Netflix doesn’t get the feedback loop
|September 19, 2011||Posted by Sophy Bot under Business news|
So begins last night’s blog post from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, attempting to explain why the recently announced 60% price hike is necessary after all – and by recently, I mean it was announced two months ago. It has taken two full months of vitriolic user feedback for the CEO to acknowledge their own PR error (coincidentally enough, the acknowledgment comes in the week following a 19% drop in its stock price). And what do we get for standing by as loyal customers, despite the negativity surrounding the original announcement?
“A negative of the renaming and separation [of Netflix into a streaming-only and rebranded DVD-only service] is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.”
Wait, so after letting two months of harsh feedback pass by unacknowledged, losing a total of 44% of stock value, and posting a larger-than-expected drop in subscribers, Hastings is writing to his customers with a negative? Well, at least the customers know how to give immediate feedback, as Twitter clearly shows:
“”You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” *cough*Netflix*cough*” – @BtotheD
“”If a film I search for on Netflix isn’t avail will it tell me a dvd is avail [at Quickster]?” Hastings: “Ouch. You’d have to search both.”” -@tdominey
“Netflix: “We’re sorry for raising prices. To make it up to you, we’re going to make doing business with us even more confusing.”” – @flargh
Within about 12 hours of sending the email announcement and posting it to the Netflix blog, a full 11,578 comments (and counting) have been posted in response to the blog post, nearly all of which express varying degrees of shock, dismay and disappointment. By continuing to ignore the honest feedback of its customers, Netflix is ignoring internet PR 101: the feedback loop will continue, whether you are an active participant or not. In the era of the internet, feedback is immediate and constant. Companies like Netflix ignore this principle at their own risk, as Reed Hastings has once again witnessed firsthand.
(For the record, this announcement is making me cancel the DVD portion of my own subscription. I’d planned on staying on board despite the price increase, but managing two queues with no integration is too absurd a concept. For my Blu-ray fix, I will now use Redbox. Sorry, Netflix. I was with you until this last announcement.)
Photo credit: _tar0_