Stop Saying “Dear Valued Customer” – Say This Instead

Green envelope and dear valued customer letter

The greeting “Dear Customer” is widespread within customer service. But is there a better way to say this?

When Is “Dear Customer” Used?

Dear Customer is typically used in business communications. Many businesses prefer using it to the Dear Sir/Madam that can sound a little formal.

Here are some of the variants (or synonyms) that we have seen in use:

  • Dear Customer
  • Dear Sir
  • Dear Sir/Madam
  • Dear Valued Client
  • Dear Esteemed Customer
  • Dear Beloved Customer
  • Dear Lovely Customer
  • To all our Valued Customers

So, Which One Should You Use? None of Them!

Why? Although it might be tempting to update the phrase “Dear Valued Customer” with alternative words for valued, and there are lots of synonyms for valued – including appreciated, loved and, respected – it’s far better to take a different approach, as our readers explain below.

1. Use the Customer’s Name

If you are writing to a customer (for example in a letter or an email), you should already know the customer’s name. Simply use this.

Use the customer’s name

“Dear Jonty Pearce” shows you care better than “Dear Valued Customer”

“Just use their name. If they’re a customer, the content should show that they’re valued, for example by being relevant and meaningful to them and their business,” says Mimosa Griffiths at Vonage.

2. Be Careful of Mail Merge

But be very careful if you are using a mail merge.

There is nothing worse than seeing one of the following examples that have passed my desk.

  • Dear [Customer Name]
  • Dear {Customer Name}
  • Dear [Insert Customer Name]
  • Dear %% First Name %%
  • Dear [Insert Client Name]
  • Dear [name]
  • Dear [Insert name of customer here]

The key here is to double-check all communication before it leaves the building and if you are using an automated system to have a suitable fallback system if there is no name.

3. If You Don’t Know the Name, Use “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon”

“Often there are scenarios when you will not know the customer’s name, particularly if this is a prospective customer not an existing one. E.g. if a potential ‘customer’ is getting in touch to ask about a new order’ you will not know their name at that stage,” says Alex Mead.

In this case, Good Morning or Good Afternoon can be used.

If you don’t know the name, Good Morning or Good Afternoon works well.

“If you don’t know the name, then Good Morning/ Good Afternoon from [Contact Centre Team Name]/[Business Name] if it is in writing. If it is a call-in, then it’s easier as the agent can chat to them, build the rapport and collect the info,” says Mimosa Griffiths at Vonage.

4. Never Use “Dear Valued Customer” in the IVR

“We just had that very debate last week. We decided that it’s not a sensible approach as too often customers may be getting in touch because they do not feel ‘valued’, whether that be fair or not.

“Also, many callers into IVR queues will be unauthenticated so using their name is not possible then either.

“So, if a customer (or prospect) calls us, then our IVR will never say ‘Dear Valued Customer’ or even ‘Dear Customer’. We will instead just share some high-level IVR options…

“And if a customer has written to us, then we know who they are and will reply with their name.”

Contributed by: Alex Mead

5. If You Value Your Customer, Answer Calls Quickly

“Last week I waited for 45 mins on an international call to speak with a major Scottish Bank, not feeling that my call was important at all. The more they told me how important it was, the less important it felt.”

Contributed by: Tom, one of our readers

6. Use Mr/ Mrs/ First Name

Should we call customers by name? Should we call our customers Sir, or Madam? Should it be Mr or Mrs? Or should we be on first-name terms?

We have written a useful article that explores how we should address callers: Should We Call Customers by Name?

7. Speak in the Same Language as Your Customer

Do you want to speak in the same language as the customer? Use filtering!

Contact centre advisors are often in situations where they just don’t feel that the customer is on the same wavelength as them.

Perhaps the advisor has done their best to build rapport with the customer, but their efforts just don’t seem to be appreciated.

The key here is filtering, which highly skilled advisors can use to build rapport.

The Best Contact Centre Greetings

What makes the best customer service greeting phrases for your contact centre scripts?

We surveyed over 80 of our readers to find out which examples of opening spiel work best. To find out the results, read our article: The Best Customer Service Greeting Phrases – with Examples

For more practical advice on customer service correspondence and greetings, read these articles next:

Author: Jonty Pearce
Reviewed by: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 24th May 2022 - Last modified: 28th Feb 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , ,

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