6 Leaders and Readers Who Care About Customer Service

July 6th, 2016

6 Leaders and Readers Who Care About Customer Service

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My new book, Hug Your Haters, shows businesses how to handle customer service in this disruptive, digital era. Increasingly, customer service is now a spectator sport, which makes it more difficult – and more important – to be good at it.

A few weeks ago, I asked readers of the book to provide an honest review on Amazon. (visit this link to see all reviews…a 4.9 average!). Among those readers who created a review, these six were randomly selected to be profiled here at Convince & Convert.

Let’s meet these six readers and leaders who care about customer service.

Chrissanne Long

Chrissanne LongCEO, Maximize Digital Media
Lakeland, Florida
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
If you are still sticking your head in the sand and turning off the ability for fans to write reviews on your Facebook page, thinking it’s bad for business, LISTEN UP! Hug Your Haters will walk you through real examples of businesses who leveraged reviews (even negative ones) to successfully grow their businesses.

Chrissane’s Favorite Customer Service Story
In March, 2014, Maximize Digital Media emerged after combining MSBLocal – the company Craig Hosking and I had created in 2009 with Maximize Social Media. This merger was a great step for our 3 person operation, allowing us to grow “overnight” to a team of 7 (and now, just 2 years later, we’ve grown to 9). As with any change, there were some definite growing pains.

Some of the past clients of Maximize Social Media had canceled services, due to a variety of reasons. One in particular showed a past due balance, and I initiated a conversation, so that we could resolve the balance. What occurred was pretty incredible. The client was angry, disappointed and ready to tell me all the reasons they weren’t going to pay for services. I went into the meeting with an open mind, and, quite simply, a desire to repair a relationship that had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with me.

As it turned out, I was able to learn a lot about this client, her needs, and her expectations for a marketing agency. She was able to learn about me, and what my plans were for how we were going to be running Maximize from that point on. We parted amicably, and connected via social networks. We have built a relationship since then and are currently in conversations to begin some work for her 70 year old local company. Whether or not we sign a contract today, I know that my willingness to listen, even when it wasn’t my egregious acts that created the conflict – allowed the door to remain open and the conversations to turn toward progress.

Her Favorite Social Network
Facebook

Doreen Belliveau

Doreen BelliveauManager of Communications and PR, Chatters Salons
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
The world of customer service is not black and white. Nor should the handling of their concerns be a cut and dried approach. Understanding some basic concepts, combined with some worthy statistics and best practices…and you have a current recipe for a great approach to handling customer concerns. It can be a challenging process, and one must do what makes sense for business as well as utilize the best knowledge and proven tactics in order to win over customers. Jay’s writing is full of knowledge and information but doesn’t feel like a heavy read. It’s easy to become passionate for the business-customer transactions…wherever they appear – in store or online. Hug Your Haters makes sense on many levels and leaves you with a positive vibe. Definitely recommend this to other in the B2C world.

Doreen’s Favorite Customer Service Story
Sometimes in business, “excellent” doesn’t happen. We shouldn’t be afraid of the work it takes to win back a disgruntled customer. I recently had that chance, and took the time to let the guest know we fell short. I was honest. They were eager to listen. They came back and let us take a second chance to be “excellent”. They removed a negative review and commented honestly with a recommendation, letting others know we “made it right”. Truly I feel each one of these situations is a big accomplishment. Every customer matters.

Her Favorite Social Network
Instagram

Douglas Pals

Douglas PalsFounder, Re:Sourceful Communications
Clive, Iowa
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
What I appreciate about Jay’s books, and Hug Your Haters specifically, is twofold: 1) I love how the story is woven together to feel like a novel, while being a impactful business book. This makes it an easy and enjoyable read. 2) It was great to see how the initial idea for this book changed when he did the research and learned the angle was different than expected, and if companies listen to these points, it could change how we market, communicate and relate to our customers – and them to us.

Doug’s Favorite Customer Service Story
I work most in the midwest, and often in rural areas, for companies who provide Internet or other communications services to residential and business customers. Weekly I see an employee of a client company go above and beyond in some way, just to make a customer’s life easier or better. They do it because they want to. The employee just knows this is the level of service and responsiveness required by their employer. It’s who they are; they don’t know any other way to be. This is not to say they don’t have haters, but there are fewer because of these actions. And when problems do come up, they solve them with a human touch. It’s a joy to watch.

His Favorite Social Network
Twitter

George Klein

George KleinFounder, Peoplocity (featured in Hug Your Haters as a case study)
Indianapolis, Indiana
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in improving the customer/guest/attendee/traveler/patient experience. Jay clarifies how and why customer service IS marketing, and therefore why marketing dollars MUST be spent on improving the experience at every touchpoint in your organization.

