Jason West is a Squad Lead for Hudl. He manages the Elite Support Team in the US, which is a group that helps support Hudl’s Elite customers such as NBA, NHL and top level college basketball teams. He’s always looking for ways to improve and going out of his way to provide a world class experience.

I recently called my cable company after they made an error on my bill, which went about as poorly as you could imagine. During the call it felt like I was just going round and round with them to finally get it corrected. At one point I thought to myself “It just doesn’t seem like they care.” Since I work in our support department at Hudl, I took some time to think about how companies treat their customers.

I think there are a few key items that factor into the customer’s overall feeling after interacting with a support team.

  • Personality – Have you ever called a company and could tell the person is reading from a script? They have to ask “x” questions or mention the current promotion before actually helping solve the issue you called about. I would rather joke with the support agent about how I forgot my password for the fifth month in a row when I log in to pay my mortgage and enjoy a laugh with them. At Hudl, we value the personal connection our support agents can bring to a conversation. This is important because the customer knows they are talking to a real person that cares about them and not just getting them off the phone or following a script. The conversation should have some flow to it and go where the customer wants it to go. We want to build a relationship and connect with our users beyond the issue they are calling about. If you want to talk about the weather or the baseball team in the city you’re in, you should have the option to bring that up. 
  • Speed – Looking back at my encounter with my cable company, one of the most frustrating things was just how long it took. I waited on hold for 10-15 minutes and then it was another 5-10 minutes to get the issue fixed. In my opinion, one of the most painful things is waiting in line, whether that is at the grocery store or calling customer service. If someone has an issue they should be able to get in touch with you quickly and once they are talking with you it should be a priority to get it fixed ASAP. At Hudl, we shoot to respond to an email asking for help within 20 minutes and generally our phone hold time is less than 30 seconds, even in our busiest times of the year. 
  • How easy was it? – It sure is nice when things are easy. When you have a problem with a product or service it is bad enough that you have to call in to get someone to help you. Did you have to explain your problem to three different people and wait on hold multiple times to get to the right department or go through a pre-recorded prompt of 9 different numbers to select what you hope was the right area? When I think about my best experience as a customer I can get help quick and talk with someone who is knowledgeable. At Hudl, everyone in our support department is expected to know all of our products. This has become more difficult as the company has expanded to other sports and products we’ve acquired but it pays off big with our customers. When someone calls in needing to talk to someone and they have 4 or 5 questions, that’s right in our wheelhouse. 
  • How do I (as a consumer) feel after I hang up? – I get a good feel for my experience with a support team after I hang up and think “How do I feel, right now?” When I talked to my cable company, I got off the phone I felt like I just went a few rounds in a boxing ring. Part of me hurt but part of me felt accomplished that I got the issue resolved, like I had overcome a giant obstacle. I think one of the most important things in customer service is making sure to make things right. We have had cases as a company where our software doesn’t perform or they run across a bug that blocks them from using it to the best of their ability but we strongly encourage and empower our employees to make it right with the user. A prime example of this is when a coach spends hours breaking down a football game and the stats they input disappear for one reason or another. We have had multiple people talk with an understandably upset user and let them know they were personally going to redo the stats and save the coach the time and effort of doing it all over again. 
  • It’s not about you – Have you ever been to a restaurant and you could tell the waiter or waitress is having a bad day or they really just don’t want to be there? This has to be one of the most irritating things I have encountered in the world of customer service. It shouldn’t be about how little sleep you got the night before or if you talked to another customer that was so mad they yelled at you. Each person you interact with in customer service should be treated as the most important person you talk to that day and without any bias of the previous interaction. The saying we have at Hudl is “Hang up, Breathe, Dominate.” We definitely have to deal with some sticky issues but you have to separate those cases and treat each new call like it is the President calling for help. 

It may seem obvious but some of the smallest things can carry the greatest weight in leaving a  positive impression on customers. The end goal is not only to help them out and solve their problem but also ensuring they have a positive experience and feel comfortable coming back to your company in the future.