Customer Service Is the New Branding with Jay Baer

March 14, 2016

jay baer

“Every single time you respond to a customer complaint it increases advocacy. Every time you don’t it decreases it.” Jay Baer would know. For his new book Hug Your Haters, Jay didn’t just write about what he thought and felt about customer complaints. He commissioned a study from Edison Research to better understand the role customer service plays in how we build brands online. We talked about all of this — including his upcoming keynote at Social Brand Forum 2016 — on this week’s On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a marketing and online customer service expert and eye-opening keynote speaker who has advised more than 700 brands since 1994 including The United Nations, Nike, Cisco, Allstate and 32 of the FORTUNE 500 companies.

Jay is the most re-tweeted person in the world among digital marketers and is the President of Convince And Convert, a consulting firm where he and his team help companies gain and keep more customers. Jay also publishes the world’s #1 content marketing blog, the #1 marketing podcast, and a daily email newsletter.

He is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, an avid tequila collector and a certified barbecue judge.

Episode Highlights

hyh-bookThe story behind the Convince and Convert brand name. We kicked things off by talking a bit about Jay’s brands. “It’s a bit of a balancing act between the Convince and Convert brand and the Jay Baer brand. I very purposefully wanted to create something that wasn’t just me. Initially I was going to specialize in conversion rate optimization.” Hence, convince and convert. While the brand has gone a different direction, it’s growth has been phenomenal over the past 8 years as it’s morphed from a solo blog to an agency and content platform including a robust podcast network.

The book Jay almost wrote instead of Hug Your Haters. “The book was initially going to be about how speed is the killer app. The original title of that book was Under an Hour.” As Jay reviewed the research commissioned to support the ideas in the book, he realized it wasn’t really about speed. It was about responsiveness.

“There are no incentives to be great and no disincentives for being terrible.” That’s changing. “Customer service is now a spectator sport. It used to be that only your customers would know if you don’t respond.” Now all of this happens in front of an audience. You have what Jay calls off-stage complaints and on-stage complaints.

“Remember, no response is a response.” By choosing not to respond to a customer online you’re essentially saying, ‘we don’t care.’ This takes resources and careful integration of customer service and CRM data. But it’s even riskier to do nothing. As Jay quipped, “It’s not that easy but it’s not a moon launch either.”

What brands are doing great at hugging their haters? Jay told the story of Discover overcoming expectations in the financial services sector with their new initiatives. He referenced KLM’s 150 full-time employees working in social media customer service who can offer responses around the clock in 14 languages.

What brand has made Jay smile recently? Last week Starbucks controversially changed how their loyalty program works. Jay loved that they responded by personally answering every single person on social media. Talk about hugging your haters!

To learn more, follow Jay on Twitter and check out the for Hug Your Haters website. Remember, you can get a FREE copy when you register for this year’s Social Brand Forum in Iowa City, which Jay is speaking at. Plus if you are one of the NEXT FIVE (5) to register and email your receipt to nick at westergaard dot com I will personally send you a copy of Hug Your Haters right now! 

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …
Paul Warner in Spokane, Washington gave a shout to recent episode I did of The Business of Story podcast, coincidentally a part of the Convince and Convert podcast network. Thanks Paul!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

Last but not least …

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  • And finally a reminder that On Brand is brought to you by the Social Brand Forum. This premier digital marketing experience takes place September 22-23 in beautiful Iowa City, Iowa. Learn from experts like Jay Baer, Joe Pulizzi, and Gini Dietrtich in the heart of the heartland. Listeners of the show get the best rate when they register using promo code ONBRAND at

Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.