George’s Favorite Customer Service Story
One of Peoplocity’s early clients was an organization that expressed a deep passion for delivering a superior customer experience. The small in-house customer service team was trained to respond quickly to problems with a friendly and helpful attitude. The president of the organization embraced the idea of using our mobile-to-CaaS platform to communicate and engage privately with guests to share feedback and resolve issues. Like many large organizations, they were challenged with different people from various departments delivering different experiences throughout the customer journey.

In this case, a mobility-challenged guest had complained that they had always been allowed to bring in a guest in addition to their caregiver on their ‘member-plus-guest’ pass. However, on their last visit they were told that they had to pay an extra admission fee or the caregiver would be denied entry. They were embarrassed, confused, and angry.

Easy win, right? “We are so sorry! While the staffer was following rules, we will honor your pass for both a guest and caregiver. Your years of loyalty are very important to us. Please accept this gift certificate for ___ to compensate you for the inconvenience” …or something like that.

The response, however, from a manager was to quote from the rules and regulations, and to let the guest know that she was happy to explain the rule and point it out in the small print. The lesson of the story is that businesses need to be sure that every person and every department that touches and communicates with their customer is sending a clear and consistent message at every point along the customer journey. A message that indicates how the business values their loyal customers.

His Favorite Social Network
Linkedin

Mike Agron

Mike AgronFounder, WebAttract
Carmichael, California
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
Jay has once again, put his thought leadership on display by explaining the importance of understanding the “who and why” of complainers as being essential to deliver outstanding customer service. As with the sales process, objections are often buying signals, and complaints while not pleasant, offer an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. Especially today with most buyers doing their research on line before they decide to speak with you, preserving and maintaining our reputations is more critical than ever. His step by step approach to understanding why we should embrace complaints and then providing an understanding of the DNA of complaints through how to effectively deal with “haters” is a playbook that I will keep referring to keep me focused on providing great customer service. I highly recommend anyone in business to read and digest these great ideas.

How Hug Your Haters helped Mike’s business
With over 30 years working in and around high tech with major global brands or running my own businesses, it’s reinforced what are some of my core beliefs and values.

I’ve always placed a high value on keeping the customer satisfied. My personal strategy for surviving and thriving has always been to consider and put the “human or people factors” front and center in every interaction with clients, partners and vendors.

Just as “common sense” isn’t so common, the same can be said for why having the Hug Your Haters book sitting on my desk provides both inspiration and guidance that comes in handy to make sure that like the title of that great Simon and Garfunkel song, we always want to keep the customer satisfied.

His Favorite Social Network
Linkedin

Shonali Burke

shonali burkeSocial PR Strategist and founder of Social PR Virtuoso
Washington, D.C.
find on Twitter

Review Excerpt
Confession: I don’t read most of the business books that are published for my space, because they’re slightly less yawn-inducing than watching a herd of cows masticate their midday meal. How Jay does it, I don’t know, but every single book of his that I’ve read reads more like a great story than a textbook.

Using strikingly visual language, Jay walks you through the two major categories of haters, how to deal with them, how others have dealt with them, and what’s in it for you if you don’t.

HYH isn’t all “Kumbayah” and “peace and love,” though; if it were, I’d have a hard time dealing with it. Because the fact is, sometimes people *are* trolls, and there’s nothing you can to do make them happy. Jay has suggestions on how to deal with that group of uber-haters as well. But he drives home the fact that in a world of vastly-expanded and diffused marketing channels, customer service is becoming increasingly important. HYH is an invaluable manual on how to turn the other cheek and translate that into real business results.

Shonali’s Favorite Customer Service Story
When I first launched my online course, I was brand new to email marketing for my own business. I also took a very different approach to it than many other marketers do.

As a result, the first few emails I sent out to my network and prior newsletter subscribers – which were aimed at securing subscriptions for my email list – seemed to rattle quite a few folk, who reported me as spam.

It got so bad that, before my actual marketing sequence had even kicked in, my email service provider – ActiveCampaign – shut my account down.

I was devastated! Here I was, about to launch a completely new offering, the success of which would depend to a large extent on email, and I couldn’t email anyone!

I contacted ActiveCampaign about this, and they were incredibly responsive, after doing their due diligence and realizing that No, Virginia, I wasn’t a spammer. 😉 They got me up and running again very quickly, and did the same the SECOND time around – yes, there were people I KNOW who reported me as spam the second time around…!

Every time I’ve had a question, they’ve responded quickly and worked really hard to help me. They’re really terrific.

Her Favorite Social Network
Facebook

Tremendous thanks to these business leaders for their review of Hug Your Haters, and their support of customer service as a meaningful difference-maker!

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