Hulu keeps customer focus at the center of their brand

4 Ways Hulu Makes Customer Focus the Heart of Their Business Strategy (and How You Can Do the Same)

The first time I ever binge-watched a show was on Hulu watching Lost years ago (if you know, you know). It opened my eyes to a whole new way to consume my favorite shows. And now, as companies like Disney, Paramount, and Discovery tack a plus sign onto the end of their names and launch into the streaming world, Hulu remains.

Hulu is now one of the longest-standing TV and movie streaming services, rivaling only Netflix in tenure. In fact, it was the first streaming service to offer TV shows as opposed to just movies. As Netflix launched their movie streaming service in 2007, consumers stopped paying for cable television to live the on-demand life. But, people still missed network TV shows. So, Hulu stepped up to fill the gap. They created a streaming service where everyone could get their fill of The Simpsons even if they couldn’t catch it on Sunday night. 

Since then, competition for streaming has been fierce, as business giants like Amazon and television networks like HBO and NBC have joined the ranks. 

To stay fresh and keep up with the competition, Hulu doubled down to improve the customer experience based on customer feedback. Just recently, Hulu made major design and structural changes to their platform to give customers what they want. 

Hulu listens to their customers. And they’re willing to make big changes to their service and platform in order to maintain their customer focus. When you use Hulu, it’s clear they value the customer experience over anything else. And that’s why we’re crushing on Hulu this month. 

Here are four ways Hulu puts customer focus at the heart of their strategy–plus a few tips on how you can adopt their strategies in your own contact center.

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1. They pay attention to customer feedback – and act on it

Hulu made big changes to their service options in 2017 when they launched Hulu + Live TV. The service is basically a simplified version of live cable television (still offering a whopping 65 channels), plus the entire Hulu streaming library of movies and shows. It’s a pretty good deal. And customers flocked to Live TV to watch sports without paying for cable.

But the enormous streaming library and Live TV became too complicated for most users to navigate. And customers were loud and clear in complaining about it. Hulu could have ignored or dismissed these complaints, but they didn’t. Instead, Hulu addressed these issues head-on, admitting when they had problems.

“We’ve learned a ton over the last six months too, especially by listening very closely to our viewers and community on social, in forums and through the feedback you’ve given through our Viewer Experience Advocates. And we agree there are a number of enhancements that we can make to improve the viewing experience even more.”

Ben Smith, the Head of Experience at Hulu, in a 2017 blog post

In 2020, Hulu redesigned the platform to be more user-friendly and keep up with the streaming service trends. Hulu listened to customer feedback and upgraded their UX design to make navigation and discovery better.

How to use this method to focus on your customer experience:

Don’t brush off complaints assuming they’re unfounded or one-off situations. Pay attention to customers’ feedback–both positive and negative–and look for trends. If you spot a common theme running through customer comments, write it down and make real changes in your customer experience.

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2. They partner with other companies to offer better packages

Hulu has the biggest television catalog of any streaming service. But they also provide a ton of other entertainment categories so customers have a one-stop shop for quality content. They’ve built good relationships with large TV networks for quite some time, but lately, they branched out with other partnerships.

Hulu recently partnered with Disney to provide better packages for their customers. Right now, they offer a killer package that includes Hulu + Live TV, Disney+, and ESPN+ for $72 a month. (Apart from Stranger Things, I don’t know why else you would ever need any other streaming service with a deal like that). The package is cheaper than most cable TV options, and you get hundreds of movies on top of 65+ live cable channels. And sports. 

Hulu also partners with other popular movie and TV stations to give customers an even larger library of new movies at cheaper prices than movie tickets.

Hulu keeps up with the competition to maintain a focus on every customer

These partnerships keep Hulu desirable because they appeal to a mass audience. Anyone and everyone can find something to watch. And that’s what gives Hulu a competitive edge. Some streaming services appeal mostly to children, others mostly to adults. But Hulu has found ways to appeal to a wide range of consumers without having to pour money into all their own content under the Hulu umbrella. 

These strategic partnerships keep their in-house costs down and their customers happy.

How to use this method to focus on your customer experience:

Your company doesn’t have to appeal to everyone to work. In fact, it’s important to find your niche in your industry and stick to it. But once you know what that niche is, continue to seek out new ways to appeal to your customer base and make life easier for them. Partner with companies to bring better services to your customers without breaking the bank. 

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3. They offer a fantastic help center for new and existing customers

To mitigate common customer questions, Hulu does everything they can to offer proactive service and answer questions before you need to reach out for help.

When you first land on Hulu’s Help Center, you see a pop-up window that offers help for common customer questions. They immediately service up help to questions for both prospective and existing customers. For prospective customers, Hulu gives an overview of “Top things to know” so you’re well-informed about how Hulu works and what to expect.

For existing customers, Hulu offers help with login trouble (because let’s be honest, if you’re like me you can’t remember your password), device support, plans, and pricing. 

Hulu's customer help center is intuitive and easy

If your question goes beyond those standard issues, Hulu lays out more FAQs in categories that get pretty specific. They answer questions on topics like “Disney bundle FAQs,” “Buffering issues,” and “Navigating the latest Hulu app.” They even provide a community space where users can vote for ideas and swap tips with other customers. Talk about stellar service. 

How to use this method to focus on your customer experience:

Pay attention to your customers’ most common questions and help them help themselves. Use your call center data to identify trends and repetitive customer questions, and then beat customers to the punch with prescriptive service. Answer common questions on your website or in your customer portal before your customers need to reach out for help. Customers appreciate when you’ve thought through their journey and proactively meet their needs. Offering answers to common questions in a self-service portal is a super simple way to do that. 

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4. They focus on the user – not just the buyer

Hulu is what Harvard Business Review calls a usage brand. Their focus is all about the customers using their product. While they want to persuade customers to purchase their product, they care more about encouraging their customers to use it. A lot of digital companies live in this “usage brand” category because the end goal is to help users, not just buyers. (Ahem, this is why we focus on the agent experience at Sharpen). 

Hulu is one usage brand knocking it out of the park in UX (after a nudge from their customers and turning feedback into action). Their interface works on most devices and platforms. You can stream Hulu from your laptop, phone, AppleTV, Roku, you name it. They know their customers use their service in many different ways, across dozens of devices.

Hulu’s new user experience sorts movies and TV shows in a variety of ways to fit the interests of different viewers. They’ve got categories ranging from genre to Oscar-Nominated films to Most Popular series. And, they give you options based on your own user history so you can find other titles that fit your viewing interests.

Hulu focuses on users not just buyers

For Hulu, brand experience is the goal. They want the user experience to feel easy and fun every step of the journey. 

How to use this method to focus on your customer experience:

Pay attention to your customers’ habits and interests. In the call center, the deal is closed, so you’re serving customers past the purchase point. Now, it’s your job to maintain your customer focus and keep customers engaged with the products and services you offer.  Do what you can to customize the user experience so customers feel unique and heard. Keep a pulse on your customer journey, how your customers interact with your brand after the sale, and what they want out of their overall experience. Then, work with your team and peer leaders to deliver on it.

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