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#SEJBookClub: 4 Lessons from Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

Want to see what other books SEJ has covered? Read our other reviews in the SEJ Book Club archive.

I have been waiting for this month’s book club to come around since I pre-ordered Hug Your Haters last year. And now, I finally have my hands on a real, live copy. I am a little excited. #SEJBookClub: 4 Lessons from Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer | SEJ

I read Jay’s book Youtility, so I was expecting great things from this book – and it delivers. Jay has a very relaxed, approachable tone with just enough humor to keep me reading.

If you haven’t picked up Hug Your Haters, I highly recommend it for businesses both big and small.

Here are four marketing lessons I pulled from the book.

Great Customer Service is How You Earn A Competitive Edge

“Business is more competitive than it has ever been…competitors can and will eventually mimic your products and ape your pricing. But customer experience and customer service remain fertile opportunities for standing above a mass of competitors.” (page 1)

Right from the start, Hug Your Haters is filled with good advice. In today’s fast-paced world, where information travels at lightning speed through the internet, good ideas are a dime a dozen. You can create an awesome product, but you can, and likely will, be undercut on pricing. (This is particularly true if you are trying to use materials from known sources or choose eco-friendly manufacturers.)

But where you competitors can’t (or won’t) compete is in the customer service realm. Jay states that while 80% of businesses believe they offer “superior” customer service, only 8% of customers agree. That is a huge difference of opinion, and, Jay says, that is where your competitive edge lies.

Responding to Every Hater Makes a Difference

It is easy to write off (particularly hateful) feedback as trolling. But according to research done by Jay, responding to each and every customer comment—good or bad—can make a huge difference in customer loyalty. Most haters don’t expect to get a response, and it creates a feeling of good will when you respond.

According to Jay’s research: “Answering complaints increases customer advocacy across all customer service channels.”

A lot of business owners think: well, if most people don’t expect a response, then what is the point of responding? Keep in mind those responses are seen by other customers, particularly on platforms like Yelp. Answering those haters may not help you with that customer, but it may help draw in other customers.

Good Customer Service is Good Business

This isn’t a new concept. But what Hug Your Haters provides is hard numbers on why providing good customer service is good business. Globally, businesses spend $500 billion on marketing and just $9 billion on customer service. This means businesses are spending more than 55-times more money on getting new customers than they are on trying to keep the customers they already have.

If you believe your company doesn’t have the resources to provide stellar customer service across all platforms, as the book suggests, ask yourself: How much does it cost for you to earn the business of just one new customer?

Speed Matters

Customers state that, by far, the most important element of a good experience is a speedy resolution to their problem (page 138). In fact, 41% of customers say it is their top concern when contacting a company with a complaint. A speedy resolution is particularly important for what the book calls “off stage haters” (those who complain through private channels such as phone or email), to prevent those complaints from escalating “onstage” to social media or review sites.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons I love Jay’s books (and most of his writing) is because he stresses being human and actually trying to help people above making a profit. Which some businesses owners might tell you is backwards. I disagree. I believe when you focus on the people your business serves first, the profit will take care of itself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic or on the book if you’ve read it. Feel free to drop a comment below!

Join Us Next Month!

Next month’s book club post will discuss “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives“. Order your copy now and get ready to share your thoughts.

Want to see what the SEJ Book Club has read or is planning on reading next? Check out our GoodReads profile.

Editor Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting SEJ.


Image Credits

Featured Image by Paulo Bobita
In-post photo by Danielle Antosz

Category Content News
Danielle Antosz

Danielle is the former Features Editor for Search Engine Journal and the producer of SEJ Marketing Nerds podcast. She lives ...

#SEJBookClub: 4 Lessons from Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

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