Back in the days when live chat was called Instant Messaging and email was about the only form of online communication, every email signature was unique. Your signature is just that, a special sign of personality and identity to show the world with every outbound email. There were professional signatures, edgy signatures, image signatures, and some very creative ascii art signatures that became popular during the 90s and 00s. However, in the last decade and a half, things have changed significantly for business email signatures.
Businesses today are taking control of their employees' email signatures. Email signature management today includes everything from enforcing brand consistency to boosting website traffic to driving new sales. These days, teenagers and personal email addresses still have the unique art and snarky quotes of the past, but business email must do better. It typically includes some nicely organized set of contact information and branding to make it clear to clients and business partners who they are talking to and how to interact with the email. This leads us to the subject of customer service.
Brand image and etiquette matter across the company, and this is especially true when it comes to your customer service team. While your promotional campaigns, web design, and product packaging may have a large impact on bringing in new customers, your service team is there to help when something goes (or could go) wrong and make sure those customers are happy. Here is the last place you want your brand image to be murky or for any information to be confusing.
Confusion makes customers grumpy, and customers who already have a problem need extra special care. You want to be as clear and careful with them as possible, and your email signature is a big part of this. Customer service and the customers they serve trade emails constantly to solve problems, resolve issues, and answer questions -- and each outgoing email comes with a company signature. In many cases, customers returning to their ticket may rely on these signatures to get back in contact with customer service or to reach out on another issue. This means that the content and uniformity of your customer service signatures matter a great deal.
The first and most important function of a customer service email signature is to provide contact information. You may have multiple customer service channels depending on an issue, or alternate forms of contact if your customer would prefer to work in a medium other than email. However, because email often is the default communication channel for almost all business communications (i.e., even live-chat or phone service often ends in a polite email about a customer's ticket), the signature is vitally important. Customers will see it and they will expect that same information to be there for them with every other email they receive from your customer service team.
Another important issue to consider is the fact that customers will not be able to deal with the same service associate every single time they have an issue or question. Individual email signatures may be fine if well-crafted and the same associate works with customers when they return, but neither of these things can be guaranteed. When you allow customer service associates to build their own email signatures, it becomes jarringly obvious when a customer finds themselves dealing with someone new on the same ticket.
However, when all of your customer service associates have consistent signatures, this difference is not nearly so obvious or worrying to your customers. They will, in fact, learn to expect that same visual appearance of the email signature with every new customer service email.
The final consideration for unifying your customer service email signatures is the fact that your automated service emails need to appear almost identical in form to the ones sent by your live human associates. No doubt, you send a number of automated customer service emails in response to ticket updates or customer alerts, and the email signatures of the sender accounts will, of course, all match because they were made through automation. But the contrast between individual employee signatures and uniform bot-signatures will highlight to customers when they are not dealing with a human and cause some to mistakenly feel they are being pushed aside.
Uniform email signatures is not something that is just convenient for your customers, it is necessary. When they see that familiar well-designed company signature, they feel that everything is organized, under control, and that service is likely to be good. To this end, make sure your customer service team members are all using the same email signature design with up-to-date, accurate, and helpful information.
Want to learn more about how to make sure your email signatures are working for you? Let's chat.