Anastasiia Khlystova
Jul 31, 2019 | 10 min read

Just to be clear. When we say ‘canned response’ we don’t mean those automatic commonplace emails like ‘We received your request and will get back to you as soon as possible. Your ticket number is 345678.’

This is not a canned response, this is an auto response (and one of the worst, for that matter).

People are prejudiced against pre-saved replies, because they imagine that they are always as robotic and impersonal as the example above. But in reality, nothing can be further from the truth — if you spend the time on a quality draft.

Of course, not everyone spends that time. So there’s your opportunity to be better than the competition.

Canned responses are quick replies to common questions that you can save in your customer service tool and refer to whenever you need. 

Yes, they accelerate your customer service team’s work drastically. But they also can be funny, cute, personal and helpful.

Now, should we talk examples?

Let’s say you work as a live chat operator. Every day, you receive tons of requests from customers, manage 4-5 conversations simultaneously (that’s what live chat operators do) and constantly answer a ton of questions.

But to be honest, a great part of those questions and requests are not that unique. How do I add a credit card to my account? We’ve subscribed by mistake, please give a refund. How long is the shipping?

Questions like that don’t require a lot of personalization. So, you just write some templates and paste them (with minor adjustments) into a chat thread. This way, you’re saving yourself tons of time and effort — and the customer gets a quick answer. Everybody wins.

Now, which canned response you should save right now and use in your live chat conversation all the time?

12 canned response examples

1. We received your message while we were offline

There are people that come to your website with a clear question or problem, and they get to it right away. And then, there are people who simply say ‘Hi!’ and wait for your reply to proceed further. It’s much easier to deal with them if you’re online and can quickly answer with simple ‘Hi! How can I help you?’

But what if you’re offline and missed the message? In HelpCrunch, you can follow up on them via email — and use a canned response for this purpose:

EXAMPLE

Hi {first_name},

You left us a chat message today while we were offline.

Feel free to ask me all your questions via email by answering this message or you can return to our website and proceed via the chat.

I’ll be glad to assist you and I look forward to hearing from you.

2. We’re working on fixing this issue

Customers are the only force that can help you grow and improve. They are the ones using your product or website, seeing its pros and cons, reporting bugs, and requesting important features. So make sure that they know you respect them.

Something as small as acknowledging the problem and giving an estimated time of when you’re going to fix it will make a huge difference. And maybe even stop some customers from churning.

EXAMPLE

We’ve investigated your request and it seems that, indeed, the [ISSUE] exists and the problem is on our end. No worries, our team is already on it.

By a rough estimate, it should be fixed in [ETA], but we will keep you updated on progress anyway.

In a meantime, can I offer you an alternative solution or a small discount?

3. Your issue is fixed

…and it’s an even better idea to inform customers when the issue is fixed.

EXAMPLE

Hi {first_name}

You’ve reported the [ISSUE] some time ago. We’re glad to tell you that it is now fixed. Thank you for notifying us about the problem, we really appreciate it.

And if you have any other questions or suggestions, I’m here to help.

4. The feature you asked about is on our roadmap

Feature requests from customers are probably the most important part of any product development strategy (especially, if your company is customer oriented).

It’s important to be careful with every incoming request. Mark every request in your customer service software and collect all of them into a designated board.

But it’s even more important to keep your users informed about where your company’s moving. A simple canned response like the one below can help make your users feel appreciated:

EXAMPLE

It just so happened that the feature you requested is already on our roadmap and should be added to our toolset no later than [ETA]. 

*optional* You can take a look at the roadmap here: [LINK] or leave any other suggestions about what we should add next here: [LINK TO SOME FEATURE REQUEST BOARD]

If you want us to let you know when it’s delivered, we can totally do that. Just leave us your email address. In the meantime, is there anything else I can do for you?

5. The feature you asked about is here

There are always big features that lots of people ask about. Like, your most requested stuff. Naturally, when you roll out something that big, you make an announcement about it to your whole user base, probably via a newsletter or a blog post.

But don’t rush right into it. How about those who specifically asked about it? It can be a great idea to send them a small heads-up prior to the official statement.

EXAMPLE

Hey {first_name},

We have some great news for you! 

We’re very excited to present our [GREAT FEATURE] which was literally rolled out 10 minutes ago. We haven’t sent any official announcement yet, but since you’ve asked about it, we decided to give you a quick heads-up.

Just go ahead and try it yourself. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us — we want to know what you think and will appreciate any feedback!

6. Unfortunately, the feature you asked about is not on our roadmap

Sometimes, what customers think is an issue is actually a feature. Sometimes, customers ask for something but you can’t do it. Sometimes you just don’t have the time. And the art of refusal can be super tricky.

You can just say ‘no’… But customers won’t be happy. They’d appreciate details, apologies, and, better yet, some alternative solution for what they need.

So discuss a canned response with your team that would hit the mark:

EXAMPLE

I’ve communicated your [FEATURE] to our managers and added it to our board of feature requests. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be taken into work any time soon due to [REASON]. 

But we’d like to offer you something in return. Can you please tell us more about what why you’d need this [FEATURE] and maybe we will work something out. 

7. You’ve mistaken us for someone else

As a customer service tool, we often receive messages that were clearly meant for someone else. 

