Don’t Be Like Netflix!

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award-winning performanceSo I got a Roku for Christmas. Now, I know that “a Roku” sounds like one of those yappy little dogs that Paris Hilton would carry around in a purse, but it’s not. It’s actually a very cool little device that sits near your TV and lets you stream movies and TV shows from sources like Hulu and Netflix. And the Roku is great–it works exactly like it’s supposed to. I have no problem with the Roku.

It’s Netflix that sucks.

I know a lot’s been written about Netflix recently, but it never hit home for me until this week. See, like many people, I had a traditional “send me X number of DVDs a month, and I’ll pay you a fixed fee” Netflix account. I was happy with it, it worked, and I could see pretty much any movie I wanted to.

And then Netflix started making things complicated. They raised the price for the DVD service, and offered a great deal on their streaming service. Well, it sounded like a no-brainer to me. For less money, I can simply stream all my favorite movies via my shiny new Roku! I envisioned myself sitting back in my leather easy chair every evening, a glass of scotch in one hand, my Roku remote in the other, dog at my feet, leisurely watching a fabulous movie—instantly, without the hassle of returning a DVD. It’s the great promise, the American dream!

Here’s the reality. The movie selection in Netflix’s streaming service is abysmal. Name virtually any movie you might actually want to see; I can almost guarantee you it’s not available on Netflix’s streaming service. And the movies that are available are bottom-of-the barrel rejects that you wouldn’t pay a penny for at a garage sale.

Netflix should be ashamed of itself for offering something like this for a fee—any fee.

So here’s my question to you: Are you doing the same thing in your business?

When your customers spend their money for your product or service, are they so happy with the experience that they would have gladly paid double the price? Are they thrilled and surprised because you actually deliver more than you promised—and the promise itself was already great? Will they become rabid advocates—an unpaid sales force—for your business? (“I couldn’t live without my iPhone—you’ve got to get one!” “You need a plumber? You’ve got to call my guy!”)

Or are they so disappointed that they actually sit down and write a blog about how disappointed they are in your product or service?

Even worse, perhaps, are those in the middle. They use your product or service once, and then just never come back. They aren’t quite upset enough to let you know why; they just quietly disappear. (Actually, they don’t disappear; they go to your competitor.)

Netflix can cry all it wants to about licensing fees, and deals that have fallen through, and how the studios won’t play ball. As a customer, I don’t care. If you can’t make the product or service work, don’t put it on the market.

Likewise, your customers don’t care about your internal problems—nor should they. All they want—all they expect—is a product or service that delivers on its promise.

Give them that—and then a little bit more—and you’ll have fans for life!


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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