Am I a hypocrite or a grouch? I’ve spent many years exhorting customer service staff to write friendly, upbeat e-mails to customers. Using a friendly tone builds rapport and reduces customer angst. But the customer service e-mail I received from PayPal is so friendly, it’s actually giving me the creeps.
Here’s what I wrote:
Subject: How do I remove an e-mail address from my account?
I want to remove the e-mail address JaneDoe@ABC-XYZ.com from receiving notifications when someone purchases a book from me. I can’t find this e-mail address anywhere in My Profile or Settings, so I can’t figure out how to remove it. Can you find it and remove it for me? Thanks.
Here’s the reply I received from PayPal
Subject: Re: MyAccount (Routing Code: A123-B000-C12345-A111-B100100) (CCC1234567D12345EfGH):jkl9
Hello Leslie O’Flahavan,
My name is Jonathan with PayPal Consumer Support. I hope you have enjoyed your day! I too have confirmed that this email address is not registered to your PayPal account. In this case, you will want to check with any 3rd party shopping carts integrated with PayPal that you have worked with in the past. It is likely that you have registered this email with them. It will need to be removed from their settings.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to process your payments here at PayPal. I hope you have a wonderful week!
Aside from the tone, PayPal earns good marks on this e-mail for:
- Promptness. I received the response in about 11 hours.
- Personalization. Jonathan addressed me by name. But more importantly, he checked my account for the e-mail address I couldn’t find.
- Problem-solving. Though he can’t solve it for me, Jonathan suggests how I should solve my problem.
- Correctness. The e-mail is well written. It’s free of grammar and punctuation errors.
But the tone is so Yeah! that the e-mail sounds insincere. Though the e-mail’s only eight sentences long, three of the sentences are:
- I hope you have enjoyed your day!
- Thank you for giving us the opportunity to process your payments here at PayPal.
- I hope you have a wonderful week!
In all writing, your tone must always support your message. Jonathan’s thank-you statement is polite and professional. It would have been enough. His weird urgency regarding how much pleasure I find in my days and weeks puts me off. And, by the way, his subject line is awful.
Hmmm … there’s my answer. I guess I am a grouch. What do you think about the tone of this e-mail? Let me know.
— Leslie O’Flahavan