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Hug Your Haters: A Groundbreaking New Book by Jay Baer

Don’t get me started. People just want to complain and complain and shout from their Facebook page. I say forget it!

This was the start of a very bumpy ride with a cab driver recently. He saw me on my phone, asked me if I was one of those who “did Facebook.” I confirmed I was, indeed, someone who “did Facebook.” He went off on a five-minute rant about how he can’t take it. His boss tells me him people complain but he believes they aren’t even his customers.

Jay Baer - Hug Your Haters

Nobody complains to me! They complain on the Internet. Makes no sense!

He was clearly agitated and looking for some confirmation, but I couldn’t reinforce his beliefs. I looked around his dirty cab with grime-covered windows and assessed my experience as his customer. He didn’t want to hear from me. He was in total control in the moment of interaction, so it didn’t seem like the time to say his car was dirty, his attitude stunk and his driving wasn’t great, either.

After he drops me off, I decided, I’ll leave a review on Facebook.

Are you embracing your customer complaints?

I wish I could have handed that cab driver a copy of Jay Baer’s latest book, Hug Your Haters, right then and there. He could stand to read it.

Jay Baer

Hug Your Haters is an important read for anyone who actually cares about customers and the experience they offer. Complainers are louder, more prevalent and more numbered than ever before. It’s easy for business leaders to decide that all these channels for complaints – social media, user forums, online reviews – are just too difficult to really keep up with in today’s world. So they give up.

What Jay does in this book, with the help of some amazing new research from Tom Webster and his firm, Edison Research, is explain what motivates the different types of complainers and how businesses need to address them differently. Not all of them need *as much* attention as you might assume, but they all need something. And the best companies respond in ways that actually reinforce loyalty and create new customers by showcasing how well they handle issues.

Your product, service and overall organization are easy to copy. The best companies use service as a way to stand above competitors, regardless of product or pricing imitations. Jay outlines how in today’s world, there are two types of haters.

  1. Offstage Haters – these are the people who really just want an issue resolved. They use traditional channels and are happy with getting a response or issue addressed.
  2. Onstage Haters – these are the people who complain with AN AUDIENCE. They share their emotional journeys with companies very loudly and with the hope of sharing grievances with not only the company, but also with their friends, allies and other customers or prospects.
'The best companies use #CustomerService as a way to stand above competitors' - @jeanniecwClick To Tweet

I thought this distinction was very clever and very true! Jay breaks it down further with The Hatrix and some really fun stories of royal pain reviewers! It’s a fun read but it’s also a breakthrough for business today.

We also had the great opportunity to interview Jay Baer for our podcast, Crack The Customer Code. Jay paints a vivid picture of what complainers really want today, and it’s a terrific interview.



I hope you’ll get and read this book and share it with your entire customer service group. Customers are not going out of their way to complain – except when they are. It’s up to us to figure out how to handle them.

It’s time to hug your haters!


About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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