You Love Netflix And Have Flooded Our Inbox With Compliments

Netflix was having some serious shipping and website problems Monday, and today our inbox is flooded with happy customers asking us to congratulate Netflix. Why?

Reader Eric says:

Consumerist,

This is why I love netflix. They had a shipping problem on monday. They didn’t make excuses or just try to slide by. They fessed up, and without my even saying a word to anyone at netflix, I receive this prompt email telling me that they are sorry and are trying to make amends. This is an example of good customer service.

Eric

Here’s the email that Netflix sent to Eric:

We’re Sorry Your DVD Was Delayed

Dear Eric,

As you may have heard, our shipping system was unexpectedly down for most of Monday. We should have shipped your DVDs but were unable to. Your DVDs were shipped today, Tuesday, March 25th, instead.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. We will issue a 5% credit to your account in the next few days. You don’t need to do anything. The credit will be automatically applied to your next billing statement.

Again, we apologize for the delay and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

Reader Brad says:

The funny thing is, if they hadn’t sent this, I would have never noticed a delay.

But I think it’s important to recognize companies that are getting it right.

Thank you,

Brad

Reader Axel says:

Got this message in my inbox today….apparently Netflix had some shipping problems and they delayed the shipment of my movie by one day. Big deal, right? I probably wouldn’t even have noticed it, since I barely have time to watch my Netflix movies anyway. Well, Netflix still found it appropriate to give me a credit on my account because of the problem. Apparently they think that *they* should be the ones to be charged late fees, not their customers! Just another reason that I give them my business instead of Blockbuster.

Reader Ryan says:

This is great service. I wasn’t even aware there was a problem, and yet they fessed up to it and gave me a discount that I didn’t even ask for (or frankly, think was warranted). Good work Netflix.

Reader Elana says:

Sometimes it’s nice to see a company do something unexpected. To be honest, I didn’t even notice the shipping delay from Monday and wouldn’t have. The movie was my husband’s. He works odd hours and often doesn’t
get to his movies for a week or more, so a delay is no big deal. We didn’t complain or contact Netflix. Instead, I was totally unaware of the problem.

This morning, I received this message, the only notification I had of the issue. The approximately $.50 refund wasn’t necessary, but it’s appreciated!

Good job, Netflix.

(Photo:Marike79)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Was this really above and beyond? Maybe more than we expect, having been jaded by customer abuses by other companies, but this is the MINIMUM a company should be willing to do.

  2. VikingP77 says:

    I love Netflix, I had no idea there was even a problem!

  3. Bladefist says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: we’ll all a little abused and battered. We get 50 cents back and an apology, and it feels great. Pretty smart on netflix. Didn’t cost them a lot, and it strengthened their consumers loyalty.

  4. fluiddruid says:

    Maybe it’s sad that being treated with consideration by a major company is so surprising and awe-inspiriting.

  5. RandoX says:

    (Sigh)… can’t please some people.

  6. Ilovemygeek says:

    I will never stray from Netflix, the only thing they could do to improve in my eyes is make their watch it now feature Mac friendly, everything else is wonderful.

  7. 805inLV says:

    It was nice to see NetFlix take the initiative and automatically credit everyone’s account, but Im curious as to what caused the issue.
    They had a similar outage back in July 07 and they wouldn’t mention what caused it or what they are doing to prevent further occurrences

  8. Kat@Work says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: What should they have done?

    I agree that most companies should have customer service more like Netflix, but we know this is not the case. Bravo to Netflix – show them how its done.

    Incidentally, this might be a good time to ditch that Blockbuster stock anyone might have been holding on to… :P

  9. Booji_Boy says:

    A couple years ago, I got an extra DVD in the mail from them and I was concerned that they had decided to upgrade me without my permission, so I emailed them and asked what was going on. They replied that it was Christmas time and had decided to send their long term customers an extra movie at no charge as a way of saying thanks.

    I’ve been a customer since nearly the beginning and have never had any issues at all with them.

