Jay Baer, the founder of Convince & Convert, is a genius when it comes to developing social media and customer service strategies.
He has helped countless big name companies, including Allstate and The United Nations, boost their brand and improve their image with customers.
Today, he sits down to discuss details from his top-selling book, Hug Your Haters.
Plus, he offers his expertise and insight on social customer service’s two complaining customer types: the onstage and offstage haters.
Where Are the Haters?
The term “haters” is not meant to be derogatory. Instead, Baer uses it as a catchy way to point out how companies need to embrace their complaining customers. Often, doing so not only solves their problems but keeps them loyal. Furthermore, it prevents any brand tarnishing online.
Who Are the Onstage Complainers?
Those consumers who are onstage complainers are ones that take their complaints online. They might post a review through a website or reach out on social media and leave a negative complaint there. Baer points out that the onstage group is much younger, social media savvy, and has no qualms about complaining in public.
Onstage complainers are damaging for businesses because they can quickly ruin a company’s reputation.
How Does a Company Help the Onstage Complainers?
For onstage complainers, Baer recommends the FEARS approach, which includes:
- F: Find complaints and mentions on social media. That means searching for keywords, hashtags, and so forth.
- E: Display empathy online to control what happens after a complaint is made.
- A: Answer the customer publicly to exceed expectations, but also show the public that a company cares.
- R: Reply only twice to that client. Baer says that answering with empathy and inviting them to contact the company directly is suitable. Once two responses are made, a company can leave it at that. A lengthy tit-for-tat conversation with a customer online is not worth a company’s time, because that consumer is most likely not interested in repairing the relationship.
- S: Switch channels by taking the complaint from Facebook to the phone or email. This privatizes the complaints and solutions. A company must, however, offer a connection option that works for the consumer. Some customers prefer to keep it digital, so ask them to email or chat online.
Who Are the Offstage Complainers?
Offstage complainers are those who are not publicly complaining about a company. Instead, they email or phone their complaints directly to the customer service line. While these are less damaging to a company’s reputation, they must be handled promptly.
Baer points out that ignore an offstage complainer could turn them quickly towards onstage complaints – which are devastating for a company.
How Does a Company Handle Offstage Complaints?
Now that everyone knows it is important to deal with offstage complaints, Baer offers a different acronym for how to manage these consumers.
Baer refers to the HOURS acronym to handle offstage complaints:
- H: Give the customer human Whether it is a phone call, email, or chat, this consumer wants to talk to a person – not a robot. Furthermore, Baer says to get rid of phone trees and email auto responses that do not provide the human factor.
- O: Baer recommends using just one channel. While shifting channels is critical for onstage complaints, the offstage complaint must be resolved through the communication method used by that customer.
- U: Unify the data, so that all customer service representatives have access to the same information. Therefore, if a client calls in later, their complaints via email can be pulled up by an agent helping them over the phone or vice-versa.
- R: Most importantly, the customer service representative must work to resolve the issue. While they might not be able to solve every complaint, offering a solution or alternative helps the client’s experience.
- S: Lastly is speed. A customer wants to feel important, so they need to feel as though a company is ready to solve their complaint as quickly as possible – not bounce them from department to department.
Deploy Strategies for Both Groups
A company’s customer service is successful only if they know how to handle the two main types. The procedure for onstage should never be the same as offstage.
When companies put customers first, they will notice an increase in positive feedback, decreased online complaints, and consistent brand loyalty.