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Got Complaints? Hug Your Haters!

Everyone has haters. No matter how hard you try, there’s bound to be someone complaining loudly after each mistake. It’s up to you to decide how to handle complaints. Was pop icon Taylor Swift right when she said you should just “shake it off?” Or, does it pay to embrace complaints and Hug Your Haters, as best-selling author Jay Baer suggests?

Embrace Complaints

Here’s The Bad News

bad newsWhen I say everyone has haters, I do mean everyone — even your business. And I can prove it. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well would you rate your customer service?

Pretty high, right? I mean, you care about your customers, you work hard to give them a positive experience, and you train your team to provide the best service possible. Surely, you’re sitting at a comfortable 8, if not a 9 or 10. Brace yourself, because your customers probably don’t agree with you.

In 2012, the market research company Forrester released The Customer Experience Index, 2012, which analyzed relationships between companies and their customers. Most companies described themselves as confident in their customer services skills, with 80 percent claiming to provide “superior” customer service. Unfortunately, only 8 percent of their customers rated them just as high.

How can so many companies be wrong when it comes to their customers’ opinions? Jay Baer, author of the incredible customer service book Hug Your Haters, spent years researching the answer to that very question.

Customers Voice Their Complaints Onstage

customer complaints

According to Baer, the dramatic disconnect arose because companies failed to notice when customer service became a “spectator sport.” Companies offer opportunities to voice complaints and concerns through direct phone calls and emails — what Baer calls “offstage” haters. However, customers long ago turned to review sites, discussion boards, and social media to voice complaints — “onstage” haters.

Onstage haters want an audience. This is why they take to social media where the whole World Wide Web can see, rather than use the private helpline. Often, the disgruntled customers posting the complaints might not tag the company they’re frustrated with. Since few companies monitor social media for complaints, 70 percent of these public complaints go unanswered.

If you’re ignoring (intentionally or not) one-third of your customers’ complaints, how long do you expect them to remain your customers?

Why You Can’t Just ‘Shake It Off’

Social mediaWhether your haters are onstage or offstage, Baer encourages businesses to answer EVERY complaint. No problem gets better when you ignore it. However, it’s not enough to just respond to your haters; you need to learn the right way to address complaints.

Going viral can do wonders for your business, but you don’t want your company’s name spread across the internet because of flame wars and rude comments. It can be tempting, especially on the internet, to respond to criticism with anger. Who wouldn’t get annoyed reading “U SUCK!! #WorstCompanyEver”? But you need to train your team so that they can appropriately respond to complaints, wherever they may come from.

This is where Baer comes in. Hug Your Haters provides an incredible framework for handling any complaint, including the “6-Step Playbook for Handling Social Media Complaints.” You can check out the Playbook for yourself over on Buffer Social.

Additionally, Baer advises that you determine where your company should spend its time on social media. Is monitoring Facebook enough, or should you branch out to Twitter and Snapchat?

Companies, both large and small, will benefit from this groundbreaking look at customer service. Jay Baer breathes the same life into this book as he has all his past works, creating an informative reading experience without demanding you wade through yet another dry business guide. By pairing real-world examples with research from the Edison Research firm, Hug Your Haters is the first book to successfully address customer service in the modern era. Add it to your office library today!

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