How to Use Social Customer Service to Improve Your Business


Jay Baer is no stranger to social media and customer experiences.

In fact, he is the brainchild behind Convince & Convert – a digital marketing powerhouse that supplies services to some of the biggest brands in the country, including The United Nations, Allstate, Cabela’s, and Cisco.

Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters, is essentially a modern-day customer service manual. It teaches online companies, both small and large, how to increase customer feedback and decrease the number of online complaints they receive. Baer’s second book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype, was third on the New York Times best seller list. It is also a number one best seller on

The blog Baer hosts on his website was listed as the global number one content marketing blog by Content Marketing Institute – further illustrating Baer’s expertise in online marketing.

Jay was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about social customer service. More importantly, he dove into why a company needs it and how they can do it right for better customer experiences all around.


The Face-to-Face Private Advantage is Over

The reason behind Baer’s books and lessons on his website is the fact that the era of private customer service is over.

Back in the day, customer service representatives handled complaints over the phone, in-person, or by private emails. If the company was not great at customer service, no one would know. Customers could talk about their negative experience to their friends, but they couldn’t damage a large company by spreading their complaints via word of mouth.

However, thousands of people now know how companies operate, because they can read reviews online. So businesses and their customer service departments are now at a disadvantage. It is easy for a single customer to permanently tarnish the reputation of a company and penalize them for their poor customer service skills.

Answers Are the Most Critical

When Baer started working on his book, thought that speed was the most critical part of customer service. He turned out to be wrong.

While speed is important, the most important thing, Baer found, is that a company answers complaints and inquiries. They should answer all of their customers, regardless of how negative the claim might be. Sadly, in his research, he found that one-third of customer complaints are ignored.

No response, according to Baer, is a response to that consumer. No response tells them that the company does not care about them. Answering doesn’t necessarily mean the company will fix their problem either, but it tells a customer:

  • The company cares about them.

  • The company is advocating for their consumer’s happiness.

  • The company is willing to hear and learn from consumer complaints.

The Results from Responding

Baer points out that simply responding surprises customers. After all, they assume that if they reach out on social media, they will not see a response. So, exceeding expectations can improve a company’s image via social media.

Valuable Customers Are Those That Have Had Issues in the Past

Interestingly, Baer notes that the most financially valuable customers for a company are those that have had an issue that the corporation fixed. For starters, a company is retaining customers, so they do not have the costs of replacing them. Furthermore, clients who feel like they matter will be more dedicated to a brand.

Take a Look at the Discover Card Example

Discover Card knows how to retain valuable customers. When other cards started offering the cash-back incentives that had made Discover unique, they knew they had to change their strategy. Anyone who has seen the advertisement for Discover Card knows that they promise to answer every client, regardless of how they reach out, within 20 minutes, 24/7. That is the core of their latest marketing effort – providing great customer service.

According to Baer, it was highly successful too.

How to Improve Customer Service? Do an Honesty Audit

An honesty audit is a cross-section of customer interactions – by social media, email, and phone. It helps a company determine the volume of consumer inquiries, the type of questions they ask, and when or how long it takes the company to respond.

It is referred to as the “honesty audit,” because companies will tell themselves they are doing better than they really are. If a company were to perform a real honesty audit, they might realize that their customer service department is understaffed.

Furthermore, the honesty audit highlights obvious gaps in service performance, such as:

·       Improvement: Once issues are identified in the honesty review, a company has something to hone in on and fix. They can ask themselves what they need to do to improve, and what steps they can use to exceed expectations of their customers.

·       Time: Companies can see how long it takes to connect with a customer and strive to improve that. It might mean hiring more representatives or offering more FAQs online to reduce the number of inbound inquiries.

·       Unique Spin: Furthermore, a company can look for their unique spin that they will use to help their customers. Whether it means answering questions with a video, training reps to be more empathetic, or using better software, there is a unique lesson somewhere.

Different Techniques for the Two Types of Complainers

One important item that Baer highlights is how important it is to understand and target the two main types of complainers.

1. The Offstage Complainer

The offstage complainer is one that keeps their complaints private. They will email or phone in their complaints to the company.

2. The Onstage Complainer

This complainer has no problems with taking their issue public. They are the type that will complain via social media and online review websites.

Millennials tend to be the onstage complainer groups, and they don’t expect to hear back about their complaints. Responding to them can surprise them ­­– and win you their loyalty.

Create a Strategy for Each

One last thing to note is that Baer highlights how a company must know their two main types and then create strategies that handle each one differently. Naturally, the way an onstage complainer is helped is different from an offstage complainer.

Bottom Line: Social Customer Service is Vital

When a company wants to improve their customer service response and quality of reviews online, they must audit themselves, create better strategies, and ultimately put the client first.

Learn more about social media marketing and keeping customers loyal by visiting Jay Baer’s website or by reading his books.


About Jay Baer

Jay Baer is the world's most retweeted person among digital marketers. He is a renowned business strategist, keynote speaker and the New York Times best-selling author of five books who travels the world helping businesspeople get and keep more customers. Jay has advised more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Allstate, The United Nations and 32 of the FORTUNE 500. He is the founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm that helps prominent companies gain and keep more customers through the smart intersection of technology, social media, and customer service. His Convince & Convert Media division owns the world's #1 content marketing blog, the world's top marketing podcast, and many other education resources for business owners and executives. The creator of five multi-million dollar companies, Jay is an active venture capitalist and technology advisor, as well as an avid tequila collector, and certified barbecue judge.