Recently, a few of our team members took part in a Marketing Profs webinar called Hug Your Haters, featuring the author of a book by the same name, Jay Baer. As a company that handles the online reputation of many of our customers, we are always looking for new and better strategies to handle customer complaints.
Here are a few of our biggest takeaways from Hug Your Haters.
The customer isn’t always right, but they should always be heard.
Only 5 percent of customers complain in a way that you can find it. While three-fifths complain “on stage” on platforms like social media and review sites, the remaining customers complain “off stage” via email, on the whole or face-to-face. Just because others can’t see these complaints, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be addressed. Every customer deserves to have their voice heard.
A complaint doesn’t equal a churned customer.
When a customer complains whether in person or on social, it doesn’t mean they are ready to write your company off right away. They are usually genuinely looking for help. Responding to a complaint can actually increase a customer’s advocacy by 60% while not responding reduces it by half. Baer says, “Customers that have a positive service experience buy more than those who never had a problem.”
Your industry doesn’t dictate your response behavior.
Social media has become a hub for customer service in recent years. In fact, 40% of customers don’t just expect a response when they complain on social media, they expect one within an hour. It doesn’t matter if that isn’t the norm for your industry. Customers’ expectations are set by what they have experienced from other companies, even if they are outside your industry.
Poor service crushes great sales.
No matter how good your product is, bad customer service leaves you selling on a treadmill. Even the best salespeople in the world can’t keep continually finding and converting new customers. Retention is key to every business. In fact, returning customers make up 40 percent of a B2B companies revenue. Good customer service will keep your customers coming back and encourage them to refer you more business.
Gather as much feedback as you can, even if it is negative.
As we already stated only about one in 20 people will give you feedback in a way you can find it. That means that 95 percent of people have complaints about your business you’ll never year. You can’t make your business better if you don’t know what’s wrong with it. No matter what feedback customers have, deal with it empathetically and diplomatically. Baer recommends replying twice in public and either take it offline or resolve that the issue cannot be settled as the best way to deal with aggressive customers.
Great content is a trio between marketing, sales, and customer service.
Often, businesses have a silo-ed structure between sales, customer service, and marketing. Linking these departments, however, can help create the best content for your customers. When marketers know what issues customers face, they can create collateral around that. Sales people can then use this collateral to educate new customers to help avoid issues all together.
In a field like social media and marketing, best practices are always changing. But the value on good customer service will never go away. We encourage you to read Baer’s book and create your own customer service program to help better your business and your relationship with your customers.