4 Reasons Why Profanity-Filled E-Mails & Rants Will Not Result In Good Customer Service

Bad customer service — especially the kind that has the consumer bouncing from one department to the next without any hope for resolution — can be infuriating. It can be incredibly easy, if not downright tempting, to dust off every dirty word you ever learned by watching football with that one uncle as a kid.

And though there may be a cathartic value to letting everyone at the offending company know exactly into which orifice they should insert a greased-up duck, the odds are that such an e-mail will not result in any positive results for the sender.

Every day, readers are either copying us on customer service e-mails or forwarding us messages that have already been sent. Most of these messages are perfectly fine, providing the important information along with just the right amount of dissatisfaction.

But we’ve also seen enough furiously fired-off rants full of profanity that would have most people turning to UrbanDictionary for clarification. We’ve also noted that many of these messages result go ignored by the recipients; or if there is a response, it’s rarely the desired one.

These are the five reasons why we think you should take a walk around the block and maybe revise a few things before sending off those angry e-mails:

1. It will probably distract you from what’s important
This is the thing that we’ve most frequently noted in overly angry e-mails to companies. The writer is too concerned with expressing their anger to remember things like dates, account numbers, amounts, locations — all things that are generally needed before a company can even investigate the issue.

2. It puts the company on the defensive
Some CSRs and some businesses have thicker skins than others. There are some reps who will smile and maintain a positive attitude regardless of what you write or say about their mother. By the same token, there are people who do not take profanity lightly and view angry statements as possible threats. In our experience, erupting on a company often puts them in a position where it feels obliged to defend its practices rather than proactively solving the customer’s issue.

3. It can cheapen the quality of your complaint
You may have the most valid reason in the world to be angry. But some people will not be able to see through the invective. We’ve learned over the years that most businesses when presented with two very similar problems — one presented in a professional manner and one full of vitriol and swear words — will provide a more satisfying response to the person who sticks to the facts.

4. It’s hard to get people to bend the rules if you’re mean to them
A not insubstantial number of the customer service e-mails we’ve been privy to are actually asking for companies to make exceptions to their policies, whether it’s asking them to waive fees or extend warranties or provide discounts. Unlike situations where the customer has been wronged because of a company’s error, here the company and its employees are fully within their rights to simply say “no.”

And yet, some customers still feel that the best way to motivate a company to make an exception is to fire off an irate e-mail letting them know how “m-f-ing stupid” the policy is. The customer may be right, but that’s rarely going to motivate anyone to make the desired exception.

Even in the case where a policy may be in violation of the law or the terms of your standing agreement with the company, dropping a few F-bombs in an e-mail to the CEO is unlikely to have an effect.

Nobody in the history of the human race, in any culture, at any time, has responded to random fury with “Gee, how about I use what little power I currently have to obtain some money for you?”