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Drop in boilerplate answers to common questions

You don't have time to answer the same question a hundred different ways. So get your team together, and draft a standard response.

In the old days, boilers were made out of gigantic sheets of lead, all about the same size, bolted together.  You need boilerplate, to make sure you are giving the same answer to the same problem, over and over...without forgetting a key step, or garbling a key term.

So make up these standard responses, and store them in your customer support database, where each rep can easily grab them, and paste them into the email response.

In this way, once you have written your opening, you can pick the best boilerplate response, and drop that into the e-mail.

Resource:

E-mail responses to customers, chapter from Hot Text, Web Writing that Works (PDF, 995K, or about 18 minutes at 56K)

The boilerplate answer should be a very simple, very plain description of the symptoms, echoing what the customer has said, then a brief analysis of the cause (a diagnosis), followed by a solution, with clear steps to remedy the problem

Just make sure your boilerplate doesn't give you away. If the standard chunk sounds completely unlike your opening, or refers to an illustration "above," your cover will be blown.

Best bet: re-read the material in context and make a few edits, to keep the tone and content relevant.

I'm hoping you get back to me soon, before this bug crawls all over me.

 

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