It’s early morning when HotDoc’s support team arrive at the Melbourne office. Agnes So, HotDoc’s Support Team Leader, is often the first to buzz in, switch on the lights, and fire up the coffee machine. It’s not long after that Dan, Steph, Nicki and Katie come filing in. Which order is anyone’s guess. Within a few minutes, the office is alive with the smell of honey toast and freshly ground coffee.
It’s one of the reasons why when you ask other departments in the office what HotDoc does well, after the product itself, they almost always point to support. Being first in, often last to leave, and continually receiving 5 star feedback from clinics and patients, HotDoc’s support team has built up a reputation as being “world-class” both inside and outside of HotDoc.
Over the past 12 months, the team has achieved a customer satisfaction score of 94.8% for patient tickets and 92.6% for clinic tickets. The median response time is just 18 minutes for patients and 20 minutes for clinics. That’s not bad for a team of 5 who support the operations of 5 million patients and 17,000 GPs.
Agnes, HotDoc’s Support Team Leader, has a reputation within the company as being fiercely competitive. Whether it’s trivia, a scavenger hunt, or responding to support tickets, she plays hard. But don’t let her resolute demeanour fool you. Part of the thing that makes HotDoc’s support team so well loved by both colleagues and customers is the fun had during even the longest of days.
Agnes shares, “What gets me out of bed in the morning is definitely the team. I think we’ve done really well to pull together such a great bunch of people. Especially in support when sometimes days can be long, we really focus on keeping the energy levels high. That means every day when I hop out of bed, I’m really excited to see the team and have a bit of fun.”
Watch: Support team members share what they enjoy most about HotDoc
Fun is something Agnes and her team certainly know how to have. Whether it’s belting out karaoke on a Friday evening, running a gladiatorial sweepstake on The Bachelor, or holding a sermon for the passing of their sea monkeys (before they ordered more), Agnes and her team are masters of silliness.
Silliness aside, however, shadow the support team for even a few minutes or sit down with them at lunch and you quickly learn how switched on each of them are. Agnes, Dan, Steph, Nicki and Katie are all whip-smart problem solvers who thrive on being challenged.
Agnes explains, “We’re fantastically obsessive. We don’t give up when trying to find out why something happened the way it did. We love to solve puzzles and get excited over finding the solution to a particularly difficult or elusive issue.”
Empathy, curiosity and tenacity
When I asked Agnes what traits she looks for when she hires, she pointed to 3 key qualities: empathy, curiosity and tenacity.
“Empathy is the most important competency we look for and is non negotiable with any new hire,” Agnes says. “But curiosity is also really important. We want a potential hire to be naturally curious. They need to be constantly asking why something happened and want to dig in to find the right solution.
“And, tenacity or persistence is also really important. It means that even when we’re told no, we can go back and fight for what we think is beneficial for the customer. Even if that means trying to explain the issue in a different way, or building a use-case to really get the message across why something needs to be fixed.”
An avenue for building better products
Agnes shares, “As we’ve scaled as a company, I’ve been most proud of how our team has been able to advocate for major changes in the product. Because support is at the front line of HotDoc, we hear first hand how an issue affects a clinic and feel the frustration personally.
“We meet weekly with the product team to share customer insights and what we think should be improved. For instance, the feature that allows bookings to be added to a patient’s calendar. We pushed for Product to build that!”
This rallying for product evolution is one thing that makes HotDoc’s support team different to the support teams at many other companies.
Margaret Criggie, Practice Manager at East Devonport Medical Centre, says this is one of the things she cherishes most about HotDoc. “I really like that HotDoc listens. I can put in suggestions and see the changes being made.”
Carolyn Woods, Practice Manager at Hospital Street Doctors, shares the same sentiment. “I love the way [HotDoc] listens and works on incorporating suggestions and continual program improvements… It’s one of the things that is so good about HotDoc. I keep seeing so many improvements, including things I have suggested.”
Genuine customer relationships
But beyond their dedication to solve complex problems and push HotDoc’s products forward, what primarily leads to HotDoc’s support team getting so much positive feedback is the fact that they genuinely care about the people on the other end of the phone.
This was one of the big points of difference Practice Manager Stephanie from Centenary Medical in Queensland raised when we talked to her in June. Stephanie explains, “It’s just nice to feel like [the support team] actually care… and that they are there whenever we need them to be there.
“It used to be that if our appointments dropped out, or something went wrong, and we contacted our old booking provider, it would be 48 hours before we would even hear from somebody. And often, we would just get an email. But with HotDoc, we get a phone call immediately.
“And, you know, no question is a dumb question. The [HotDoc] team knows the products and the cause. And you know, if they don’t know – not that there’s been many times where they haven’t really known anything – but they say, ‘Look, I’m going to get back to you’ or ‘I’m going to schedule another training session when I’ve got time so we’re not rushing and we can go through it properly’. I think that’s really valuable.”
When I asked Agnes what she thought made her team “world-class” (my words, not hers), she said the same thing. “I think what makes us good at what we do is that every member of the support team has genuine care for a person’s issue.
“We know the Practice Manager names and their stories. We don’t see this as just a ‘helpdesk’ role. We actively try to build relationships with people on the other end of the phone.”
It was Gandhi that said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Perhaps, it’s a corny thing to say. Even just to name drop Gandhi in a company piece can seem a bit rich, but when you watch HotDoc’s support team in action, you realise it’s anything but inappropriate.
You can see there is a sense of pride Agnes, Dan, Steph, Nicki and Katie all get from solving the queries that come in, not only quickly, but resolutely. Their goal is not just to punch tickets, but to lose themselves by digging in and really trying to understand the people on the other end of the line and the problems they are having. That way they can do their best to permanently put a stop to issues reoccurring. And they do all this, all while having fun.