Analytics & TestingContent MarketingEcommerce and RetailSales EnablementSocial Media & Influencer Marketing

Hug Your Haters? Maybe It Should Be Love Your Lovers!

Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer is a groundbreaking book that offers a fresh and practical approach to dealing with customer complaints in the digital age. Jay argues that businesses need to embrace complaints as an opportunity to improve their products, services, and customer experience. Jay provides compelling statistics and real-world examples to show that ignoring complaints can have a significant impact on a company’s reputation and bottom line.

Jay also offers a two-part framework for dealing with complaints, which involves responding to every complaint in a timely and authentic manner and then taking the conversation offline to resolve the issue.

Overall, Hug Your Haters is a must-read for anyone in business who wants to improve their customer service and turn complaints into opportunities for growth.

Hug Your Haters Keynote

Jay Baer’s closing keynote was one of the best I’ve seen at Social Media Marketing World. Jay discussed his book, Hug Your Haters. His presentation was fantastic and teased some amazing research from Tom Webster and his team on how investment in resolving complaints swiftly and strategically would grow your business.

The presentation speaks to some fantastic examples of companies responding to complaints and how it’s good for business.

I’m a skeptic. In fact, the year before at Social Media Marketing World I did a presentation where I took the top blunders of companies on social media and proved that none of the blunders had a long-term, negative impact on the companies that made them.

On Facebook recently, Jay shared some personal observations of airline service and I was instantly reminded of this amazing discussion between comedian Louis CK and Conan O’Brien.

While I’m amazed at the incredible technology available at consumers’ fingertips nowadays, I’m also disappointed daily at the continuous drumbeat of company bashing that I see online.

Should Apple Hug Its Haters?

A great example that I can speak to firsthand is Apple. I’m a huge fan of Apple. I was one of the nut cases that set his alarm for 3 AM EST and bought the first batch of Apple Watches. I can’t wait to get it in my hands.

Read online and there’s a resounding echo of techies, bloggers, and Apple haters hating on the watch. They’re everywhere… and none of their opinions matter to me. And I don’t think any of their opinions should matter to Apple. Too expensive, lack of innovation, quality and speed issues… all complaints from the haters. Hey haters… a million sold in a day and are now on backorder beyond June. Haters weren’t going to buy the Apple Watch anyways, why would you hug them?

DK New Media Fires Haters and Loves Its Lovers

Last year, after recovering from a tumultuous year prior, we started our recovery. Many of our issues were my fault. We expanded without the necessary resources and then scrambled to fill the gap. Rather than working hard to identify the right customers, we took on almost everyone asking for our help… and it was a nightmare. We wound up even designing an infographic about the types of customers we were burning through.

We accepted work with a lot of clients that were just abusive and cheap. They didn’t look at us as a partner, they looked at us like a challenge to squeeze every last penny out of. I didn’t hug our haters, we fired them.

We now put extraordinary effort into prequalifying our customers and ensuring that we’re a great fit culturally with one another and that we believe we can succeed in working with them. The difference is night and day. We’re having our best year ever, we’re expanding our footprint, we’re happy, and the work we’re doing is far better than we were before.

Trying to please our haters was exhausting. And so we don’t try anymore. If someone badmouths us, we simply respond honestly to them – whether it’s public or private. Sometimes we lock horns, but most of the time we simply walk away. We need to focus our attention on customers that appreciate us, not the ones that would never hire us, recommend us, and that sit back taking potshots at us.

Hug your haters? Too much effort. I’d rather love my lovers. They’re the ones that spread the word, expand their engagements with us, find us more customers, and appreciate what we accomplish for them.

Do Winners Bother With Haters?

When I look at business, sports, politics, or any other successful leader – I almost always see people that ignored their haters and carved out their own success. The failures I’ve seen have been people that listened to everyone, tried to please everyone, and could never meet the impossible expectations set by the market.

When I look at industries like mobile, cable, utilities, airlines, and others… I see consumers making demands well beyond the value of the product or service they’re willing to pay for. And if they’re not getting what they want, they throw a hissy fit online for the public to see. And if the company tries to serve them better and add a few more bucks to their bill, the consumers bail for the next lower-cost solution.

My guess is that if ______ airlines treated their customers even worse, they’d still have packed airplanes heading to their next destination full of customers who used an online search to find the lowest price. I don’t think most haters even care about the airline company, they’re going to complain regardless. And most of the airlines have hubs laid out where it’s almost impossible to get away from their brand even if you did care.

Want Love? Pay for It!

On the other hand, if I pay for business class, buy luxury vehicles, spend money on the extended warranty or insurance, or spring for the more expensive laptop, I never seem to have the problems that others run into. Delta’s traveler lounge – for example – is AMAZING and you can buy access on most trips for a little extra. While everyone is waiting on the ticket agent, I grab a drink and the Delta representative took down my name and swings into action getting me on my way. No fuss, no muss… I both appreciated it and I paid for it.

Paying extra, I get fantastic service, almost no wait times, and instantaneous responses. If I’m going to demand the best, I should be willing to pay for it. If I can’t afford the best, I should be content with what’s left.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll put forth a sincere effort to try to flip an unhappy customer. I owe at least that much because they made an investment with us. But if they’re just miserable or mistreat me or our staff, ain’t nobody got time for dat! I think there’s a significant percentage of haters online that companies should tell to bugger off.

Jay… you’ve got your work cut out.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and CEO of DK New Media. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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