  10. Adam Hyland says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: yes, it was.

  11. ilikemoney says:

    Netflix did the right thing, which doesn’t always get recognition. Should good deeds always merit an award? Definitely not. But in a world where we are becoming increasingly jaded about what we can expect from the companies we pay in exchange for a service they offer, it’s a good thing to show that we as customers value honesty and sincerity out of a business over just a price tag alone.

  12. ironchef says:

    LOVE NETFLIX.

    I still hate Time Warner.

  13. Shock and awe, I got the same email. To everyone else who thinks this is the BARE minimum a company should do… yes, it should BE the bare minimum. But fact is, that most companies don’t or just WON’T. We should applaud their efforts, we are so busy busting on CRAP companies, it’s nice to see one doing good for a change.

  14. The Porkchop Express says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: They didn’t need to pay/credit anything as none of the customers really lost any money technically.

  15. The Porkchop Express says:

    @805inLV: They may have been trying to update their system and had a major issue because of it, or their network could have gone down. Tons of things could have happened, I’m not really sure how their system even works as far as receiving and sending since it is so quick.

  16. Wormfather says:

    How does one troll this and blame the customer?

  17. charliux says:

    Netflix is a great company, I have been subscribed to their service for over 3 years and i havent had a complaint yet.

  18. Anitra says:

    PsychicPsycho3 asks why this is “above and beyond”. I have just two words for him:

    PROACTIVE REFUND.

    Most Netflix customers didn’t even notice the delay (or if they did notice, didn’t particularly care). Netflix would be completely justified to notify all customers of the problem, but only offer a refund to those who complained.

    I dunno, maybe their customer-service overhead is such that it was cheaper to give an across-the-board 5% refund, but it’s also a VERY smart idea to build goodwill.

  19. rwakelan says:

    and yet when then systematically delay my movies, i don’t hear anything from them… how strange

  20. mc101 says:

    This is a good and bad gesture–sure they are giving a credit, but you have to pay for an additional months service to get it.

  21. overbysara says:

    I freaking love netflix. really. love.

  22. Jon Parker says:

    I love love love my Netflix. I’ve had a problem that wasn’t a system probelm exactly once (when trying to take my account off hold) and their customer service people were exemplary. I am completely loyal to them.

  23. Nighthawke says:

    They have been a wonderful service to have. One mailer got auto-sorted and the DVD broke in two. I made a quick call to their customer support line and they were like, freak city dude! They sent a replacement from another facility. Talk about fast response!

  24. squidbrain says:

    I’m no great fan of blockbuster overall but dropped netflix and switched after:

    1. realized that netflix throttles people with a lot of turn over. I had new releases at the top of my queue sit there for weeks. There was press about this about a year ago.
    2. Had a technical problem with my queue (couldn’t edit it) and when I send email to customer service I got a canned answer that they can’t respond to each question individually.

  25. Blinkman says:

    Some people have so little going on in their lives, or think of everything as a burden to them, that they can get upset about getting movies a day late. To them, I hope this 50 cents was enough. I’m satisfied with Netflix and I think their service is great. My movie for Tuesday didn’t show up and all I did was shrug and say, “oh well maybe tomorrow.” Is it that hard to do? Do people think that companies need to be 100% at all times? They can’t handle a little hiccup? One day late movie and an apology isn’t good enough? Wow, I hope these people hold themselves to that same standard.

  26. Ghede says:

    Let’s look at it like this:

    One month/one video at a time costs nine bucks, right? Your video is delayed one day. $9/30 = cost per day of your plan = $.30. For the basic plan, 5% credit = $.45. They aren’t just compensating, they are giving you a slight discount.

  27. chiieddy says:

    Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey would not disclose the number of customers affected, saying only that “it was not a majority” of the company’s 7.5 million members. He also would not reveal the total amount credited to customers, saying the credit will not have a material impact on the company’s financial operations.

    “The key thing here is: This was completely proactive on Netflix’s part. There’s no requirement for Netflix to do this, no obligation. There was no request for it. We thought it was the right thing to do,” Swasey said.

    And for those who wonder about good things coming to those companies who treat their customers well?

    Netflix shares were up 16 cents, to $37.28, in midday trading Wednesday.

