Summary: Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer
Summary: Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

Summary: Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

Most businesses think they’re providing exceptional customer service while, customer satisfaction levels across many industries hasn’t improved for decades. Eighty percent of companies say they deliver outstanding customer service, but only 8 percent of their customers agree. This book will help you close that gap by re-configuring your customer service to deliver knockout experiences.


Haters are not your problem. Ignoring them is.

Not responding a response is a response. A response that says, ‘I don’t care about you.’

Answering a single complaint on stage is essentially answering to the world. Answering complaints comes with 4 benefits.

  1. Turns unhappy customers into happy customers (generates word of mouth advertising)
  2. Creates customer advocacy
  3. Gathers insights and intelligence
  4. Differentiates yourself from the competition

The greatest advocacy comes with a response that the customer isn’t expecting. – Jay Baer


When a customer has a tantrum, the anger is not on you.

They don’t even know who you are or care about you. It’s about the situation they’re disappointed in. The reaction may be way over the top. Or not. Either way, it’s vital to remember you’re just the available outlet for the customer’s rage. Fix whatever is wrong and you can become the hero rather than the target. Also remember that the customer screaming at you may have had the worst day of his life.

In this state of mind, even if they rant and call you names, you’ll answer coolly and publicly. Understand that probably won’t change the behavior or attitude of that one person. It’s impossible to turn a crazy lemon into lemonade. The fruit is already rotten. But by replying them in public you show your temperament, values and belief that all customers deserve to be heard.


Haters complain because they care.

People give negative feedbacks because they care. To put it into perspective, think about when you unfriend someone on Facebook. If you really care about them, you would rather talk to them first before you give up on them. The same applies in customer service. They’re telling you that they’re upset but they still probably love you, which means you can easily turn it around. You are your own last chance to win them back.

Haters are not dangerous. Dangerous are those in the middle, the ‘meh’ ones who don’t take the time to complain. In fact, about 95% of the customers wouldn’t complain in a way you can find.

Hugging your hater doesn’t mean customer is always right. It means every customer is answered everywhere and every time. – Jay Baer

Offstage haters complain in private. They tend to be older and less familiar with tech than their onstage counterparts. Offstage haters are generally looking for answers (on phone and email). When handled poorly, offstage haters can turn into onstage haters. Research suggests that across all industries about 1/3 of offstage haters are unsatisfied. These unsatisfied haters can go on to rant onstage when a brand can’t resolve their issues in time.

Onstage haters complain in public. They tend to be younger and more familiar with tech than their offstage counterparts. Onstage haters are generally looking for attention and audience (on social media, forums, review sites). Facebook is the single biggest platform to find onstage haters. The onstage haters usually expect a response within one hour, when the average brand response time can be up to 5 hours. If a customer post a negative comment in public, reply them in public. Because chances are there are a thousand other people who have the same problem.

It’s also worth noting that social media costs less than both email and phone. Handling a customer on social media costs less than $1, while it costs $2-$5 on email and $6 on phone.

Finally, you can’t say ‘look just show us the influential people so we can respond to those and ignore the rest…” because people will soon figure out you’re only addressing because they’re easier to address.

You wouldn’t pick up your phone some of the time. So why would you only answer to some of the complaints? – Jay Baer

5 Obstacles to Hug your Haters

  1. There’re too many channels
  2. There’s too much feedbacks
  3. You take things personally
  4. You fear getting scammed
  5. You don’t have a customer service culture


HOURS to Hug Your Offstage Haters

  1. Be Human
  2. Use One channel
  3. Unify your data
  4. Resolve the issue
  5. With Speed

First-contact problem resolution is important. Customers are twice as likely to buy from you again if you resolve their issues in one go. Also, people hate answering twice. Unless you’re in a 15% minority who don’t mind explaining twice, you hate answering same questions again and again but to different service representatives.


FEARS to Hug your Onstage Haters

  1. Find all mentions (not all mentions come with @ handle)
  2. Display Empathy
  3. Answer publicly
  4. Reply only twice
  5. Switch channels

Meet where your customers are, not where you want them to be. If necessary, assemble a customer service SWAT team to reach places you currently cannot. Once you know where they are and what they are talking, make every effort to join the conversation. However, Jay recommends a brand should never reply a public online conversation twice.


5 Emerging Trends in Customer Service

  1. Proactive customer service
  2. Self-service (most people prefer DIY over talking to a rep)
  3. Community-based service (nurturing a helpful community can save CS costs by 10-50%)
  4. Specialized service apps
  5. Mobile messaging apps (especially among millennial)


Some businesses are taking responses to reviews to another level.

Businesses are making a bold move on creating videos showcasing the customer complaints and their responses. Go onto YouTube and you’ll see celebrities and businesses responding to mean and negative comments.


Keep the door open to encourage feedback from customers.

Let them know you’re listening their voices on review sites and that you care about their opinions. This might require a verbal mention, signage, a follow-up email or some other transaction that makes the point plain. But incentivizing  customer especially in monetary terms is half pushy, half stupid and sometimes wholly illegal.


Improve the quality of the touch point before the quantity.

Call deflection is an idea centered around the use of the Internet and social media to get rid of the service calls. Brands that rely solely on call deflection think customer calls are expensive. But a cheap social media customer service program is even more so.


It’s smart to reward those who’re providing feedback to your business for free.

Rewarding them with a 10 or 15$ gift card makes them feel grate. But is the distribution of a few undeserved gift cards sufficient grounds to not hug your haters? Many say it’s not. One out of five hundred clients truly are malicious and deceitful. But the other 499 are just wonderful people. So take those odds to Vegas every time.


Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t somehow an admission of liability. It’s a declaration of empathy.

The notion that ‘I’m sorry’ is an admission of liability is far too simplistic and is definitively an overreaction. Should companies be careful about what they say, especially in a public forum? Sure, but that doesn’t mean you can never say these three powerful words.

Did you enjoy the summary? Support the author by purchasing the original copy here.

Also check out other fantastic books by Jay Baer: