Jessica Dahlberg
September 23, 2022
4 min read

Without any customers, you don’t have much of a business. They are essential to success, and the source of revenue that fuels growth and profitability. Therefore, taking care of them is critical – and in which delivering excellent customer service is a key factor in creating loyal and satisfied customers. However, many companies fall short in this area and according to SuperOffice’s annual customer service study it’s found that 62% of companies don’t respond to customer emails. And for those that do respond, the average first response time (FRT) is 12 hours.

Today’s customers value fast and instant responses, with 90% considering it crucial or very important when they interact with customer service. In fact, 60% of customers are willing to pay an extra amount for a better customer service experience. However, only 8% of customers believe that they actually receive excellent service when, paradoxically, 80% of companies actually believe that they do deliver superior service. This disparity is showcasing the importance of companies taking concerted action to better meet customer needs and avoiding overestimating their own service quality.

To deliver exceptional service and create happy customers, one first step should be to focus on speed. Why? Because customers demand it. For example, the CMO council found that the most important attribute of good customer service is a fast response time. Emails provide an opportunity for instant and cost-free communication. But, it can quickly become overwhelming when you have to process hundreds of emails everyday. In fact, the average business user spends 4.1 hours a day managing over 600 emails per week. This does not only distract from other tasks, but also leads to lost productivity. As a matter of fact, businesses lose around an estimated 20.5 billion USD per year due to spam and email overload.

Therefore, establishing clear communication rules and streamlining email management processes is crucial to reduce distractions and increase productivity, especially in today's remote work environment. One strategy is to start writing emails more quickly, which leads to faster response times and helps delivering excellent customer service. By taking concrete steps to improve email communication, businesses can better meet customer’s needs and achieve greater overall success.

So, how do you manage drowning in a sea of never-ending emails every day in order to be productive? We’ve got you covered with 5 essential steps to help you conquer your email inbox and stay on top of your customer service game. Say goodbye to email overland and hello to increased productivity. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Overcome the “instant edit syndrome”

One of the most common reasons why we are slow at writing emails is because we overthink them and edit our writing as we go along in fear of being misunderstood. When communicating through text, you are not able to detect signs of body language, hand gestures, speech style variations or facial expressions that otherwise help us deliver a message we think is appropriate in the situation with whom we are communicating with. Instead, as soon as we’ve written a sentence or phrase, we see a problem with it and either delete it or start frantically fiddling with it to make it “perfect”. This pattern that both slows us down and leads to frustration can be called the “instant edit syndrome”.

What’s actually happening is that we are trying to perform two incompatible tasks serially, namely being both the creator and the critic. This is self-defeating, because the roles are in opposition to each other and it makes us unproductive. One way to overcome this is to start separating the roles. Start by acting in the creator role and writing down your thoughts in the order they “arrive in your mind”. Resist the urge to start editing or deleting as you go along, and instead only use the ‘Enter’ key to separate your ideas.

Once you’re finished with the creation process, you can switch to the critical role and are allowed to use the ‘Delete’ and ‘Backspace’ keys. Focus on reviewing your email as a whole – look for missing information, areas of improvement, the overall flow and the structure of your message. Only when you have completed the second step, can you switch back to the creator role and add any necessary changes. By separating these two roles, you can write emails more quickly and efficiently, without getting bogged down in self-doubt and overthinking.

Step 2: Keep the right information at the right place

Most often a customer service email will contain questions regarding your company, and it can be overwhelming to find and keep track of the right answers quickly. Most often, information is spread over different sources such as multiple databases, internal systems, web pages, chats, FAQs, documents, and more – so to find that specific financial report or detailed guide can be very time consuming. However, there are a few simple ways to make this process much more manageable.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask a colleague if you don’t know the answer to a question. The chance that someone else in your organization has the information you need is very high. You probably already think of someone you know do when reading an information-demanding email from a customer.

Secondly, use the ‘Search’ function in your email inbox. If you, for example, work in a customer success department, you most likely have answered similar questions before. By simply searching for the question or keyword that you have received from a customer in your inbox, similar emails and answers will be presented to you.

Lastly, consider keeping all relevant company information you need when communicating with customers or others in one place. Whether you use Notion, HubSpot, or other CRM/CS tools, having a centralized place for all customer and company data can save you a lot of time and headache. This can be particularly useful when dealing with challenges such as scalability limits, data security, increased data volumes and intricacy which can hinder quickly accessing data.