    [www.boston.com]

  28. MonkeyMonk says:

    @squidbrain: Netflix was more than happy to send you over to Blockbuster. The ex-Netflix heavy-churners all inundating Blockbuster is one of the main reasons Blockbuster had so many problems with their system. You were all like a rental-hungry virus.

    I respect you guys and your love of movies but there’s no way a mail-order rental service can make money on you.

  29. acutusnothus says:

    NetFlix is good people.

  30. loudguitars says:

    I was annoyed about the delay, but major server issues are a problem you occasionally have to deal with nowadays when dealing with any major company. I’m definitely mollified with a whopping 91 cents. It’s the principle of “We screwed up, and we’re sorry, and we’re acknowledging it and taking steps to remedy it immediately.

    They probably need to work on their redundancy plans, however. I recall the last time the website went down, their shipping centers were able to function properly. This seems like it must have been some sort of larger, systemic failure with their database.

  31. Echodork says:

    But when Comcast has an outage and refunds $2 to subscribers, it’s a negative article.

  32. jdame says:

    I think that this is a case where a company did the right thing and let the customer know that netflix appreciates them. Giving public kudos to netflix could let other companies see that such actions create loyalty within its customer base.(please take a note Charter Cable)

  33. katylostherart says:

    i’m just wondering if netflix will be revealed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing when they finally put blockbuster out of business.

  34. Raignn says:

    I love Netflix and I’m one of those “heavy users” that can’t get new releases until several months after they release because they are always “long wait.” You know what? I don’t care. I have 135 movies on my queue and those “blockbuster” releases only constitute about 8 movies on my queue. I completely understand that the company isn’t making money off our account, and so those people like my father, who has 4 movies on his queue and often keeps them for 3-4 months at a time should get dibs, whereas someone like me who clearly has lots of other options can wait.

    I’ve never had a problem, they’ve always be more than nice when I’ve had an issue, and I haven’t had to step into a horrible rental store in over three years.

    Three cheers for Netflix!

  35. nikkomorocco says:

    it’s not the refund i’m happy about, it’s the principle of the matter. they had issues and acknowledged them. more than you can say for most companies.

    and why can i not get freaking i am legend or american gangster? is it so hard to get new releases out?

  36. katylostherart says:

    @Raignn: i’ve got nearly the 500 max on mine :D

  37. Booji_Boy says:

    @Echodork: Huge difference there. In one case the customer has to call, wait on hold, then argue with a rude rep to get their 2 bucks.

    In the other case, the customer may not even realize a problem occured and the company gives an automatic refund to all affected customers.

  38. shad0ws says:

    @Echodork: um. when’d THAT happen?

    a quick search on “Comcast” articles reveals……. nada. oh, wait. here are some!

    “Repeated Comcast Outages Nearly Cost Reader His Job”
    “Comcast Quietly Leaches $3/Month From Former Adelphia Customers”

    even better: “California City Fines Time Warner Cable $25,000 For Consistently Awful Service”

    … if you’re trying to make a point, you made it pretty damn badly.

    i, for one, am happy to finally see a *positive* article on Consumerist, though. nice change of pace.

  39. ct_price says:

    Anyone ever wonder if this was not a cleverly disguised PR gimmick? They are getting more mileage on this than they would have via paid advertising. Watch out for more copycats to follow suit.

  40. Doug Nelson says:

    Are they still throttling? That’s why I quit Netflix.

  41. Kudos to Netflix for their response to the situation. Yeah, they screwed up, but they didn’t try to hide it, and they’ve even “made it right” by offering a 5% credit to my account. For those taking notes at home 1 day is about 3% of the cost of my subscription.

    I had half a mind to call them to tell them to keep their credit because they dealt with the situation so well, but I realized I’d only make more trouble for them by asking for an exception. I almost did the same when they dropped the monthly fees by a dollar.

    Netflix is one of my few monthly bills that I think is worth every cent I pay them…and probably a little more.

