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Friday, July 15, 2005

Netflix Policy continued

I've heard from a number of you who are experiencing similar frustrations with the Netflix slowdown and I encourage you to write Netflix and let them know how you feel. Perhaps if enough of us speak up, someone of authority will notice and take action.

Since the last post about Netflix's policy on establishing priority for shipments, I have sent a few more emails to Netflix, each exchange more maddening than the last.

I replied to their email with the following:

Why should a "balanced experience" for all Netflix members be a goal for Netflix? Clearly not all members use Netflix in the same way, so artificially balancing the experience across all members makes little sense.

A first come, first served approach is the fairest for all. Taking into account how long a DVD has been in a member's queue as well as where it is in the queue should be the criteria for who gets priority.

Clearly Netflix is quietly increasing profits by limiting the number of DVDs that a member can rent. With that business model in place, Netflix should revise the marketing pitch, "members rent as many DVDs as they want" because it is blatently untrue. I cannot rent as many DVDs as I want because Netflix has made the business decision to put me lower in priority for shipping.

If customer satisfaction is important, I would suggest that Netflix re-examine this policy.

Janice

To which they responded with the exact same paragraph from their original email that described the "balanced experience" concept.

As a rule, I'm not opposed to form letters. I've been known to use them on occasion. But the form letter should address the the question/concern at hand, otherwise it's just plain annoying.

So picture this--the email above was a reply to their email. A reply which included their email. So if the person had actually taken the time to scroll down, they would have seen that I had already received the "balanced experience" canned response. Aaargh.

Of course, I couldn't let it go.

Danielle A,

Thank you for your reply. However, I already received the exact same response from Scott at Netflix Customer Service. If you scroll down in the email you'll see it.

If you read my email, you might notice that I was responding to the notion of the "balanced experience" that you and Scott refer to in your form letter responses.

Your email does not provide any enlightenment.

Janice


Here's the response that stopped me cold:

Hello Janice,

Thanks for your inquiry.

We really do appreciate your feedback and comments and we will definitely take them into consideration but that is not going to change how we prioritize movies. We apologize for any inconveniences that this may have caused you.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,
Kimsorn,
Netflix Customer Service


Wow.

My first thought was, what feedback and comments of mine are they going to take into consideration? And since when does a Customer Service representative set company policy?

And then the lightbulb came on. Wouldn't those be good questions to ask the COO, the VP of Marketing, and the VP of Customer Service?

4 Comments:

  • Netflix has been pissing me off about that lately. Want to bet they have now put a "limit" on how many movies they will send you in a month? Things have most definitely slowed down here in Arizona. They won't change policy? Fine. Hello Blockbuster...

    By Blogger Heather, at 7/15/2005 10:58 PM  

  • I've been reading about people who cancel and renew their accounts on rotating credit cards and email addresses every two months. Apparently it clears out your history and puts you back on high priority. I think I'll try that. I'm getting movies slower since I upgraded to 5 movies out than I did on 3 movies out! I sent them an email saying that they've basically killed all incentive for customers to upgrade to more expensive plans, and that I've been spending $30/mo extra at Blockbuster because their service is so slow. That's money they could have had if they just didn't suck. ARGH.

    By Anonymous c, at 7/17/2005 11:53 AM  

  • I used to work at Froogle, the shopping portion of Google, doing a similar reply to e-mails drone functionality. This is definitely one of those situations where not being able to speak to a thinking person really detracts from customer service. These are probably college grads mindlessly churning out as many answers to e-mails as possible.
    I never thought I'd say this, but at least the cell phone/cable/directv/dsl companies employ people to talk to you. And give you the option of insisting you, the customer, are not happy with the solution they are offering you.

    Clearly Netflix needs to rethink a few things, one of which needs to be tighter quality control on customer service. They should institute a "retention" or customer loyalty department and actually listen to what customers want.

    http://www.manuelsweb.com/netflix.htm shows that we're not even getting the really bad service, yet. Maybe I'll consider switching to GreenCine.com since they're a SF local with only 1 distribution center.

    By Blogger Freecia, at 7/17/2005 12:33 PM  

  • I have to say I highly endorse Greencine.com (due to their community involvement) as mentioned by the previous poster. I've met the president of the company at a microcinema event. They're much more community oriented (in giving back to the community). Their turn around time (from when you send back a movie to when you get a new movie from your queue) is about the same as I currently have for netflix. but they support the local arts, and pride themselves on having more independent films and anime. They do not seem to have as many of the movies as netflix does however, so your queue will work quite differently. In some way, it may take longer for you to get a movie that's higher in your queue if it's a highly demanded movie.

    By Blogger Lori, at 7/25/2005 11:07 AM  

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