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How to Write a Professional Response to an Angry Email

But ask yourself this first...

2/13/2024 | PromoJournal Staff, Now Trending

Knowing how to respond to an angry email is an important life skill. Everyone can benefit from learning how and when to respond to hostile or threatening emails. People in certain careers may receive more angry emails than others, and adequate training may not be provided. Parent volunteers trying to organize simple activities can encounter hostile attitudes and may need similar skills. Learn how to handle angry emails like a professional.

Is a Response Necessary? 

The first step after receiving a hostile email is to determine if an email response is even necessary. Certain emails are so threatening or violent that they should be referred to law enforcement. Other emails are best returned with a phone call, rather than responding in writing. Occasionally, companies receive emails in error, or the best person to respond is not included. Take time to determine the appropriate person to handle the email and forward the information.

When to Respond 

Not all emails require an instant response. Emails that demonstrate uncontrolled emotions or accusatory language require special handling. Reply let the person know the expected timeframe for a response, even if it is the next day or the next week. This allows time to pass for both parties to process emotions, consult with colleagues, and gather perspective. People who learn to wait before responding reduce the chance of sending repeated, angry emails back and forth.

Acknowledge and Empathize 

Begin the email response by acknowledging the individual's feelings. Empathize with the situation without becoming overly emotional, and use matter of fact wording that shows you take their problem seriously. This approach is excellent for people resolving customer service issues. Thank the customer for their email. Empathize with how the customer is feeling and use action words to indicate what actions will be taken to resolve the issue. Admit when you or the company fell short and what is being actively done to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Write a Brief Response 

Professional email responses are brief and to the point. Save the lengthy responses and detailed information for in-person conversations. Brief emails demonstrate confidence and set the tone for how people respond in return. Shorten emails by reading the draft out loud, and removing repetitive facts. Trust a friend or colleague to read your draft email and shorten it further.

Write a Calm Response 

Use a calm tone in your response. The right tone will help calm the anger of the email you received. The right combination of calm and authoritative tone will make the individual feel comfort that the issue will be handled.

Clarify Expectations 

Be specific about what you or your organization can and cannot do to resolve the issue. If your email asks the individual to contact someone different to fully resolve the issue, include that person's information, or include the individual as a cc to your email. 

Whether you are a professional, volunteer, or parent, you can benefit from learning how to respond to angry emails. Determine whether a response is necessary, and take the time you need to reply to the email. Diffuse the individual's anger with empathy and honesty about what fell short, and what can be done to resolve the situation. Use a calm, but authoritative tone to inspire confidence in a solution. Learning how to respond to angry emails is a skill that can be practiced and perfected over time.

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