A couple of weeks ago, the entertainment-streaming serviceto give customers the choices of having a streaming-only service, a DVD-only service, or a combination of the two – all at a notable price hike from last September’s more modest rise. The company found itself in a as its strikingly loyal customer base threw nasty tweets and blog responses at the company.
The company apparently did not learn its lesson, for it is now reaching out with a hammer to customers who have picked a streaming-only account. Customers have reported to The Huffington Post that as their previous DVD lists/queues dwindle out, they are getting curt messages expecting a return of the very DVD the Netflix robots just sent.
The message is not especially rude – indeed, it is a mere factual statement of policy. But it also comes across as money-grubbing and patronizing. And as the company has hardly quelled the fires it sparked in mid-July, surely its copy editor could have found ways to soften the reminder and restore a bit of goodwill. As reporter Jason Gilbert so succinctly put it, “Netflix, why the attitude?”
Social media encourages communication. But communication is as much about listening as it is about talking. The folks at Netflix seem not to check back to their own blog, or simply ignore their Twitter account once they offer their pronouncements.
Danielle Leitch discusses the importance of social-media listening in. Though she does not discuss Netflix’s tone-deafness, she clearly should be heard by the company.
Many businesses fail to use social media as a communication tool to connect with their audience. Consumers are willing to give their feedback about a product or service, but someone has to be taking notes. To better utilize social media, ask your target audience to share their opinion about your business product or service. It’s not rocket science, and it could help your business improve an existing product or service.
Netflix’s customers certainly have been sharing their opinions of late. But here might also be the way out for Netflix. So far, heated reactions to the changes in pricing and service have been largely verbal/textual, not economic. As of yet, Netflix has not experienced a drop-off of subscribers, though that might change once the price changes come into effect for current subscribers in September.
The gentleman who received the curt reminder to return his DVD, fictitiously named ‘John’ in the article, also admitted to The Huffington Post that he still plans to stick with Netflix as it has the best offerings available. Perhaps Netflix feels big enough to take some hits and just muscle through the current PR imbroglio? Such a strategy does not really sound like a strategy at all.