Your Guide to Service Emails and Why They’re Important

What is a service email?

Service emails are those emails that contribute to a service process, such as order confirmations, delivery information, feedback requests, flight updates, ticket attachments, etc.

They are there to improve customer service and to keep your customers informed and happy. Of course, this means they are not marketing emails, and definitely not an opportunity to evade our old friend: GDPR. More on that below.

Who can you send service emails to?

Paying customers that will benefit from receiving the email, as this means you’re fulfilling a customer contract and therefore within GDPR rulings. For more info on GDPR in practice, be sure to read last week’s blog post by clicking here.

So, if a customer hasn’t made a purchase recently, you can’t send a service email. Simple as that.

Should you be using service emails in your ecommerce business?

You probably already do, but if you don’t, then yes! Service emails are such an important part of the customer service process because ordering online is very different to an in-store transaction where, as we know from the self-checkouts, you don’t need to communicate with anyone.

When ordering online, there are so many other variables and a lot less certainty because you can’t have what you’ve ordered instantly, so customers like to be kept up to date with the process: knowing when the order has gone through, when it has been shipped, when to expect the delivery time, and any other relevant updates.

Automation and Personalisation

It probably wouldn’t be feasible for your ecommerce business to personally type out each and every service email to customers – there isn’t enough time in the day – which is why having an automated system is a great idea. Now, when your emails are automated, it’s possible for you to lose the tone of voice of your business, as well as that personal touch, so you need to take care to avoid this from happening.

We recommend that service emails include personalisation, and there are a number of automation platforms that you can use to do this. It is also a great idea to ensure that you test each email to determine the copy that is the most effective and true to your brand. The reason for this attention to detail is so that you can ensure your customers’ entire shopping experience with you is seamless, making them a lot more likely to come back. 

How to use service emails to your advantage:

Whilst you can’t use service emails to market unrelated products or services, there are a lot of opportunities for you to tweak them to get the best possible outcome for your business… as long as any emails you send are relevant to a recent purchase your customer has made, of course.

Here are some reasons why service emails are important, and some things to consider if you are going to make any changes to the ones you send out:

Customer Service

Customers that have a good shopping experience are much more likely to come back and shop again, because according to Context Smith, it’s 9x more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one, so it’s important to build and nurture the relationship with your existing customers. 

Service emails are your way of maintaining a good customer service with your online customers because online, your customers have a lot less interaction with your brand so things feel less personal. However, you can use your service emails to relay the necessary information but with a helpful and friendly touch. You can do this by using an email software that allows for specific fields to be personalised, not being too corporate and dull, and by having all the relevant information easily visible, etc. Whatever works for you and your business.

Getting Reviews

You will have probably seen a couple of ‘how did we do?’-type emails in your inbox before. These customer feedback emails usually arrive a couple of weeks after you made your order with that business, depending on the type of product you purchased.

Including emails like this in your service email plan is a great way to secure some reviews for your website which, as we know, is always a good thing for future sales, but also a great way to get some general feedback from your customers so that you can be constantly improving your website and general shopping experience.


Upselling is essentially marketing, so if you’re emailing customers, you should only send these if they have opted-in and they have given you their consent to process their data. If you’re emailing a business, however, this comes under legitimate interest and you can send these out ‘til your heart’s content. Read last week’s blog to be clear on legitimate interest.

So, if you are within the GDPR rulings… service emails are a great place to use some upselling techniques, such as recommending similar products, or products that would complement the original purchase nicely, such as screen cleaner if they’ve bought a new laptop or monitor, or a set of coasters to match the place mats, etc.

A parting piece of advice:

If you choose to implement some changes to your service emails, be sure to review them regularly and always test them first (even if it’s just to check your formatting: a clumsy-looking email will not instil confidence into your customers!).