Five Digital Customer Courtesies


Common customer courtesies are behaviors employees demonstrate that affect the customer experience. How customers feel they are being treated, greatly impacts whether they make a purchase and whether they return to make additional purchases. In fact, 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated and being treated poorly is the number one reason customers leave a business.

Most businesses understand the importance of treating customers courteously when they walk through their doors. Acknowledging and greeting customers and a friendly, helpful attitude lets a customer know you care about them. A genuine interest in helping a customer find what they need or solve a problem positively impacts a customer’s experience and decision to continue to do business with you.

How does a business transfer courteous behaviors to digital interactions such as emails, web forms or text messages? Our company offers a two-way text channel to businesses and we have identified five basic customer courtesies businesses overlook that can positively affect digital interactions.

Timely Acknowledgement

Just as you pick up a phone call within a few rings or greet a customer when they walk in the door, a digital message should be acknowledged promptly and handled as soon as possible. Think about how it feels to walk into a business and no one acknowledges you. The same applies to a digital message. Personally acknowledge a digital message from a customer. Let the customer know that you are handling their message and when they can expect a response.

Use the Customer’s Name in a Warm Greeting

Online interactions have an advantage of coming with some information about the customer. Take advantage of that information to personalize an interaction. One easy way is to use the customer’s name in a warm greeting. I have seen businesses start a digital conversation by asking for an order or customer number.

Please and Thank You

This seems so simple and easy but is often a forgotten courtesy with digital communication. When interacting with customers, include “please” and “thank you.” These are simple words that create a positive feeling for your customers. In working with clients, I’ve seen businesses use the words, “you need to…” and “you must…” in their digital messages, creating friction with customers.

Recognize Emotions                       

Even when you don’t interact with a customer face-to-face, you can pick up on cues about how they feel. Respond in a way that acknowledges those emotions. If the customer is frustrated, acknowledge their frustrations. If the customer is excited, respond with excitement. I was working with a customer service department who received a text from a customer who was very excited about a purchase. The customer service representative responded in a transactional way that didn’t recognize that excitement. The interaction ended the customer’s excitement.

Be Careful of Generalizations

Having some information about online customers makes it easy to assign broad generalizations to them. Generalizations based on geographic location, gender, or order history can lead to unfair generalizations about customers. Keep an open mind about the customer on the other end of the transaction and approach communications in that manner

Common customer courtesies are part of the foundation that builds customer loyalty in both face-to-face and digital interactions.

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