How not to sound like a robot in your email notifications

How to not sound like a robot in your email notifications

Written by on February 28, 2014

Automated email notifications are the bane of my life.

I understand they’re necessary, but I have difficulty seeing reason when they’re clogging up my inbox, presenting me with emails that I get nothing out of. I know there’s no way anyone has the time or the energy to pen out quirky, heartfelt, meaningful emails to the tens and thousands of users that they have, just to let them know that their password has been reset. But that doesn’t mean you should just give in and let the blandness go on.

Your notifications don’t have to be just notifications. They can be another opportunity to charm your customers and to keep them hooked. So, how do you personalize your notifications?

1) Make meaning.

Even if it’s just a notification, it’s not okay for your subject line to read “Notification: The Event that you knew was going to occur has occurred.” or for your email to be bland and boring. Whether it’s crazy subject lines or dynamic content using placeholders, don’t stop until you have an email that you wouldn’t mind inscribing on your gravestone.

And the most important thing of them all: make meaning. Take Buffer for example. Every time your Buffer runs out, they send you an email about it.

How to not sound like a robot in email notification: Buffer's email notification.

They could have stopped with just a simple “Your Buffer’s run out of posts. Top it out!” but they go the extra mile and give you some suggestions on what to Buffer next.

2) Take a look at your Sender Address: An email from “No-reply”@applepie.com might as well say, “I don’t care about you”

It’s a two-way street between you and your customers. If you want to start conversations with your customers and bond with them, you have no chance of doing so as long as you hang onto that “no-reply” email address. We understand that it’s an automated email and that you’re going to be buried under an avalanche of “out-of-office” emails if you unblock the “no-reply” option but no customer will ever understand it.

The solution? We suggest you hook yourself up with a ticketing system and set rules to filter out the automated replies from the real replies. This way, your customers know that you’re really listening and not hearing and you don’t have to wake up to an inbox full of “Out-of-Office” emails.

3) Your customers don’t need to know every itty bitty detail.

While you might think otherwise, making sure your customers are in the loop is not the same as sending them a notification for every single event in your process – if we’re talking support, your customers really don’t need to know when you open their email, when you assign it a priority, what status you give it, when you start working on it and so on and so forth. Not only do they not care about most of these events but you’re clogging up their inbox as well! This is not what they signed up for. Choose which notifications you send out, and when you send them out. And choose wisely.

4) If you can manage it, a “Je t’aime” will win over your French customers better than a plain ol’ “I love you”.

When you have a customer base that’s spread all over the world, the best way to win brownie points is to make sure that all of your email notifications are in the language they love best: their own! Sure, you need to do some extensive groundwork with respect to translation and rig up a system that sends out notifications based on the requestor’s geographical location but it all pays off. We swear.

5) Shake things up every now and then; write some notifications yourself.

Make the user experience a little bit more special, every now and then, by typing out some notifications yourself. It might be something as small as a “P.S” at the end of an email or just a friendly “Hi there!” but it’s the thought that counts.

How to not sound like a robot in your email notifications: Quibb

For a long time, we were under the impression that Quibb’s Welcome email(we’re, of course, referring to Sandi McPherson’s email) was automated – not because it sounded robotic but because the sheer idea of her typing it out personally to every member sounded overwhelming – but we were pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re personally sent out to random members. I got a notification, but my colleague didn’t. Now, if that isn’t charming and loyalty-inducing, I don’t know what is.

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  • Helen Cussler

    Thank you, Aishwarya. That’s really refreshing. It’s good that you’ve reminded me about the human and personal nature of customer service.

    • Aishwarya Hariharan

      I’m glad I could help, Helen 🙂

  • Gread article. Thanks.

  • Marzon – ConversionRateBooster

    awesome!

  • I’ve been really impressed with Buffer’s support. They really put customers first and don’t seem to get in the way of their employees making them happy.

  • Excellent points, Aishwarya. When the norm becomes customer-service-by-algorithm, companies that go the extra mile to show a human voice will get noticed and appreciated.

  • You are so right. These are the little things that make such a difference to prospective customers. You can communicate charm, humour and professionalism in one go.