mobile phone for its primary purpose – to make and receive phone calls – instead opting for communicating via text, chat or email. Companies looking to appeal to this lucrative demographic need to be at the top of their game when it comes to mobile accessibility. After all, the same study by Northridge Group found that 81 percent of consumers aged 18 to 34 say they have a more favorable view of companies whose service is mobile-friendly.
The changing nature of mobile email
Email is still the only form of communication people can access on every type of device (PC, smartphone, and tablet), and with a mobile device almost always within arms reach, a strong email support program is a critical component to delivering an exceptional customer experience.
“Email has become the minimum expectation customers have for support,” says Marcie Murray, Director of Customer Support for Shopify. “Our world craves instant acknowledgement, and there isn’t a perfect recipe to understand when a customer is willing to wait,” she says.
As Murray points out, customers expect an instantaneous response, and this desire for a speedy resolution is often reflected in how they communicate. Service teams need to keep in mind that, in today’s mobile world, the lines between emailing, chatting and social media usage are becoming blurred. Rather than typing a lengthy response on a keyboard, consumers now send rapid-fire “chat-style” emails and in many instances expect a correspondingly quick email response in return.
Five tips for effective mobile email support
As consumers continually adopt smartphone and tablet devices, email appearance on these different screens has become a crucial part of the customer journey. A poor user experience when viewing support emails will likely hurt brand reputation and customer loyalty. According to e-marketing firm Constant Contact, organizations that provide effective email support through mobile devices should focus on the following areas:
1. Responsiveness – Any support emails should be tested for responsiveness across all devices and screen sizes. Utilize tools like Litmus, a web-based email testing and analytics platform, to validate all support email templates.
2. Column formatting – When designing support email templates, a single-column design is best for mobile viewing. Single-column ensures emails are easy to read and scroll through on mobile devices.
3. Image size – Too many images or large file sizes will clutter the mobile experience and increase download times. Support email templates should contain three images at most, with header images of no more than 600 pixels, and content images of no more than 220.
4. Text and font – Font and text size should be easy to read on any smartphone or tablet. Headlines should be 22pt font, and 12pt for body content. Fonts should be one of the pre-installed, web-safe varieties (Arial, Veranda, etc.), with no more than two different fonts per email.
5. Link formatting – Keep in mind that any links embedded in an email will have to be tapped by the customer’s finger. Avoid “stacking” links on top of one another so users don’t inadvertently click the wrong link. If multiple links are required, make sure the most important or relevant one is placed first in the email.