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Through the eyes of online support: Dealing with angry emails

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We’ve all been there. We’re trying to reach support when a product fails or we simply don’t understand how to use the tool we just installed. For many of us, these interactions are pretty straightforward. We reach out to support, have a normal conversation and hopefully find a solution. In some cases, what should seem like a normal conversation can quickly take a turn to the dark side of customer support.

What should you do when you get an angry email or a comment that can possibly destroy your company’s reputation? Simple. You have to deal with it. Moreover, how can you prevent this interaction from exploding? 

In this post, we’ll take a look at how to deal with those not-so-fun customer support emails from the inside out. How can you keep your team motivated when those abusive emails come in and how can we help you as a user take a step back from a potentially negative email that isn’t going a robot, but a real human with feelings. 

Let’s take a look. 

The support side: keeping your cool 

Let’s not forget that angry customers are usually already frustrated before they’ve sent an email. Whilst you might feel discouraged by the fact you haven’t had the chance to help them yet, these emails are usually the easiest to rectify. 

Luckily, this isn’t something we have to deal with too often here at Weglot, but when we do, we have a few best practices in place. 

#1 Be empathetic 

Just because we understand the problem, it doesn’t mean the user does. Sympathizing with the user is really important, they’re clearly frustrated and maybe they’ve sent such an email because they’re having a bad day. 

They don’t know you and you don’t know them, so try not to take things personally. Acknowledging their frustration can also help calm them down. 

#2 Offer solutions 

Assure the user that there’s a solution and a fix is on its way! Providing excuses can lead to the email thread getting more heated and can show that you don’t care.  

Present your solution and give the resolution quickly. Generally, when you reply in a cool and calm manner, the user tends to feel pretty stupid for going in all guns blazing. 

Sometimes, of course, there might not be a solution to the problem. This is generally because they’re looking for a specific workaround and something that your product just wasn’t designed to do. If you present the reasons as to why there’s no alternative, the customer can usually see clearly why their problem is unfixable. 

#3 Keep things factual 

Whilst it can be easy to put heart and feelings into things, when dealing with angry emails, it’s best to keep the emotions aside (it’s not personal after all). 

Keep the back and forth emails to a minimum by presenting the hard facts and solutions clearly and in bullet point form. 

#4 Know your limits 

There are of course times when the above just might not make a difference. That can be tough to take when in most cases you receive positive feedback and have helped hundreds of users just on that day. 

You don’t need to take insults repeatedly, if you’re not coming to an agreement, politely ask the user to keep the tone cordial. 

The customer side: writing to a support team when you’re frustrated 

Let’s flip things around and look at the customer side of things and what you can do as a user to avoid getting frustrated in situations where there’s likely a solution. 

One thing that’s important to think about before writing an email to a support team is that behind every email, there’s a human being responding to your problems as quickly as they can. 

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how you as a user can avoid an escalating situation. 

#1 Don’t try and solve the issue yourself 

I’d always suggest that if you’ve spent more than 5 minutes trying to solve the problem yourself and it’s still not working out for you, then it’s time to send an email to support. 

There could be a very simple solution to your problem that we as the support team can solve instantly. If you take the time out of your day to try and fix it, then you may end up just frustrating yourself, which as we know, can lead to an angry email. 

Stay calm, it’s normal that some features may seem foreign to you or you simply need help understanding them.

#2 Provide all the details 

To avoid further escalation, it’s always best to explain the problem you’re facing in detail, even if you think you’re giving too much information, the more the better from our side of things! 

This helps us to get on with solving your problem straight away, rather than more back and forth emails because we require more details. 

Attach as many screenshots as needed, share the code and explain away. That way we’re on it from the off! 

#3 Keep it classy

When things are going wrong, it can be easy to forget your manners. We get it, you’re stressed. We’ve all been there ourselves, had a bad day, not been in the best mood and lashed out at our loved ones. But just remember we’re here to help you, we want your problem to be solved as much as you do. 

So when you’re writing your email to support, remember that being polite helps us both remain calm in a situation that might be highly stressful. 

We’re genuinely here to help as much as we can and when we receive mean emails we get upset too 🥺. We have the same goal, so let’s be kind to each other. 

The funny thing is, 9 out of 10 times when someone has written an angry email with more than its fair share of expletives, the user is always completely regretful with how they approached the situation. So, let’s leave the drama outside of support emails. 

#4 Ending things on a good note  

Do you know what makes our day? When you guys give us a little thank you. There’s nothing nicer than hearing you’ve made someone’s day by helping them out with something. 

A simple thank you can really make a difference to our day.

Summing up 

So what can we get from all this? This isn’t meant to be a lecture on how to treat people but more insight on how challenging support can be and how we are genuinely here to help as much as we can.

Seeing the viewpoint from both sides can ultimately help us to understand each other better. 

Need to reach out to support? We’re always here to help – so maybe speak to you soon! 

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