Last bite: Jay Baer

American marketing consultant and author Jay Baer is a keynote speaker at the FCSI The Americas 2016 Conference in Nashville. He tells Michael Jones about his new book, Hug Your Haters

Q What’s the secret to attracting more customers while keeping the ones you already have?
A It’s two sides of the same coin. If you work hard to keep your current customers, they’ll talk to their friends and some of them will become new customers. The old saying is that “advertising is a tax paid for being unremarkable”. I believe a better way to phrase it is “advertising is a tax paid when you don’t try hard enough to keep your current customers”.
Q Is foodservice different from other sectors in terms of the challenge of retaining and attracting customers?
A The biggest challenges for foodservice are volume of customer interactions and the financial impact of any one customer. In Hug Your Haters I quote a fast-food franchise operator who said, “I don’t really care about customer service. I just want to make food, and have them pay me for it.” When your average guest check is $8, it can be difficult to understand why you’d want to invest time and resources in proactive customer service.
Q Do the marketing principles you teach to Fortune 500 firms also apply to a smaller retailer or restaurant operator?
A They are fundamentally the same. The Hug Your Haters formula is to answer every customer complaint, in every channel, every time. The differences between large and smaller companies are simply the number
of complaints, software, and scale.
Q Should foodservice operators “hug their haters” too?
A No industry benefits more from hugging their haters than foodservice operators. The impact on customer advocacy when complaints are answered (especially online) is enormous – as much as 30% according to the proprietary research conducted for the book. Foodservice is so driven by word of mouth and online reviews, that not addressing customer feedback is a perilous decision.
Q Which foodservice companies really understand marketing and customer service?
A In Hug Your Haters I cite several great foodservice examples. Le Pain Quotidien seeks to get MORE complaints, not fewer, because they know that customer feedback is how you find your shortcomings. Fresh Brothers Pizza answers every online review, both positive and negative. Scotty’s Brewhouse answers every customer in every channel.
Q You’re the most retweeted person in the world by digital marketers. What’s the trick to getting more followers on Twitter?
A Be consistent, be pithy, and give more than you get.
Q As an avid tequila collector, what’s your top tip for a great tequila?
A I grew up in Arizona and went to college within an hour of the Mexican border, so tequila was omnipresent. Seek out an anejo, it’s nothing like the gasoline you did shots of as a reckless youth.

Michael Jones

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