Let me reference my sappy emo days of listening to Dashboard Confessional (whom I still adore and will be seeing perform in a few weeks, don’t judge) as I attempt to tackle the Netflix debacle.
The beautiful words of Chris Carrabba in the 2001 Dashboard Confessional song, The Best Deceptions, express it best: once someone you trust betrays you, it’s hard for them to ever win your trust back.
And that’s how Netflix customers felt: betrayed, deceived, and ready to receive an apology that came much too late.
As many of you know, on September 18, 2011, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that the previously known Netflix would be splitting into two services: Netflix for streaming video and Qwikster for renting DVDs. Customers were far from happy.
As the SNL Netflix Parody video jokes, “We raised our rates from $10 a month to $16 a month, but that’s not all! We knew you loved Netflix because it was an easy to use website for all your movie needs. To make it better, we split it into two separate, slightly more confusing sites.”
What Hastings failed to consider when making this decision was the consumer. From the customers’ view, streaming and DVDs are just two channels of the same product. So why split them? In his apology/explanation blog post, Hastings claims, “We realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.”
In making this de-bundling decision, it’s clear that the Netflix customer was barely even considered. What happened to the customer-centric approach Netflix was always known for? Where were the other Netflix decision-makers while this horrible idea was brewing? Looks like a classic case of Groupthink to me.
On October 10, 2011, Hastings announced that the separation of the company into Netflix.com and Qwikster.com would no longer occur due to customer dissatisfaction.
But Netflix customers aren’t having it. Now that over 800,000 customers have closed their accounts, Netflix is feeling regretful, sorry and wishing they could set things right with their customers. Sorry Netflix, “You’re calling too late, too late to be gracious, you do not warrant long goodbyes.”