  42. shadowkahn says:

    @PsychicPsycho3:

    Perhaps it wasn’t “above and beyond,” except that because customers no longer expect companies to voluntarily penalize themselves when they mess up, it’s really not required. As many in this thread noted, it probably wouldn’t have even been noticed by the vast majority of Netflix customers. For them to own up to the problem despite not really having to indicates a good company that is actually trying to earn our patronage.

  43. kenposan says:

    Netflix doesn’t need a PR gimmick. They are already hugely respected as evidenced by this thread.

    And yes, I sent a copy of my email to Meghann this morning as well. :-)

  44. pretzelgreg says:

    Oh and btw Blockbuster seems to do the same “throttling” to their heavy users. Every time I put a mass market new release in my queue, it sits there with a “very long wait” associated to it. I usually find a rack full of the same title at the brick and mortar long before the status changes in my queue. The double dipping effect I get when returning mailed videos to the store is what keeps me with blockbuster over netflix

  45. Darkwish says:

    While most of what I have ever heard of Netflix has been positive, their incessant popup/pupunder/otherwise annoying advertising and constant spamming of my email addresses to has permantently driven me away from ever trying them out. Gamefly is in the same boat.

  46. firesign says:

    i’ve been with netflix since they had a single depot in california. i’ve never had any issues with their service, and have never even thought to look elsewhere (especially blockbuster, who last i looked didn’t have anywhere near the selection of things like foreign films that netflix has). i have the same good experience with gamefly.

  47. splendic says:

    Netflix has repeatedly “not received” movies I’ve sent back, or even admitted to receiving them but then three months later claiming that I still had them.

    I just realized that it had been awhile since I received anything in my que….

    Turns out they think I still have a movie that was confirmed received in December.

  48. squidbrain says:

    @MonkeyMonk: There some crazy logic there. Their offer is that I can rental as many movies as I want but only xxx at a time. I’m taking them at their word. And I’m not like those who rip the movie to their hard drive and immediately put it back in the mail.

    I’ve not had a problem with Blockbuster. I’ve gotten the same turn around time from them. I’ve haven’t seen the new release throttling but then I generally get my new releases in the store when I turn in the mailed ones.

  49. Joafu says:

    Netflix rocks, nothing more to say.

  50. Montaigne says:

    I love it when my Netflix stock goes from 22 to 38 in 3 months! NETFLIX ROCKS!

  51. sncreducer says:

    @shad0ws:

    You should, you know, be careful with the snark.

    Comcast To Baseball Fans: Sorry You Woke Up At 6AM To Watch Nothing, Here’s $2

    Posted yesterday. Currently second from the top if you search “Comcast”.

    Ouch.

  52. Beerad says:

    @ct_price: If the “PR gimmick” of being good to your customers catches on, I for one will not be complaining about it.

    @katylostherart: “i’m just wondering if netflix will be revealed as a wolf in sheep’s clothing when they finally put blockbuster out of business.” Why would they be? They were an awesome company before Blockbuster even got into the online rental business? The real question is will they survive the revolution to direct video on demand? Looks like they’re trying to position themselves for it, but we’ll see.

    @Darkwish: As both a Netflix and Gamefly patron, I agree it’s annoying but I think Gamefly is waaaaay worse. I can’t go anywhere on teh interwebs without Gamefly ads popping up out of nowhere to bother me.

  53. Moosehawk says:

    For those of you who try finding every nook and flaw in Netflix’s good gesture, I say:

    It may not be a huge deal or anything, but it’s the moral that counts. They messed up Monday, they’re compensating by letting everyone know and giving them credit. Most people wouldn’t have enough noticed. Stop trying to turn it around and say this is just some stupid marketing scheme or something.

  54. hypnotoad1971 says:

    I too was unaware that Netflix even had problems on Monday. Had they said nothing I would have been none the wiser, and I probably am still none the wiser. The only thing that would make Netflix better is if they would stream their videos to my Tivo. My Tivo is my bestest friend.

  55. Copper says:

    I love Netflix. Sometimes I’m a heavy user and sometimes I’m not. I don’t usually care for new releases, so I haven’t noticed any throttling. For awhile, it seemed like the turnaround time was slower, but honestly, I think it’s the post office…

  56. midwestkel says:

    @ Bladefist-안녕

    How did it not cost them much? A day of downtime and 50 cent credit on hundreds of thousands of accounts?

