We’ve all come across people that appear to be completely unreasonable and complain about the slightest little thing, the sky is blue, the day has a Y in it, you name it and they’d complain. Their claims could be completely false.
What a liberty!
I once had an email where someone accused me of being a scammer and I felt angry and upset that someone should say this about me, I mean how dare they? Did they know me? Did they spend hours creating a guide to help others and just because my screenshots were too neat and tidy, they accuse me of scamming.
Ouch. I learnt a harsh lesson from the accusation – to make a bit of mess in my screenshots, that perfection makes people feel uncomfortable. But to send someone hate mail? Anyway, I have wandered, time to get back on track.
On the other hand it could be a legitimate complaint and you might have made a genuine mistake and simply not noticed it.
So how do you go about dealing with angry emails and customers?
In situations like this it is all too easy to fire off a retaliatory email to the customer telling them where to go. That was the first thought that entered my head. This of course will only make the situation worse and can do your reputation a great deal of harm, it’s time to take a deep breath and switch the computer off for a while.
I have been in the situation where the other person responds even angrier to your email and start calling you names and badmouthing your readers. When this happened with one company (We had rejected their advertising application) on Birds on the Blog, I published their nastiness. When you google their name, we are in the number two slot. There must be other people who think like I do, so if you fire back an angry response, be prepared for it to go public. Trust me when I say no one ever publishes the nice emails that are sent.
Wait a few hours before you reply to give yourself time to calm down, think about the situation, and work out what you are going to say. When you do reply, stay calm and keep the email courteous. Remember, it’s online and it’s harder to read emotions and intent.
As hard as it might be, thank the customer for contacting you with their concerns and try to address what they have said. If you can, provide facts or reasons to back up what you are saying. No matter how snotty the original email might have been, it is important to stay polite at all times. It helps to reward yourself with jelly beans as you type your responses. One for every time you didn’t swear or burst into tears.
Your reply will obviously depend on the nature of the complaint. Ask some questions to try to establish the problem they have and show genuine concern that they feel this way.
If there is something you can ‘fix’ (and believe you should) then do it and resolve the situation immediately. Most problems have a solution in one way or another. If the customer has had problems with your product or service, apologise, tell them how you are dealing with, and consider offering something extra to go with it.
The most important thing when dealing with angry emails is to not get angry yourself – it could be a simple misunderstanding. I know it’s easier said than done, and sometimes people fire off an email and have no idea that it comes across so angry – give the writer the benefit of the doubt once.
Remember – keep calm and carry on Always remain professional, and if you do this your business will continue to prosper and operate successfully.
Share with us your tips for dealing with angry emails.
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