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“Hug Your Haters” lesson 4: Turn that frown upside downJuly 13th, 2016 by
In this final installment of our “Hug Your Haters: Lessons Learned” series, we’ll talk about how to leverage your haters to make your business better. These lessons come from a recent talk I attended with Jay Baer. Jay is an expert in customer service and has taught tons of prominent companies how to gain and keep customers by leveraging technology, social media, and customer service. The lessons that Jay shared both in his talk and in his book, Hug your Haters, contain valuable information all service professionals should know.
Lesson 4: Turn that frown upside down
If you embrace the idea that receiving customer feedback (even the nasty stuff) is a positive thing, and you strive to get more complaints, in the end, you’re probably a better and more profitable company than the rest. Say wha? Sounds like “hugging your haters” can actually make you money.
Remember that saying about the canary in the coal mine? Your unhappy customers may actually be an early warning detection system of a brewing problem. Less than 5% of unhappy customers complain in a way that the business hears it or can find it; you can be sure there are others complaining to friends (remember those Silent But Deadlies?) that you’re not hearing. There could be a business-busting thing brewing under the surface that you aren’t aware of, and that “crazy customer” complaining is actually the canary in the coal mine.
According to Baer, resolving a customer’s problem prevents them from defecting 70% of the time. Imagine if you were too afraid to ask for feedback, or when someone complained you scoffed it off as not worth following up on? You may not recognize that sound: it’s the sound of dollars flying out the door.
So let’s flip the script: think about your haters as VIP customers. More often than not, they are treated as the least important on the list. As Jay says, one goal might be to increase the number of complaints you receive.*
Look at every customer touchpoint as an opportunity for your customer to provide feedback, and give them a way to do so. Once people give you feedback, you have an insight to what may be running poorly in your business, and you have actionable material for things you can fix.
*It should go without saying, but do not do this by providing terrible service. By this I mean, embrace the idea that the path to having happier customers and fewer complaints starts by uncovering more complaints.