Netflix gets it–swift and proactive steps when you goof up

March 27, 2008

Netflix had a problem with the delivery of their DVDs. Here is the message they sent to subscribers:

We’re Sorry Your DVD Was Delayed

Dear Paul,

As you may have heard, our shipping system was unexpectedly down for most of Monday. We should have shipped you a DVD but were unable to. Your DVD was shipped today, Tuesday, March 25th, instead.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. We will issue a 5% credit to your account in the next few days. You don’t need to do anything. The credit will be automatically applied to your next billing statement.

Again, we apologize for the delay and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

And here is how their quick and proactive response was evaluated by Bulldog Reporter.

Here’s what Netflix spokesperson said about it:

“The key thing here is: This was completely proactive on Netflix’s part. There’s no requirement for Netflix to do this, no obligation. There was no request for it. We thought it was the right thing to do,” Swasey told AP writer Amanda Fehd.

The question to me always is trust. Did the action taken work to increase trust or decrease it? An argument could be made that most might not have noticed the glitch, so why bring the vulnerability of their shipping systems to the attention of customers. But that is old thinking. The few who would know could easily be vocal, use their blogs and blogsites to let people know that something went seriously wrong at Netflix but they pretended nothing happened and hoped you wouldn’t notice. And suddenly, something that is relatively minor undermines the trust and confidence built through millions of timely deliveries.

Swasey said Netflix’s response was not necessary or required–emphasizing the proactive response in both apologizing and offering a credit. But, he is wrong. In this age, taking such a swift and proactive response to even a relatively  minor inconvenience is not just good business, it is increasingly necessary. Good job, Netflix.

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One Response to “Netflix gets it–swift and proactive steps when you goof up”


  1. Gerald, thanks for referencing this article from Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog online trade journal and for your astute comments on the Netflix response. Please note that the Daily ‘Dog is one of many products and services marketed under the Bulldog Reporter brand. Best regards,
    Jim Sinkinson
    Publisher, Bulldog Reporter


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