Saw this post on SherpaBlog. With crap that fills one's Inbox these days, it's nice to see that one company is at least trying to make online correspondence more palatable. Some nice tips...
[07/23/02] BEST PRACTICES IN CUSTOMER SERVICE REPLY EMAIL
Just got a note from Clif Bar customer service in response to a
query about their product that I posted using their site form
yesterday. If you are in charge of deciding what your customer
service email should look like, you might want to steal an idea
1. The "From" was a real person's name. In fact it's the name of
the person who signed the letter.
2. The subject line simply read: CLIF BAR INC which is pretty
bare bones, but since they didn't use their brand name in the
"from" line sticking it prominently in the subject line was
mission critical. Also, because it didn't use up all 30
characters or so that I can see of subject lines in my inbox, it
actually really stood out due to brevity. Plus it just looked
honest. So despite the fact that I get so much spam these days I
often enough delete "real" messages by mistake that get caught up
in it, I noticed this one.
3. The letter was in text-only. No HTML.
4. The letter started with a few lines of white space, which
caught my attention because it was, well, odd. Then there was
today's date, then a few more lines of white space and then a
salutation "Dear Anne".... and oh I get it, it's a real letter!
And you know, suddenly it felt very honest and respectful and
pleasant. Especially after spam overload.
5. After giving me some advice about my question (including handy
links) the last paragraph gave me a toll free phone number to
call plus an email address if I had any more questions.
6. And just like a "real letter" it ended with a "Sincerely," and
then a real person's name and title there at Clif.