Reader Josh sent us an account of Netflix’s pro-consumer, ‘just-say-yes’ customer service that we have lauded in the past. Josh had asked to suspend his account until September 18, but Netflix unexpectedly reactivated his account on September 11, sending his bank account into overdraft. Josh called customer service to ask for an explanation and a refund. He writes:
In August I put my Netflix account on hold, my wife was starting back to school and things were *very* tight for that month. I arranged for the subscription to resume on September 18th, 3 days after payday, so that I could cover the $18.35 fee.
With the dollar$ in short supply I was carefully managing my savings account to keep it in the black. Well, imagine my surprise on September 11th when I discovered my account was overdrawn by $11.45. How could that have happened?
Oh I see …And then to add to my woes, the bank had to charge me a $22 insufficient funds fee …So I called up Netflix and explained the situation. “Yes” they agreed, my account was on hold, and “yes”, I should not have been charged until September 18th.
I asked for an immediate refund to my bank account of the $18.35 and the $22 overdraft charge. I stated that I did not want the balance credited to my Netflix account, and that an immediate and complete refund was the only solution that would satisfy me. They agreed to refund the $18.35 on the spot, but were hesitant to pay me for the overdraft. After a few minutes the customer service rep came back on the line, apologized for the mix-up, and agreed to cover the $22 as well. They would issue the refund within 24 hours, and depending on my bank, I should have the money within a few days. I thanked him for “doing the right thing”.
The balance was in my checking account the following day. Now this is customer service, this is how you keep customers.
Most companies refuse outright to reimburse for overdraft fees. Netflix’s pro-customer bias instead gave their CSRs the freedom they needed to keep Josh as a happy customer. Josh’s postscript serves as a powerful testament to any CEO that questions the efficacy of investing in superb customer service:
p.s. As far as their initial mistake, I understand errors will happen and I can’t expect anyone to be perfect. The fact that they so willingly owned up to it and remedied the situation before any further damage occurred made this this seem like an extraordinary customer service experience, when in fact this should be standard service for consumers across the board.