“Customer service is now a spectator sport and most businesses are not prepared for it.”
Jay Baer is the Founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm that helps companies gain and keep more customers through technology, social media, and customer service. He is also a New York Times best selling author whose most recent book is all about the haters.
Love them, he says, and love them hard.
“The most overrated thing in life is praise, because it makes you feel terrific, but it teaches you nothing. What teaches you something is criticism,” says Baer. “Every time somebody goes out of their way to tell you that you are less than perfect, you can learn and grow.”
First things first: Haters can help you.
Jay Baer points out research that shows while 80% of businesses say they deliver superior customer service, only 8% of customers agree.
In his book, Hug Your Haters, Baer drives home the point that it is foolish to hide from criticism, even worse to ignore it. Instead he says we should use it to make us — and our businesses — better.
Baer talks about how crucial it is to actually answer your haters, and to do so in a personal, genuine and timely manner. This provides a unique opportunity to turn a negative into a positive, and perhaps turn a hater into a loyal customer (brilliant!).
While many businesses choose to spend their time, money, and resources recruiting new customers, Baer points out the importance of not just keeping the old ones — but keeping them happy.
Jay Baer questions corporate culture that pays too little attention to how customers feel, and asks if businesses will go “above and beyond to keep a customer,” because he says, “that is part of the fabric of an organization…which says a lot about the values and priorities.”
In Hug Your Haters, Baer advocates for increased focus on customer satisfaction and retention. “Just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits,” he points out.
All of this begins with embracing the hate. Don’t run. Don’t even think about hiding. In today’s “on blast” social media world, avoiding the issues only makes things worse.
“Haters are not your problem,” Jay Baer says, “ignoring them is.”