Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Segmented Customer Communication is Critical to Good Brand Aftertaste - Netflix Example

This is an example of the communications flow over the duration of my relationship with Netflix.

I signed up for Netflix in response to an offer through a social networking game. I was already familiar with the brand and service but was waiting for a good time to “pull the trigger”. Upon signup, Netflix immediately enabled my account so I could create my movie queue. So far so good.

Over the next several months I rented movies and returned them in the neat little prepaid envelope. Convenient and straightforward. Over this same time period I had continued to receive the normal trial offers, which I dismissed as noise. I figured that Netflix would eventually catch up so I didn’t think too negatively about it. At worst I was neutral though I was considering those poor trees.

At some point I received an email that my credit card had expired. I was able to smoothly fix this by clicking through on the email. Great, crisis averted, the movies continued to flow.

Then one day I was really impressed. I received an email stating that Netflix had shipped me my latest movie on a Saturday and they were curious when I received it.

They said they were always looking to improve operations. I clicked on the link in my email and checked the appropriate link indicating that I had received the movie on Monday. I then received an on screen thank you confirmation. This was nicely executed. I felt important. I felt respected. A brand that cares… nice!

The very next day, literally, I received another trial offer to sign up for Netflix. All of the good feelings I had about the brand the day before suddenly evaporated. I now felt like they didn’t care about me or really care about my monthly payment of $15.95. Worse yet, the fine print on the offer said that current and previous members and their households were ineligible for the offer.

At this point I started to think pretty low of these turkeys and felt they didn’t deserve my business. All of this has left a poor brand aftertaste in my mouth. I’m still a customer for now but more receptive than ever to change to the next thing. I’m simply waiting again to pull the trigger.

Hmmm, Redbox is in my neighborhood – maybe I'll check them out next time I’m at the QFC.

So what would I have done differently. Over the duration of my relationship with the Netflix brand I was never enabled as an advocate. But worse they continue to market to me as though I was only learning of their service. Simply segmenting customer communications into stages of Exposure, Adoption, and Retention goes a long way toward improving the communication aspect of the customer experience. In an age where everything and everybody is increasingly connected and budgets are under scrutiny everywhere it is dangerous for a business to not be more thoughtful in their customer communications.

Please contact us if you would like an outside assessment and further guidance in improving your customer communications. We have a range of services available to assess and improve the customer experience.

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