Most people have worked a retail job at some point in their lives. Ask anyone what the worst part about a retail job is and they will likely say dealing with the customers. In a “regular” business with a brick and mortar storefront, most of your customer service will be done through face to face interaction or by telephone. And if the customer is driving you completely crazy? Not so good.
I don’t think I would have been able to survive in any form of sales if it were not for email. If a customer has gone insane or is belligerent, talking to them face to face is immediately a confrontation. Even talking on the phone with someone like that it is hard to keep calm and try to rectify the situation. Not so with email. With email, you don’t necessarily have to answer right away, and therein lies the genius. Answering the message a few hours later when you are calm is perfectly acceptable. Try that with a phone call- “sorry, you are insane right now and I am angry, call back in a few hours.” It can’t be done in person either- “hey, you look kind of crazy, can you go away for awhile?”
With email, there is time to read and reread a belligerent email to understand what exactly the problem is. Then there is time to try and formulate an answer that will actually help the situation instead of just making it worse. You can start the email, come back to it later and take out anything confrontational. You can decide to scrap the entire email and start over. You can even have someone else look at your email and tell you whether your anger is showing through. And through email, no one can see the mean face you are making, or hear you talk about how crazy the other person is. The only thing that comes through is what you type.
How Long Do You Spend on the Internet?