As a business owner and/or marketer – if you think you’re really good at delivering great customer service, then you will be surprised that your customers may not agree.
This perspective is shared by Jay Baer – the world’s most inspirational marketing and customer service speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of the recently released book Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers.
Jay is also the founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm that helps prominent companies gain and keep more customers through the smart intersection of technology, social media, and customer service.
I recently interviewed Jay on my podcast Gen X Amplified to unpack the details of Hug Your Haters, and why many brands are unfortunately embracing an outdated approach to customer service that does not meet the minimum threshold in today’s digital media landscape.
Listen to the entire podcast interview with Jay below:
Your competitors can copy your price, they can copy your products, they can copy your website, they can copy your messaging, they can steal your best employees…but your competitors CANNOT…take from you, if you generally care more about your customers than they do.
Jay says that he decided to embrace “customer service” as the primary concept for his latest book because…“everybody thinks they’re good at customer service, but they’re not.”
To highlight this, he mentions a key study from Forrester Research that states: 80% of companies think they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree.
Unfortunately, this is most apparent in the new forms of customer service such as social media, discussion boards, review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc. In fact, most companies do not interact or answer customers in those venues at all!
Jay puts this directly:
Somehow we have decided it’s okay to ignore people via the computer. We would never not answer a telephone ring. You would never not answer an email from a customer. But if somebody tweets you, or Facebook you, or calls you on Trip Advisory or Yelp – – well, “those are just those internet customers. We’re not going to answer them.” That is crazy, and not beneficial to the company’s success.
Jay says that he wrote Hug Your Haters to be the first true modern customer service book, that reflects the reality of today’s customer, and the reality of today’s digital platforms that those customers engage with on a day-to-day basis.
Also, he emphasizes that the smart brands play the “long game” and realize that delivering better-than-expected customer service will be their competitive advantage, and comparatively, they also don’t end up spending as much money on advertising.
To illustrate this, Jay and I have a nice case study discussion about our personal experiences with Chick-fil-A, and how they are exceptional in their approach to customer service – especially for the commoditized restaurant business.
They (Chick-fil-A) have definitely invested in training. That’s clear every time you talk to anybody at Chick-fil-A. They have been trained how to handle customers in a way that other restaurants simply do not train their front line employees.
And here we are talking about Chick-fil-A, they didn’t pay us to rave about them. But we both know that there’s a difference there, and consequently we’re doing their advertising for them.
Here are a few additional takeaways from the interview:
- The main recipe in the book…the Hug Your Haters formula is: To answer every complaint, in every channel…every time. The premise doesn’t mean that customers, complainers and haters are always right. But it does mean that they’re always heard.
- If somebody complains and you answer them – you at least have a chance to change their mind, and a chance turn lemons into lemonade. But if you never actually grab the lemons – you’ll never make lemonade.
- When you answer a complaint, it increases customer advocacy and takes a bad situation and makes it better. But when you don’t answer a complaint and ignore them, it decreases customer advocacy, and takes a bad situation and makes it worse.
- Jay states that everybody needs to follow his rule of reply only twice: You never ever answer somebody more than twice in row in a public venue.
- We also discuss how the principles of *Hug Your Haters” can be also applied to personal brands and their approach to engaging and influencing their audience, colleagues, etc.
- Plus – Jay tells us what his personal theme songs are!
This podcast interview was extremely rich in value, and Jay dropped many insights on why companies should not, in this current digital and social marketplace, ignore complaints from their customers.
I truly believe that Hug Your Haters is a must-read for marketers and business owners. The overall guiding framework that Jay crafted within this book will definitely help you on your quest to deliver outstanding and remarkable customer experiences.