Episode 68: How to Handle Reviews
In this show I talk to Jay Baer about how to handle reviews. Jay Baer is an international speaker and author of multiple books about marketing and customer service. It is a real honour to have him on the show. I saw him speak about the concepts behind his book Hug Your Haters at Social Media Marketing World 2015 and was blown away. It’s been a long process to get him on the show, but his contrarian views on how to handle reviews for books, backed up by research, meant that I hope you will agree it was worth the wait!
Why is the standard advice authors get to ignore all their reviews not necessarily a good idea?
Jay doesn’t know where the advice to ignore bad reviews came from but guesses that as traditionally published books cannot be changed once published then the bad reviews have no relevance. But he thinks this is bad advice.
If someone receives a poor review should they respond?
Out of the research he did for his book he found that out of 100 unhappy customers, only 5 will complain. In most cases they represent a larger batch of customers. This means that a single bad review isn’t necessarily an isolated incident but may be hiding the feelings of up to 10 readers who didn’t write a review. So you should respond to negative reviews.
If someone seems abusive what is the best way to deal with them?
We are in an environment where customer service is a spectator sport. Potential buyers can see all the reviews of a book. If someone leaves a negative review, even an abusive review, you should respond. This shows potential buyers that you are care about what people think about the book and take them seriously. Jay deals with one-star Amazon reviews in an interesting way. He offers to buy them any other book on Amazon to make up for the fact they didn’t like his book. He does this because it has a massive impact on potential buyers reading the reviews who will see Jay’s response as almost a kind of “money back guarantee”.
In the research you conducted for the book Hug Your Haters what was the thing that most surprised you?
The biggest surprise to him was that most companies think they are good at customer service (80%), but only 8% of customers think that companies give good customer service. He says that about a third of complaints are never responded to. These are mostly in social media which is public and the most important place to reply!
Is there a difference between e-mail complaints and those in social media and in reviews?
There is a difference. When people complain on the phone or by e-mail they expect a reply. That is just how the world has evolved. However when people complain online, only about 50% expect a response. But this gives a huge opportunity for authors as it differentiates you immediately if you do reply to reviews.
What is the most inspiring result you have heard from a person or company that has applied the principles from the book?
For Jay, the most gratifying result has been in the healthcare system. This is because of the way it affects people in very vulnerable health positions who previously have never been answered. Now with his help health companies are answering people in social media and improving everyone’s situation.
Is there anything you would have included or emphasised in the book if you were updating it today?
Jay didn’t self-publish the book but went with Penguin which meant it took a long time to publish. He said that due to the nature the book about customer service in the hi-tech world this meant that things had changed by the time the book was published. He said with what he knows now he would double the size of the chapter about messaging apps. They have exploded since he submitted his manuscript to Penguin. Jay imagines automated Facebook Messenger bots dealing with book complaints.