4 Steps to Properly Respond to Rude E-Mails

Every once in a while I receive an e-mail that catches me a little off guard. The reason? It appears to be, well…rude. Managing client relationships as an Account Executive at an advertising agency can present several challenges on a day-to-day basis and like many other things in life, how you react is very important. To help with this, below you will find four tips to help you take the right steps when reacting to a less than polite e-mail message.

  1. Step back – Read the message over again and reflect on what could have possibly caused them to act the way they did. Speak to additional team members that interact with the client who may be able to offer added insight.
  2. Pick-up the phone – E-mail leaves a lot up for interpretation. Unless you speak with the person directly and know for sure what they intended to say and/or how they intended to say it, you could have misinterpreted the message.
  3. Don’t get defensive – Stay cool, calm, and collected. Ask questions to determine the meaning before you jump to conclusions. Often times it may be a simple misunderstanding.
  4. Plan for better communication – Whether you did misinterpret the message or it was justified, discuss how you can better communicate with each other in the future to ensure a repeat does not occur.

No one likes to open their e-mail to find a rude message, but how you react says a lot about your professionalism and ultimately the professionalism of the agency. Whatever the issue may be, take the time to speak directly with your client and put in the effort to ensure it does not happen again. At the end of the day, your client will remember the positive way you handled the situation and not the initial issue.