How to write ‘Warning’ Emails to Customers

Let’s say you want to write an email to your customers warning them that unless they take specific action, their account will be closed. Where do you start?

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I ask this as I got an email today telling me this but the way it was phrased made me wonder:

  • was this a scam
  • did I need to do something and if so what
  • why were they telling me this now?

Let’s back up a second.

Contacting dormant customers

There are different reasons why customer accounts go dormant. Think about it.

  • Maybe you changed email – so emails go to the wrong undeliverable accounts.
  • Maybe you decided you didn’t need the service any more.
  • Maybe you filtered the emails by accident into a folder that you never read. I’ve been guilty of that more than once.

So, from the customer’s point of view, you’ve become a distant, fuzzy service they once knew.

Then when you send them an email out of the blue, they’re not sure who you are. And if it looks suspicious, there first reaction will be to hit the Delete button.

How can we avoid this?

Stay in touch. Even if it’s every three or six months, drop them a line.

Share something useful. That is useful to the customer, not you. Doing this will make you that bit more memorable.

Be consistent with your naming, branding, and delivery. In other words, if your emails are always from John, then don’t change in mid-stream and suddenly have Something Corp in the sender line. They’ll assume it’s a new company.

The next step is writing the actual reminder or warning email. Here’s a suggested approach.

  • Focus on the Subject Line. State what the customer must do. Don’t be evasive. For example: Please update your account details before End of Month.
  • Avoid the ‘Dear Customer’ intro. It looks corny and insincere. Get to the point.
  • State WHY you are sending this email. For compliance reasons, we are closing accounts which has not be logged in to for 12 months.
  • State WHAT they must do. If you want your account to remain active, simply log in. That’s all. You don’t need to top up your account, just login so your account stays active.
  • State When. Don’t let them kick this into touch. Encourage them to prioritize this but don’t be too pushy.
  • State Where. Include ONE link. This is where they should go to update their account. Don’t muddy the waters with several emails in the body of the email.
  • Never attach a file. This will more than likely send your email to the Spam folder. If not, customers will delete it immediately.
  • Be specific. This email says that your account MAY be deleted. I’m not sure what the criteria are here but it sounds like they’re afraid to say WILL be deleted. Of course, there may be exceptions so May is used instead of Will. In either case, be upfront with your customers. They’ll appreciate it.

Finally, avoid links to Facebook and Twitter. This is not the time. Stay focussed. You want them to re-activate their accounts, not like your Facebook page.

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