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Jay Baer, founder of marketing agency Convince & Convert, wants you to embrace customer complaints. In an upcoming book titled Hug Your Haters, the New York Times best-selling author will explore how mobile and social media technologies have sparked a customer service revolution and why complaints are big opportunities for businesses today. Featuring original data from an Edison Research study, Baer’s book will reveal two distinct types of haters and the right approach to dealing with both groups.

Bear will give a preview of his book in our exclusive webinar, Hug Your Haters: How to Minimize the Impact of Angry Customers. The live webcast on May 21 will provide an actionable, step-by-step guide for marketers on how to address negative reviews and online complaints—an important subject given the increasing costs of dealing with unhappy customers.

Tweet this!Learn how to #HugYourHaters with best-selling author @JayBaer. (CLICK TO TWEET

Jay Baer Hug Your Haters WebinarIn our Q&A below, Baer answered our questions about his book, online communities, and the top challenges facing CMOs today.

VC: Your upcoming book, Hug Your Haters, explores the right approach to addressing customer complaints. What are some examples of brands that are doing a great job of handling customer complaints?

JB: We'll profile several in the webinar, but KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Discover Card, Jet Blue really stand out in the large company category. They answer every question, in every channel, every time—and that's the Hug Your Haters formula.

For smaller companies, it's a bit hit and miss. One of my favorites is Fresh Brothers Pizza, a 14-store chain in California. They give gift cards to people who complain AND people who provide positive reviews. They hug their haters and hug their fans.

VC: Social media has made it a lot easier for customers to complain. Do you think companies are getting better at addressing customer complaints now that customers have a platform to publicly call out brands?

JB: Social (and review sites like Yelp, et al) are forcing companies to take customer service and customer experience more seriously because those interactions are increasingly public. But the research we did for the Hug Your Haters book shows that companies have a long way to go to be as thorough and as responsive as customers desire.

VC: Are all customer complaints equal?

JB: All complaints are legitimate complaints because they provide insights that can improve your business. There is no such thing as an illegitimate complaint.

Tweet this!All complaints are legitimate complaints because they provide insights that can improve your business. - @JayBaer (CLICK TO TWEET)

VC: You recently wrote a couple of blog posts about the need to return to “owned social communities.” What are the business benefits of having branded, owned communities over mainstream social networks?

JB: It's not so much about moving away from leased social, but instead using leased social to drive your customers and fans to owned social where you can interact with them, garner feedback and collect insights in a deeper, more meaningful way. Ultimately, you need both.

VC: How do you see online communities evolving in the future?

JB: It's funny, because having your own online community was all the rage among companies for a while, and then many brands deemphasized it in favor of Facebook and similar public platforms. The new focus on customer experience and customer insights (and I'm hoping Hug Your Haters will contribute a lot to that movement) is going to make having your own community a must for just about all companies of any real size.

VC: Your company Convince & Convert has worked with impressive brands like Walmart, Caterpillar and Billabong. From what you’ve seen in your work in digital marketing, what are the top challenges facing CMOs today?

JB: Making sense of big data and understanding the entire customer journey. I wrote a long blog post on that exact topic just a couple days ago:

To hear more from Jay Baer, please save your spot for Hug Your Haters: How to Minimize the Impact of Angry Customers, a live webinar on May 21. Tyler Douglas, chief marketing officer of Vision Critical, will join Baer. Attendees of the webinar will receive an exclusive Hug Your Haters infographic from Convince & Convert and Vision Critical.

How to keep your customers from cheating on you

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was the former Content Marketing Manager and was responsible for Vision Critical's blog and social media marketing program. Before joining Vision Critical's global marketing team, Kelvin worked at Dunn PR, a Vancouver-based public relations firm. His experience includes working with lifestyle, real estate, and non-profit clients to develop social media marketing and PR strategies. Kelvin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFU's Beedie School of Business.
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