A pile of organized documents

Step 3: Use templates and shortcuts for repeating topics

With the countless number of emails that one has to send and receive everyday, it can become very tedious and reiterative. If a major part of your communication with customers is repetitive emails, it would be very natural for you to strive to optimize that part of your work. If you're tired of composing the same emails over and over again, you can skip replying to those that contain the same information and questions that you receive more than once every week by creating and using templates.

Email templates

Templates are pre-written emails that can be used for specific purposes, such as handling a return, sending an invoice, booking a meeting or sending a follow-up email after a client meeting or purchase. They are a great alternative to writing emails from scratch or copying and pasting content from old ones to new ones. You’re going to notice how much time you will save, and sharing them with others in your team will unify all of your communication.

To create templates in Gmail, you need to enable the templates feature in your Gmail settings by firstly clicking on the ‘Settings’ button represented by a gear icon beside your profile icon, and then pressing the first alternative ‘See all settings’. When you have chosen ‘See all settings’, you press on the ‘Advanced’ tab and enable the ‘Templates’ feature by clicking on ‘Enable’. Afterward, press the ‘Compose’ button to start a new draft and start typing your email template. When you’re done, click on the three dots in the lower menu and hover to the option ‘Template’ and next on ‘Save draft as template’. Choose ‘Save as new template’ and enter the name of your template, then hit ‘Save’.

See the video below for a demonstration of how to turn on the ‘Templates’ feature in Gmail:

Now, you can use this template when composing emails, and you’ll always be able to make changes before sending it. If you’re having trouble with knowing how to write your templates, you can find thousands of templates online – as well as shortcuts.

Email keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts is another way to optimize email communication and are described as keys (e.g. ‘Shift’) or a series of keys (e.g. ‘Shift’ + ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Cmd’) that completes an action you typically would have performed with your mouse. Gmail has its own collection of shortcuts explicitly designed for efficient emailing, and by using them you can navigate through your inbox much faster and perform everyday formatting tasks whilst keeping your “flow”.

To turn on keyboard shortcuts, you first must click on the ‘Settings’ icon and ‘See all settings’. Remain on the ‘General’ tab and scroll down to ‘Keyboard shortcuts’, then press ‘Keyboard shortcuts on’. Don’t forget to save your changes. 

Now, you can access all of the shortcuts shown below:

Compose a new email: Ctrl + N

Archive an email: Ctrl + D

Send an email: Ctrl + Enter

Save a draft: Ctrl + S

Refresh your inbox: Ctrl + U

Open selected conversation: Right arrow

Expand or collapse an email in a conversation: Enter

Cut, copy, or paste: Ctrl + X, Ctrl + X, or Ctrl + V

Select all: Ctrl + A

Open the side menu: Ctrl + M

Open settings: Ctrl + ,

Open Help & Feedback: Ctrl + ?

Reply all: Ctrl + R

Mark as read or unread: Ctrl + I

Print: Ctrl + P

For more keyboard shortcuts, visit Google’s Keyboard shortcuts for Gmail.

A person typing on a keyboard

Step 4: Categorize and prioritize

Keeping your inbox organized can be challenging, especially if you work in customer success and receive hundreds of questions, complaints, and inquiries daily. In other email programs, you might store emails in folders. But with Gmail, you have access to powerful organizational tools such as their labeling system to categorize your inbox. Labels are like folders, but with some differences. For example, you can add multiple labels to one single email, making it easier to find later when you want access to it. Also, you can search through your inbox by a label to find all those emails associated with that label.

Email labels

Creating a label in Gmail is very easy. You find the title ‘Labels’ in the left bar when entering your Gmail, and just need to press the ‘+’ icon to enter a new label name. And if you want, you can choose to nest that label under another label in the same go. Once you’ve created a label, you can start applying it to all of your emails.

To label messages in your inbox, you first need to select the message you want to label. Then, click on the ‘Labels’ button at the top of the screen and choose the one you want to apply (or create a new one). The email will now be associated with that label.