  57. Klay says:

    Blockbuster sucks–their incompetence forced me to try Netflix.

    I’ll never go to Blockbuster again. Netflix pleases me at every transaction.

    One never leaves Blockbuster satisfied–one always leaves with a compromise. I always get what I want with Netflix.

  58. Mi1ez says:

    So far, I’ve had nothing but good from Netflix. More often than not, beyond good.

    I used to go to Blockbuster’s all the time up until the late 90’s when I was finally fed up with their exorbitant late fees and, the straw that finally broke my back, being accused of not returning a video game that I had returned in their return slot. How could I prove I didn’t have something I had returned to them? I tried to speak with the management with no budging at all–I was told I had kept a rental. I finally wrote a check to their collections people with the note that read something along the lines of, ‘It was returned–if cashed, I cancel my membership.’ They cashed it–but they didn’t cancel my membership, of course–I kept checking. I just didn’t bother renting and eventually didn’t even bother checking membership anymore.

    That was about the time I had noticed Netflix. I’ve been a Netflix customer ever since just after I’d quit Blockbuster’s in those same late 90’s when Netflix was still shipping in cardboard boxes, charging a rental fee PER disc and giving you the option to go online and mark off that you intend to KEEP the disk and pay the remaining cost of the movie you rented to have them ship the DVD case to you. I left Blockbuster’s a long time ago and never looked back–I never spent another cent at a Blockbuster’s again and I’m all the happier for it.

    So! Much! Happier!

  59. jgodsey says:

    I like them because they are better than NO netflix.
    But I am still holding grudge because a – I never get new releases …EVER. and B – I am one of the people the punished with a deliberate slow down, so i don’t get as many in the mail than the rest of you. [if you return them within a day of getting them, they put brakes on your shipping turnaround]

    SO basically i like them they do their job okay, and I wouldn’t cancel my service because there is no reasonable substitute. but they still can’t be trusted.

  60. TuxRug says:

    I was considering sending this in, as I got this letter too. 5% of $5 isn’t much, but I wouldn’t have noticed even if they didn’t do anything. But this is much better than Blockbuster Online! We had the three-at-a-time unlimited plan for a while with Blockbuster. There were times when we would have 30 or so movies in our queue with no wait listed, but for almost a month at a time, they didn’t ship us anything, and when we contacted them, they simply sent us a coupon for a free in-store rental and we had to wait another week before we got any videos in the mail. The next month, they downgraded our package to NO in store exchanges, and increased the price, without notifying us. We were extremely embarrassed when we tried to exchange a video. We were yelled at by the manager.

  61. nsv says:

    I just canceled my Netflix trial about a month ago. In the two week trial, I got one movie. They sent an email saying the second would be shipping from another facility and would be delayed, and they were right–it was two weeks between movies.

    I canceled and wasn’t asked why. When I tried to explain why, the rep wasn’t interested. I got several offers to sign up again, at a special low price that was exactly the same as before. Now they have a clue? No thanks.

  62. amoeba says:

    I actually don’t appreciate that Netflix just let me know about this notice today (Wednesday) instead of yesterday (Tuesday). I had a movie party yesterday with some of my friends, and the movies didn’t arrived. If I knew that they had a problem on Monday (as I said being advice on a Tuesday) I would canceled my party and everyone would be happy. At east I got a 5% off.

  63. lestat730 says:

    Now if only Microsoft could have dealt with the holiday Xbox Live outage this fast……

  64. 7.5 million customers x an average of .50 refund =
    LOSSES THE COMPANY WAS WILLING TO TAKE TO AVOID EXCESS PHONE CALLS ABOUT DELAYS IN SHIPMENT AND BAD P.R.

    I think it’s a good call.

  65. samh5621 says:

    I think it’s great that netflix admitted it’s mistake…now if they’ll only tell me why they skipped my first 13 queued discs to send me #s 14 through 16. You’re right Netflix, even though I just watched seasons 1 through 5 of Deep Space Nine I’d rather watch Lost and some documentaries than finish the series. You know best.

