inessential by Brent Simmons

What To Do When Someone Curses at Your Product

Today we saw our first Fuck Glassboard tweet. (I think. I could have missed one before.)

I don’t handle support these days, but I did it for years, and I have a few rules I follow in this situation.

  • Be kind! The answer is never to strike back. (In fact, your product’s best evangelists are sometimes people who cursed at it at first.)

  • Don’t try to be funny. Humor and personality are great most of the time — but when someone is angry, they’ll take it as flip or condescending.

  • Use the person’s name. (Actually, that goes all the time. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.)

  • Tell them you want to help, and give them an easy way to reach you directly. Even if it means putting your email address on the web. (Which just demonstrates that you care more about helping them than you care about avoiding spam — because you do care more about helping them.)

  • Then, of course, help them.

This doesn’t always magically work — they’re not necessarily going to suddenly transform into a fan. But you have to do it anyway.

The hard part is situations like this specific one — her follow-up tweet says:

It’s not that I’m “having troubles,” it’s that I hate using a service that requires me to use their proprietary app/website.

No amount of help is going to fix that problem for her today, right now. Sometimes you have to know when to stop — a person wants to make a point, and then they’re finished. You take the point and move on.