To keep your email fully organized, you can follow some tips for using labels effectively:

  1. Track the status of tasks
    Create labels for each person in your team and use them to keep track of the progress of their different tasks. For example, you can create a label called ‘Sarah – In Progress’ and another called ‘Sarah – Done’ to keep track of what your team member has done and hasn’t had the time or opportunity to do.
  2. Nest labels like subfolders
    You can create nested labels to organize your email like subfolders. For example, following the example above, you can create a “parent” folder called ‘Team Tasks’ and then create the nested labels for each person in your team.
  3. Identify emails that needs a follow-up
    Create a label ‘Follow-up’ and apply it to those emails that require some kind of action made.
  4. Identify emails that can be read later
    Create a label ‘Read later’ and apply it to those emails that you don’t have the time or opportunity to read immediately.

Step 5: Calculate your average first response time (FRT) and average reply time (ART)

As previously mentioned, speed matters. And one key metric to track your speed is your average first response time (FRT) and average reply time (ART). Your FRT is simply the average amount of time it takes between the moment a customer contacts you and the moment you answer them. To calculate this, you plainly take the total amount of time it has taken you to respond to an amount of emails during a specific time period, divided by the total number of replies sent during that same time period. Unlike FRT, the ART measures any time a customer has to wait for a reply.

For example, if your customers have contacted you via email, a good average FRT maybe would be within 24 hours. But if you’re handling social media inquiries, the aim could be an average FRT of under 60 minutes. And for phone calls, it could be around 3 minutes. These measurements should of course be adapted according to one’s business and customers. Perhaps if you have more “exclusive” customers who pay more, they expect excellent service which means very fast average response times.

Why is tracking your FRT important? Well, it helps you identify those areas where you have to improve your customer service and which ones to prioritize first. If your FRT is too high, you may need to allocate more resources to that specific segment or come up with an efficiency strategy for handling inquiries faster. So to say, take some time to calculate your FRT and track it over time. Set goals and use it as a key metric for measuring the success and effectiveness of your customer service efforts. By focusing on this, you’ll be able to provide a more exceptional experience to your customers. When they feel more valued and supported you can build stronger relationships with them, which is essential to business growth.

A calculator laying on a piece of paper

Step 6: Use auto-generated replies

Maybe the best tip for improving your email management is to not write the email at all. When it comes to providing excellent customer service, speed is often seen as the key. However, it’s also essential to remember that the value provided with personalized replies is just as crucial to your customers as a quick response time. According to SuperOffice, customers cite “rude and rushed” service as their top reason for abandoning a brand, even over “slow service” and “price”. Also, customers are happy to pay more for personalization. And according to McKinsey, companies that personalize their services grow 40% faster than those that don’t.

So how can you balance speed and personalization in your customer service interactions? One way is to take advantage of your already existing company data and combine it with auto-generating tools that can create highly customized email replies. Tools like Hypertype can be very time-saving where one doesn’t have to craft complex email replies by themselves, but instead quickly can generate responses tailored to the specific inquiry. By analyzing internal business documents and other information, the answers become very customized and relevant to the recipient.

Not only does this help with speed and personalization, but also with consistency. All email replies become very consistent and of similar quality which can help maintain a professional image for the company. In addition to this, the information in the responses most often is very accurate, and in combination with the streamline of the whole email process – employees are allowed to focus on other tasks which helps increase overall efficiency in the workplace.

An auto-generating email response tool like Hypertype can be very valuable for businesses looking to save time, improve their customer service, and in the end increase the overall business profitability. If you’re interested in learning more about auto-generated emails, don’t hesitate to contact Hypertype at!

What is Hypertype?

Hypertype is an AI-powered email tool that analyzes and processes internal company data, FAQs, your email inbox, and other information to create specific responses to complex email inquiries in just a few seconds that otherwise would take a lot of time and effort to respond to.

The email replies generated are customizable to suit your desired tone, whether it be more casual and humoristic or more formal and professional. Its advanced natural language processing capabilities and integration of OpenAI’s API allows it to understand the context of your email inquiry and provide personalized and relevant responses that cater to your customer’s needs.

The extension is incredibly user-friendly and easily integrated with your existing Gmail platform. Its affordability also makes it accessible to businesses or individuals of all sizes, ensuring that you can enjoy the benefits of smarter and faster emails without breaking the bank.

Try Hypertype for free here and experience the future of AI-powered email communication!