How to Ruin Your Reputation In Just One Email Thread

So I’m sitting in my office preparing marketing copy for my How to Respond to Customer Emails web training event when my Assistant walks in, takes over my computer and Googles something about an email thread gone wrong. She eagerly tells me about a company’s email thread with a customer that is so shocking that my jaw dropped several times and I found myself saying, ‘wow’ and ‘whoa’ over and over as I read the email thread. My Assistant tells me, “You have to include this example in your webinar!”

The customer in this story emailed the company to get an update on the shipment of his order. The customer service representative replied to the customer’s email simply with a date. No sentence. No explanation. No “thank you for your email.” The reply to the customer read, “December 17th.” Totally unacceptable, in my opinion.  Not only is the email cold and unprofessional, but it lacks clarity. Does the order ship on December 17th? Will it arrive on December 17th? Who knows? As bad as that email was, it gets worse. Much worse.

When the customer emails with a follow-up question, here’s what he got from the company:

“Things happen in manufacturing if your unhappy you have 7 days from the day your item ships for a refund. You placed a pre order just like any software title the gets a date moved due to the tweaks and bugs not being worked out and GameStop or any other place holds your cash and im sure you don’t complain to activision or epic games so put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The benefit is a token of our appreaciation for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.”

This response is filled with grammatical and spelling errors and I’m sure the tone of the communication is not what the company intends to convey. But it seems the representative simply took matters into his own hands.

The email thread goes on to be even more appalling with comments from the rep like this:

“We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on. See you at CES , E3 , Pax East ….? Oh wait you have to ask mom and pa dukes your not an industry professional and you have no money on snap you just got told.”

(If you are interested, you can read the full transcript of this utterly unprofessional conversation right here.)

Don’t let an email from an untrained employee ruin your credibility and threaten your company’s reputation. Give employees training on how to communicate with customers over email. Responses must be professional. That means we write in complete sentences and we focus on being crystal clear. It means we carefully check our emails for spelling and grammatical errors. It means we are careful never to insult a customer, a vendor, or our own company. It means we treat customers like they sign our paychecks. It means we never put anything in writing that we wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing blasted in social media. Because, believe me, a bad email will end up on Twitter, blogs and FaceBook.

Don’t let a bad email happen to your company! Join me for my famous “How to Respond to Customer Emails” webinar so I can help you avoid nightmares like this one.

How to Respond to Customer Emails

The emails you send say a lot about your company.

Are you sure yours send the right message?

February 16th, 1:00 – 2:30pm ET

Read the full “How to Respond to Customer Emails” web training outline right here.

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