People click the ‘Powered by HelpCrunch’ link at the bottom of a chat window, get redirected to our website and end up asking us about taxi, laptops and casinos far too often.

This can happen with your support team, too. These aren’t your customers, so no need to waste time — just use a canned response explaining what your company does and move to the next request. Moreover, in HelpCrunch you can clearly see their user path and where they came from, which can help you redirect people to where they actually need to be.

EXAMPLE

It looks like you wrote us by mistake. We are [YOUR COMPANY’S NAME] and we do [WHAT YOU DO]. If you have any questions regarding our services, we’d be happy to help.

I guess you’re looking for [WEBSITE YOU THINK THEY’RE LOOKING FOR]. If you go to their website and drop them a message, I’m sure they’ll be able to assist you.

Have a nice day!

8. Our product is better than the one from a competitor

How are you different from [COMPETITOR X] or [COMPETITOR Y]?

Come to think of it, it’s a natural question. These days, there are lots of very similar products which do pretty much the same. Or so it would seem to someone who doesn’t have the time for a comprehensive research. As similar as they can be, each product offers something unique that other competitors don’t.

Your goal as a customer service representative is to render this difference in one or two sentences. Tell the essence.

EXAMPLE

Actually, we get asked this question quite often. To tell you the truth, our product differs from [COMPETITOR] in many ways, but here’s the most important part — [THE MOST DISTINGUISHING DIFFERENCE].

You can take a look at the full comparison here: [LINK]. Or just sign up for a trial and see everything yourself, it’s free anyway.

It’s also a popular practice to create a few separate pages comparing your product to some popular alternatives so that you could quickly refer people to those pages when they ask about the difference. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration in these landing pages:

9. We don’t offer discounts, but…

Questions about all sorts of discounts are probably the most common for any support team. Just be honest and direct. If you’re not providing discounts, there’s no need to apologize for it.

EXAMPLE

Thanks for contacting us. Unfortunately, we don’t provide any discount except for what you see on our website. 

If you’re afraid you won’t get a good deal on your investment, we can jump on a quick demo call.

I’ll explain to you in detail what you get for your money and you can make an informed decision. What do you think?

10. You will get a refund in [Х] business days

Sometimes, there’s no point in arguing. If someone decides they want to leave, there’s nothing you can do to make them stay. So just be friendly and polite — and give them the refund. 

At least people will leave your product with a positive impression (and without negative reviews of your service all over the internet). And a nice canned response will help you spend that time on customers who are willing to pay:

EXAMPLE

No problem, I’ve got that refund headed your way. You should get it within 5-10 business days.

If you have any other questions, please let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Have a great day!

11. We’re experiencing technical issues

What’s the worst that can happen with a service or website? Something so dreadful and stressful that the whole team (and even more so the customer service team) will be left paralyzed.

I’m talking about the most terrifying three digits in the world — 404. When the service is down and things are going to pieces, people will immediately notice and start bombarding your customer service with questions. 

It happens to the best of us. And when it does, being quick with explanations is especially important. That’s why it’s better to have a canned response saved in store. Hope that you’ll never have to use it (but you will):

EXAMPLE

Unfortunately, we do experience technical issues at the moment (and you can be sure it’s painful for us as much as it is for you). Our team is already on it and the service should be up and running in [ETA].

We’ll let you know as soon as we’re back. Sorry for the inconvenience.

12. How did you like the service?

Sometimes, the issues are reported and fixed. The questions are answered. What is left to do but to evaluate the whole thing? Let’s measure your customer satisfaction rate!

There are tools like HelpCrunch that do this automatically. Just turn on the ‘chat rating’ feature and customers will be asked to rate their chat experience with three emojis — poor, average, or great.

Customer service KPIs

You can also take the whole evaluation game a little bit further if you see that things are going great and a customer is happy as a lark with your customer service. Why not ask for more feedback or a couple of reviews?

EXAMPLE

Happy I could help!

Btw, do you mind leaving a quick review of your experience? This will take no more than 5 minutes of your time, promise: [LINK TO A REVIEW WEBSITE]

Your feedback would mean a world to us!

How to use canned responses

In HelpCrunch customer communication tool, there are two ways to preserve your message as a canned response.

1. You can save any chat message you’ve already sent to a customer right from the agent chat without interrupting the conversation.

2. You can also pre-save any number of responses in the HelpCrunch Settings. Go to Settings -> Team -> Saved Responses and click the ‘Add new’ button.

Each canned response in HelpCrunch can be made more personal by adding user attributes like {First_name}. Don’t forget to assign corresponding tags to each canned response so that it’d be easier to find them when talking to a customer. 

Now, when you talk to a customers, just type # and choose the canned response you need from the menu that will appear.

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Bottom line

Canned responses can save you a lot of time — if you learn to use them right. 

Just don’t make them sound generic or robotic. A bad canned response will instantly kill any rapport that you had with your customers. Pre-saved answers can and should be every bit as cute and thoughtful as replies that you write by hand.

But that’s not all.

The whole reason of using canned responses is to save time. It can be super annoying to discover that your tool of choice sucks at helping you access your stored replies. So here’s a solution: sign up for a free HelpCrunch trial right now, save those canned responses to your dashboard and start doing your job faster.

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