  66. nycaviation says:

    I think it’s neat they have a distribution center in Hawaii, according to the photo.

  67. 5h17h34d says:

    Netflix has been on my sh*t list for several months now. They keep sending me discs that have been sandblasted it appears, then I end up going a week or 10 days with ZERO movies while they re-ship.

    A couple years ago when this would happen they would do that AND send my next disc that I was due as part of my plan.

    Thinking of ditching and just going back to Hollywood video B&M.

  68. CapitalC says:

    Owning up pwns. :D

  69. lakecountrydave says:

    I really like Netflix. I have never had aproblem with them, and all of the disk they have sent me have worked just fine all the way through. I quit going to my local Blockbuster because everytime my wife and I rented a movie the darn thing always refused to play all the way through. I have also given Netflix several times as gifts.

  70. mike says:

    @fluiddruid: Maybe it’s sad that being treated with consideration by a major company is so surprising and awe-inspiriting.

    I was thinking the same thing.

  71. IndyJaws says:

    @Echodork: If Comcast had been proactive and refunded $2 to everyone’s account, regardless of whether they complained or not, then it would have been a positive. Little things like that define the difference between a class company like Netflix and a market leader in sucktitude like Comcast.

  72. MonkeyMonk says:

    @5h17h34d: That’s strange, because Netflix seems to still be following this policy in my experience.

    In the last year I’ve had two problem discs: 1 was the wrong DVD and in another instance the DVD was cracked on arrival. In both instances they immediately shipped me a replacement DVD the day I reported the problem. In one case I got the replacement before I had even gotten the broken DVD in the mail.

  73. Mary says:

    @ilikemoney: “Should good deeds always merit an award?”

    Yes. Yes they should. It is only through giving companies and people rewards and kindness that they’ll ever figure out that they NEED to be treating other people well.

    Good actions should have good consequences. Always.

    As for everybody saying “Is this above and beyond.” I repeat what somebody else said: you can’t please everybody. Above and beyond means they did more than what they needed to do. They didn’t need to do a damn thing about this, but they said they would be good people and thought about what they SHOULD do.

    But in the end, it’s the small refund for the lost time that makes it above and beyond. They should send out letters, they should apologize (and during the outage, their page DID apologize, this is an extra apology). But giving money back from a simple glitch? Above and beyond.

  74. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    My good-service story:
    I was having an issue with the streaming feature on my computer. The first person who picked up the phone when I called the number knew exactly what was wrong, could articulate it clearly, and was able to talk about a few other facets of the issue, clearly showing he knew what he was talking about. He wasn’t reading from a script, and he clearly wasn’t stupid. I was flabbergasted. Front line customer service being smart and helpful!
    Unfortunately, the issue I had couldn’t be fixed, but the knowledge of the guy on the other end of the line helped me understand why. It was nice to be treated as intelligent and not just a revenue source. I upped my subscription to the next higher level in the following month, and I’m glad to continue to support the company.

  75. ProjectGSX says:

    Ive been a Netflix member for many years now and havent had a single problem with them. At all. Not once. They have never hassled me about the two or three dvds that were lost in the mail.

  76. chickee510 says:

    I adore Netflix! They are so fast with the shipping, have a huge selection of movies, and have great subscription plans. I once had a movie that skipped, went to their website and reported the problem painlessly. When I had to put my account on hold for a couple of months for lack of funds for *extra* bills, a little part of me was worried about billing errors, but they were on the ball and didn’t charge me until I asked them to. I also love their “how are we doing” survey emails. More companies should take Netflix’s lead and step up to the plate with superior customer service.

  77. MissAnthropist says:

    I love netflix. They have always done right by me.

    After I evacuated for Hurricane Katrina, Netflix credited my account for my current balance and at least one free month of service and sent three new DVD’s to my new address (after I reported that all three DVD’s I had out were still in my house in New Orleans). Every time I have had to deal with their customer service, they have been unfailingly polite AND actually fixed my problem.