For maximum effect, your customer service support should be available on all channels, with e-mail management a key part of that. However, you and your representatives can use a little creativity when responding to messages. Just because a complaint first surfaced in an email doesn't mean that has to be how you answer it . Your customers might respond with more enthusiasm if you follow-up with a call rather than another message, depending on which is most convenient and necessary to the situation.
This kind of strategy seems to have pleasantly surprised a woman who emailed her complaint to clothing retailer J. Crew. In a piece in Forbes, Mickey DeRose describes how his wife Elizabeth was frustrated with the line of clothes offered by the brand and vented her displeasure in a message.
But unlike what the authors of most emails along these lines expect, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler personally took action, directing Elizabeth to a number she could call to reach him directly. DeRose notes that this is remarkable not just because of Drexler's status in his company but due to his long history in the industry. This prompted both phone and e-mail messages from the company geared at figuring out exactly what disappointed Elizabeth the most.
While your company CEO might not be able to call everyone themselves, your trained answering service representatives can make a person feel just as respected by calling in response to written messages. This not only works as an expression of customer sympathy, it also shows the consumer that your services are integrated and function as a team.