Netflix, Inc., the provider of online video streaming and DVD by mail service, has fallen from customers’ grace hard and fast. Once a darling of its customers, Netflix management seems to have misjudged the negative impact of price increase and other service changes they announced “unilaterally” this summer and as a result have lost many customers.
Netflix’s CRM fiasco underscores the importance of not taking your customers for granted, especially in this day and age of Social Media. Dissatisfied customers can not only take their business elsewhere, but can also leverage Social Media tools to express their disapproval in a way that can have big impact on other customers and towards the brand. Just see the impact of Social Media firestorm generated by this CRM fiasco on Netflix stock for example (see this link).
Social media has empowered customers like never before to connect and communicate with other like minded individuals ‘publicly’ and the last thing any marketer should be doing in this Social Media age is to take important decisions impacting customers unilaterally and without explaining the rationale or motives behind such decisions. In other words, customers expect to be involved in such decision making or atleast expect a rationale explanation before any changes are made.
So what can Netflix do to recover from self-made CRM crisis. Answer is to fight fire with fire, that is use Social Media channels to engage customers and build (should I say regain) trust and loyalty (for more, see definition of Social CRM here).
For example, how about using Youtube to explain why these changes were made in the first place. How about using Facebook and blog postings to respond to customers’ criticism about price hike and services changes already announced. Key is taking customers’ into confidence in such a way that they feel that they have been involved in taking important decisions concerning the service they receive and pay for. Netflix doesn’t have to respond to comments from each and every customer, but if they respond to few customers in a fair and transparent way, other customers would appreciate and would be much more supportive of Netflix’s position.
Netflix can use this CRM crisis and turn it into a Social CRM success regaining its past glory (and stock price) if they can engage their customers on Social Media to (re)build Trust and Loyalty.
I want to end this post by sharing with you this excellent Bloomberg video on Netflix and profile of Reed Hastings, co-founder and chief executive officer of Netflix Inc. In case if you don’t see embedded video below, please click on this link for the video.