How personal should your shipment notification email be?

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Most small business ecommerce merchants send automated emails to their customers to notify when an order ships. How personal should you make those emails? Here is an example. (via 37Signals)

Shipment Email from SFBags.com

Shipment Email from SFBags.com

Do customers like such personal language in the notification email? The opinion seems to be mixed according to the people who commented on the blog post. Some of the commenters do not like the idea of making these emails “fake real”. One of them says, “I often find myself more pissed off when one attempts to be real, but is in fact obviously automated.”

So what do I think about this? Sending a shipment notification email is a very important step in the order fulfillment process. Once a customer places an order, they want to be up to date on the status of the order. The language in the email itself does not matter very much. What matters is the quality of the merchant’s customer service. If the customer service sucks, then no amount of sugary language in the email is going to help. One of the users in that comment thread points this out. “Might be automated but I’ve dealt with these guys before. They’re quite responsive – if you email Gary back, expect a prompt response.”

Provide great customer service and your customers will come back.

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