Netflix Nixes Customers with Poor Media Relations

I have been a Netflix subscriber for a year. Not because I’m a huge movie buff, but because my post-graduation budget couldn’t afford cable. I never had any complaints about the service until last week, when the company announced a price hike and a change in service plans. And they have since gone silent.

Customer service goes a long way in this day and age, and news about poor customer service travels fast. Sadly, Netflix is floundering in this department.

Not informing customers first.

I first learned there was a looming problem with Netflix when a friend’s Facebook status simply said, “Netflix is a pain.” The next morning, my Twitter stream exploded with tweets about a price hike. By lunch time, I had easily found dozens of news articles reporting on the change in Netflix’s services. I wasn’t notified by Netflix via email until July 13, almost a full day after I’d caught wind of the change.

Not answering to the backlash.

Netflix dropped the news via Twitter on July 12 and waited two full days before responding direct questions concerning new plans.

After the announcement, Netflix customers voiced their anger, posting 5,000 comments on the Netflix blog and #DearNetflix became a trending topic on Twitter.

If you tweeted @Netflixhelps over the weekend, and didn’t get a response, it’s because they only answer questions Monday through Friday and instead direct you to call the 24/7 customer service line. A colleague of mine did exactly that and received an automated message saying, “We are currently experience a large number of calls at this time. Please try calling again later.” The system then promptly hung up on her.

There isn’t even an official press release addressing the issue! It makes me wonder if Netflix executives are sitting around twiddling their thumbs or working behind the scenes to develop a bang-up plan that will correct the issue or offer different options to customers. Regardless, the lack of communication is unacceptable and unsettling.

Will customers leave?

Many of my friends are looking at other options to avoid paying the higher prices. One friend is trying to watching as many DVDs before September because she plans to switch to the streaming-only plan. Others are switching to HuluPlus, Zediva.com, Redbox or are caving and buying cable from Comcast.

My main concern lies with the lack of attention to the massive uproar.  I’ve considered dropping Netflix altogether because I’m worried this is a glimpse of what to expect from Netflix regarding any issue I may have, whether it be issues with streaming or losing a disc.

What can Netflix do to earn your good graces again?

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