Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer | Book Notes


Customer Service is the New Marketing (Hug Your Haters book review)

Using consumer complaints to drive business


This month’s article will briefly overview some of the learning’s from a book I recently read by Jay Baer, titled Hug Your Haters.  The term “hater,” in this article will refer to anyone who complains about our company, product, or service.


Fact: Customer service today is being disrupted in the same way that marketing has been disrupted by mobile, consumer technology, and consumer preferences.  But yet customer service hasn’t really changed since the invention of email.


According to research by Forester, 80 percent of businesses say that they deliver superior customer service.  Yet, only eight percent of their customers actually agree.  This means there is a huge disconnect between what companies consider superior service and their customers expectations.  Additional research found that if a company doesn’t answer a customer complaint, it actually decreases customer advocacy.  Thereby taking a bad situation and making it worse.  On the other hand, if a company answers a customer complaint, it increases customer advocacy.  It takes a bad situation and makes it better.  And that’s true every time and in every channel, phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, it doesn’t matter.


As Janelle Barlow and Claus Moller wrote in their excellent book, A Complaint Is a Gift: “Many companies do not appreciate the real cost of losing customers. They can tell you exactly what they are doing to attract new customers and how much this costs them, but they may not have a clue as to how many customers they are losing, why they are being lost, or how much this costs them.”  They also state that, “a 5 percent increase in customer retention can boost profits by 25 to 85 percent.”


So, how do we find haters and turn them into advocates?  The good new is that we don’t have to look very hard. They practically raise their hands via phone, e-mail, social media, and beyond.


Haters step into the light on their own, which makes interacting with and, hope- fully, recovering them, a straightforward exercise compared with customer acquisition.  In Hug Your Haters, Jay identifies two different types of haters; On-stage haters, which are people who want their review to be seen by everyone and Off-stage haters, who simply want their issue resolved, and gives an acronym on how to deal with each kind.

Dealing with Off-Stage Haters – H-O-U-R-S

Be Human

Use One Channel

Unify Your Data

and Resolve the Issue

with Speed


Hugging Onstage Haters – F-E-A-R-S

Find all Mentions

Display Empathy

Answer Publicly

Reply Only Once

Switch Channels


Here is an infographic that helps define these two types of haters in more detail:

the hatrix

Hug Your Haters Hatrix


Finally, lets talk about the future of customer service and catering to Gen Z and Millenials. 


Gen Z and Millennials make up the age range from about 4 years old to 33 years old.  Chef Miki recently sent an email about Gen Z that stated, “The characteristics of this group will influence the next generation of shoppers and the future of retail. Packing an average of $44 billion dollars a year in purchasing power, it’s understandable that we must monitor the needs and habits of this mighty consumer group.”  Wow, $44B in purchasing power and a generation that will influence the future shopper!


Here are 5 ways/concepts that will help attract, support, and influence the shoppers of the future, using customer service:

1)  Get away from a transactional customer service/customer experience mentality and move towards transformational customer service/expereiences

2)  Be proactive throughout the customer journey by catering to the customers needs and the relationship as a whole

3)  Gather and analyze ALL feedback for trends – Use data to learn and improve all aspects of the business

4)  Create useful guides, FAQs, and learning resources for customers to find the information on their own

5)  Craft a “Hatrix” that will help our Social Media / Mail Order team deal with problems on each platform.








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