How To Reply To An Angry Email

Picture this: It’s Monday morning, you get to your desk and turn on your computer ready to start a new work week. But when you open your inbox, there it is. A scathing, angry email from a customer or someone else. In this post, we’ll teach you how to reply to an angry email.

This isn’t the best way to start your day, but let’s face it, now and then an angry message may come your way. The important thing is knowing how to handle them so they don’t ruin your entire day or week by escalating the situation or writing a negative review.

So, to that end, here are some tips for how to reply to an angry email that lands in your inbox.

Take a minute

Your first instinct may be to type out a quick, scathing response, but more emotional emails aren’t likely to solve the problem and will instead heat things up and make the situation more aggravated.

Before you respond, take a minute, hour, or maybe even a day to reflect on the email and consider how you can respond in a way that will work towards a resolution and doesn’t escalate the situation. Take a deep breath, calm your body, your nerves, and even relax your facial expression. Taking time before responding can also help you get past the initial frustration you feel from reading the email, and allow you to craft a reply that is more thought-out and less reactionary. This will help you be more effective at communicating your opinion or reasoning. When you are clear-headed, email can be a powerful form of communication to resolve the issue, especially when you are dealing with a customer.

Think about the other persons’ perspective

It can be challenging to see things from the other person’s viewpoint, particularly when they are coming across aggressive or angry or it seems they are personally attacking you. But it can be helpful to try and understand where the angry person is coming from, as this will allow you to better address their concerns or frustrations. Imagine if your emails are coming from an angry customer who had a bad experience.

Ask yourself, why is this person angry? How may their perspective differ from mine? What if I was in their shoes, how would I feel? How can I provide the best customer service?

Get your emotions out

Taking a minute and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes are great ways to address your frustrations before responding to a rude email, but sometimes it’s just not enough and you’re still fuming at the email you received. If that’s the case, then consider writing out a fake email response on paper or in a Word document, one the gets out everything you feel, be it nasty or angry or aggressive. The important this is to not send what you write to the other person, instead use it as a way to communicate the annoyance you feel about the rude emails without actually sharing that emotion with the other person and making the situation worse.

Once you’ve had a chance to get out everything you feel, you can approach the situation with a more calm and level-headed perspective.

Confirm the best response method

Sometimes sending emails back and forth can lead to miscommunication and escalate an ordinary situation into a tense or heated one. Whether it’s the frequency and persistence of the emails, the readers’ perception of the tone, or the way one or both of the writers communicates and explains their message, email can cause barriers and misunderstandings and for that reason is not always the best method of communication.

If you’ve received an angry email or a customer complaint, you should ask yourself if written communication is the best way to respond? Is this an issue that would be best solved in person or even over the phone? If there are persistent communication issues with this individual, consider if the tone is being conveyed in the right way over email, either yours or theirs.

In some cases, the best response is one that simply asks to arrange an in-person meet-up or call to discuss the tough situation in more detail.

Acknowledge their Emotions

When responding to an angry email, address the emotions, feelings, complaints, and perspectives of the other person. Empathize so that you can better understand the underlying issue or customer feedback. Try not to dismiss or invalidate them, as this can cause the situation to become more heated. By showing empathy and recognizing the feelings they are communicating in their email, you can also help make them feel heard which can mitigate the tension of the situation.

When addressing their emotions, it’s important to carefully consider the wording that you use. For example, saying, “I get that you’re upset, but…” can come off as dismissive and offhanded. On the other hand, being overly apologetic, for example saying, “I’m so sorry you feel this way,” can appear as though you are taking responsibility or blame for the situation, even if that’s not the case.

Find a Balance

When evaluating a situation, ask yourself if you made a mistake or did something in error? If so, an apology can go a long way to resolving the customer‘s frustration. If, on the other hand, you’ve received an angry email when you haven’t made any mistakes, it’s not necessarily appropriate to apologize. Rather, it may be required for you to hold your ground or remain firm in your position. The approach you take will depend on the circumstances surrounding the email.

Gather More Information

Lack of information can easily lead to misunderstandings, so it’s important to get as much information as possible about the situation or the other person’s point of view to address an issue appropriately. By asking questions and engaging in a deeper discussion, you can get a clearer understanding of the problem and work towards a fair resolution.

How to Reply to an Angry Email: Sample Response

Here’s a sample response that may help you reply to an angry email that lands in your inbox.

Hi [name], Thanks for your email. I understand that you’re upset about [XXX], and hope to work towards a fair resolution.

My understanding of the situation is [explain your perspective in a calm and neutral manner]. I’d like to get a better idea of your perspective. Can you tell me, [ask a question to get more information about their point of view]?

Thanks, [Your Name]

Now that you’re prepared, you can respond to hostile emails with confidence, without worrying about making costly mistakes! With a thoughtful response, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. If you can solve the customer‘s problem, you might even gain some positive feedback through an online review!