Why subject lines matter when sending customer service emails

OABPO Blog Team Published on July 25, 2014

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If your business uses email as a customer service channel or as one of your outsourced call center support services, you probably send your customers dozens of emails a day. You surely devote a great deal of time to ensuring that the each message’s body is well-put-together, but are you doing the same to the subject line? If you treat email subjects lightly, you’re making a big mistake.

Your email subject line, being the first thing your customers see in their inbox, is just as crucial as the actual content of your emails. In fact, the efforts you pour into composing a winning customer service email response can be rendered useless if your email subject line sucks.

The importance of email subject lines

Simply put, the subject line you or your email support agents use determines the probability of your emails being opened and how its recipients are going to respond. It gives your customers a hint as to what the email is all about. Hence, if it does not spark their interest, your emails are most likely going to end up in their trash folder.

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Most people who receive several emails daily would just quickly browse through subject lines in their inbox when determining which emails are worth reading. A single misspelled word is enough to send an email to virtual oblivion. Lengthy subject lines with annoying characters and punctuation can make your emails look like spam messages. This can lead to customers blocking you forever or unsubscribing from your email service.

How to get it right

Choosing the best subject line is not just about ensuring that it’s attention-grabbing. There are other rules you need to keep in mind. The words you choose and sense of urgency they send to readers are important considerations too. Every letter, punctuation mark, and letter case in your subject line counts. Keep it short and make sure it specifies the topic of the email in a compelling and focused manner.

A report by MailChimp reveals that emails with subject lines containing the words “urgent” and “important” have significantly higher open rates than normal because they imply sensitivity to time and are therefore more captivating to readers.

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The same report implies that personalization is another way to make your subject lines convincing enough to be clicked on. Mentioning both the first and last name of the recipient can create a positive impact on the person reading the subject line. This is an interesting finding since most industries choose to just use the first name of the recipient when personalizing subject lines.

So, the next time you send a customer service email, reflect on what you like to see in your inbox if you were the recipient. People are constantly flooded with spam every day and are also pressed for time. If your subject lines contain vague teasers, requests for money, or nagging reminders, there’s a high probability your emails will be immediately ignored, deleted, or flagged as spam upon receipt.

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