Customer Is Not Always Right, But Customer Is Always Heard

the customer is not always right, but the customer is always heard

I’ve been listening to the Social Media Marketing podcast for several years now.  In the latest podcast with Jay Baer as a guest, Michael Stelzner and Jay have been talking about “Dealing with Unhappy Customers”.  Jay Baer’s new book is called “Hug Your Haters: How To Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers.“, so the conversation has been fun, filled with case studies and other good stuff.

At the social media workshop I had with MTSU students a couple of weeks ago, we talked among others about Trip Advisor, and how to reply to negative comments.  One of their questions was “Is the customer always right?”, and I loved Jay Baer’s quote:

The customer is not always right, but the customer is always heard. – Jay Baer (tweet this)

Baer says – and at LA76 we practice this religiously – that you need to answer every complaint, in every channel, every time. And when you reply, have empathy, be kind, be human. It’s harder to be angry at a person, than at a company. By receiving a human response to people’s complaint, problem or query, you can most often convert the unhappy client into a happy one, or at least provide what you need to solve the problem and give yourself / your company an opportunity for a second chance.  Your reply to any comment, especially negative one, will be viewed not only by the person you’re replying to, but the entire community, so by showing that you care you communicate much more than just this  one response to an unhappy client.

The other day I saw on Mashable a brilliant Trip Advisor reply from a coffee shop owner to a very unhappy client.  It happened at Bennet’s Cafe & Bistro in York.  With 432 “excellent” ratings on TripAdvisor, it’s ranked 11th out of 696 restaurants in the city. It’s been called “lovely,” “excellent,” and a place that offers “gorgeous” meals in recent posts.

One customer, however, bucked the trend. Hannah C. from North Yorkshire was so angry she was charged £2 for a hot water and lemon she took to TripAdvisor to vent her fury in a missive entitled “Over-priced and very rude staff.”

“This place is absolutely awful,” she began. Hannah, who was “on a tight budget,” took umbrage at the cost of her drink and got into an argument with a waiter about the price of lemons versus the price of a pot of tea, which she claims the waiter said is the same.  “To show just how ridiculous this is, my friend ordered a slice of chocolate cake which was £1.90,” she added. Hannah left the “dreadful place” vowing never to go back.


In response, the manager decided to break down the economics of running a cafe for the money conscious customer, to explain why she actually wasn’t “ripped off.”

“You entered the cafe and the waiter showed you to your seat, gave you a menu, waited for a time and then took your order. He entered it into the till, collected a cup, saucer and spoon and took them into the kitchen. There, he selected a knife, chopping board, got a lemon from the fridge, cut off a slice and put it in the cup,” the response began.

The manager continues to break down the waiter’s tasks, estimating that serving the customer took two to three minutes’ work, before continuing:

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I wanted to copy you the direct link to the review, but it looks like that after this got viral, the unhappy reviewer removed her review.

What do you think, do you agree that the customer is not always right? Are you listening to your customers, and replying to all comments, positive and negative ones?

Facebook Marketing Declines – What Should You Do About It?


Do you use Facebook to promote your business, and are wondering how the recent Facebook algorithm changes will affect your marketing?  I loved this social media marketing podcast episode by Michael Stelzner, interviewing Mari Smith and Jay Baer, who share some thoughts on the recent Facebook algorithm changes and give some tips on what should you do about it.

As AdAge writes, “Facebook is being more blunt about the fact that marketers are going to have to pay for reach.  If they haven’t already, many marketers will soon see the organic reach of their posts on the social network drop off, and this time Facebook is acknowledging it.  In a sales deck obtained by Ad Age that was sent out to partners last month, the company states plainly:  “We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.

In December, an article by Ignite Social Media showed that brands saw massive declines in organic reach that month.  Jay Baer says that a large number of brands on Facebook have seen a decline in organic reach, but there are other brands that have not been impacted by the change at all.  – What was your experience? Did you notice a decline, or not?

Mari Smith says – and I agree – you can have brand loyalty no matter what size your business is.  What is important is the quality content and how much your fans engage with it.

How to see how your organic reach is doing, and how to work on it?  Don’t forget to regularly check your Facebook Insights to see how your content is performing, and most importantly, which content is better perceived by your fans.  That way you can plan your Facebook strategy accordingly and offer your fans a content they enjoy, find useful, and engage in.

Jay Baer doesn’t think the new changes on Facebook are necessarily a reason to be concerned.  He feels it’s the natural evolution of what was formerly an immature industry, which is now more mature.  It’s becoming more about the media and less about the social.  It’s not as if Facebook doesn’t work anymore, it’s just different than it was before.  Mary Smith adds that besides advertising, she has put a lot more money into community building. She has developed a reputation for being someone who responds and now has a team whose sole job it is to respond to questions on her fan page.  – Question for you: Do you use your social media channels only for promoting your content, or to really engage with your fans and community?

You can listen to the entire podcast here, or see more notes from it on the Social Media Examiner page here. Cover image via Mashable.

You can post your questions related to Facebook marketing in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, and I’ll be happy to help you solve it.