Are You Protecting Yourself From Rude, Obnoxious People?

by Derek Halpern · 66 comments

Ever get a rude and obnoxious email or comment from one of your subscribers, clients, or customers?

You know you shouldn’t let it bother you, but it does.

And rightfully so. You’re a human being.

Here’s what you can do about it:

#1 Decide If There Was a Miscommunication

You won’t be surprised to know that sometimes rude and obnoxious emails stem from miscommunication.

To elaborate, let me show you a conversation that my friend Sean Malarkey had with one of his email subscribers.

See how Sean handled it?

He didn’t get frustrated. He asked if they were having a bad day, and then bam. He found out what was wrong, and discovered that there was a miscommunication, which he quickly rectified.

Key takeaway #1: You may get obnoxious emails, and you may instantly get pissed or defensive, but sometimes a miscommunication occurred, and you can win over a new subscriber.

Or, you could try my strategy…

#2 Fire the Subscriber or Client

Some people may disagree with me here, but life is short.

If you get a nasty comment, and you don’t feel like it’s worth dealing with it, you can just delete them from your list or refund their money for your product.

I know this is extreme, but if this one person is going to negatively affect your productivity, it may be worth it.

For example, a few months back I wrote an article about split-testing results. I mentioned the tool I used and included an affiliate link. It was a natural link, and it wasn’t forced. It wasn’t even a hard sales pitch.

Someone emailed me and said “strike 1″ because I pitched a product.

My response was simple:

“I just gave you the other 2 strikes and deleted you from my list.”

Yes, it’s a little harsh, but he acted like he was the umpire of my business and website, and that’s why I got frustrated.

And this leads me to…

Key takeaway #2: You run your website and business. You reserve the right to fire customers, delete subscribers, trash comments, and all of that. If people don’t like it, that’s fine. They can write about it on their website.

#3 “Kill ’em with Kindness

Again, I’m calling out Sean Malarkey here.

When you receive an obnoxious comment, and you feel you MUST address it, you can always take the high road, and do as Sean says, “Kill ’em with kindness.”

It makes sense. When people respond irrationally, and you respond with kindness, the aggressor tends to back pedal. You witnessed it first hand in Sean’s email exchange earlier, and I’ve done it in countless other situations too.

Key Takeaway #3: When people respond with rude comments, you can simply be nice. It may win them over, it may not, but at least you’ll be able to sleep at night.

The Bottom Line

This is not an exhaustive list on how to handle bad customers. There’s other strategies out there too. What have you tried, and did it work? Share your experience in the comments.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.