Customer Service Rep of the Year – Ludy Sousa, Hub Pen

When emailing Hub Pen Company about an order, it’s common for customers to cc: Ludy Sousa. It’s more than peace of mind – it’s reassurance that their product will be handled with care and delivered without a hitch. If Sousa is involved, it’s in good hands.

“I take pride in what I do, and I’m proud that I do the best job I can,” Sousa says. “I take care of my customers the way I would like to be taken care of.”

A 30-year veteran of the customer service field, Sousa has been calming nerves before the fidget spinner ever left the junk drawer. She spent 26 years with auto glass manufacturer Pilkington North America before layoffs shredded its workforce. For the past four years, she’s been a customer service representative for Hub Pen, supporting about 650 clients and greatly contributing to the supplier’s five-star rating in ESP.

“I love talking to people,” Sousa says. “I’m laid back, easy going, nothing seems to bother me. I’m still close to a lot of my customers from the other company. It’s like a family.”

Hub Pen President Joe Fleming says Sousa inspires the entire customer service team. “Ludy is the embodiment of all the skills you need in a customer service person – and then some,” Fleming says. “She has a great work ethic, super knowledge of product, and is patient and reliable. The most spectacular thing about Ludy is how much she cares for her customers. She will do everything and anything to make sure a job gets done right and on time, and she does it all with a smile on her face and a smile in her voice.”

Best of the Best
Admittedly old-school, preferring to converse with customers over the phone, Sousa realizes that emails and automation make things easier in the breakneck pace of the promotional products industry. However, she still calls her customers on occasion just to touch base. “It’s good to know the person’s voice,” Sousa says. “You can tell how people feel when you speak to them. There’s a rapport there.”

In her relatively short tenure in the industry, Sousa has already established a strong bond with many distributors. “She is by far my favorite customer service rep,” says David O’Connell, owner of Premium Specialties (asi/298950). “Ludy is always upbeat, friendly and extremely helpful. She has a great sense of humor and is always willing to help me when I have a special request.”

Barbara Berman, owner of BG Berman Enterprises (asi/129185), shares that sentiment. “Ludy is the best customer service rep in the industry. I’ve been selling promotional products for over 50 years and she is tops. She is so helpful and conscientious on each and every order as well as with any questions,” Berman says.

Tricia Shaw, general manager at B&B Awards and Recognition, has experienced Sousa’s trademark stellar service quite a few times, but she outdid herself earlier this year. Shaw’s father Dick Manard, the owner of B&B, decided to order ink pens for his 50th wedding anniversary party. However, he ordered them at the very last minute. Luckily, the order was under Sousa’s watchful eyes. “She babysat my order and made sure it went out without overnight shipping charges,” Shaw says. “I was, and still am, so grateful that she took the time to give this particular order some extra care.”

Of course, customer service can be a tense, emotionally draining job. It’s the company’s front line and mistakes do happen. That’s when the foundation of Sousa’s success – her empathy and compassion for customers – kicks into gear.

“If somebody is having a bad day, sometimes you just happen to be the person that picks up the phone,” Sousa says. “I’m not a snappy person – I don’t lose my cool. If they want to vent, I just listen and apologize – you have to be there for that customer no matter what.”