When I woke up today I had this letter from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix in my inbox. Granted it was sent to (probably) all 25 million subscribers, but it was addressed to me by my name. The subject was “An Explanation and Some Reflections”.
It got my attention. Then within the hour I had 3 people forward me the letter too. It got more attention by me. Then I saw it on the news and in online magazines. Yup…Got even more of my attention…. (As if the first time wasn’t enough) This man got my (and many other’s) attention.
I will admit that I am bummed out that Netflix is splitting into two companies (1 DVD service and 1 online streaming service). I personally don’t like that it is happening, since I enjoy doing all my lazy Sunday movie watching & renting in one place. All my lazy feelings aside, I do enjoy his efforts to win me over once again.
As a aficionado of good service recovery, here are my top 10 reasons I LOVED Reed’s letter to his Loyalty Base:
1) It is casual. It started with the line “I messed up”. Language you would not expect from the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. He got my attention immediately. He spoke the language I as a follower needed to hear, and I kept following. No jargon here.
2) He apologized for not communicating to his loyalty base enough information prior to making the announcement to split the company into two. He acknowledges he did not receive the buy in from his followers. Most CEOs would say “Suck it up, this is the change we made”.
3) He stated his personal fears on his corporate choice and gave examples of other historic failures that he does not want to mirror.
4) He stated the strategic facts on why the choice to split Netflix into two separate businesses was better for everyone.
5) For those who don’t want to read the blog he created a video that was short, simple, casual. No suits, no fancy editing. It was he and another guy sitting outside. He didn’t try to win me over with fancy production or leather chairs.
6) He is allowing comments on his blog. Within 24 hours he received over 18,000 comments! (I get excited when I get 1 or 2) There are a mega-ton of pissed off people unhappy with his choice and he is not afraid to give them a public venue to let it all out. I’ll make a bet all 18,000+ comments will receive some form of reply from the Netflix family.
7) He won me over that I should trust his choice with the last paragraph: “Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions”.
8) He hinted to the recent previous mistake of making a large price increase. For those that were pissed off about the former price increase, this acknowledges the elephant in the room that this is now two strikes.
9) He stated the positive: “There are no pricing increases” because of this choice.
10) He signed off “Respectfully yours”. If you do write letters (which most people don’t anymore), this choice of words has meaning. The tone and message of his letter earned him the right to use the world “Respectfully…”.
Many large scaled companies like Netflix would just have a PR spokes person say a few jargon filled sentences on camera, but Reed understands that he does not have a group of satisfied customers, he has a tribe of loyal customers. Loyal customers deserve a different respect than satisfied customers. Regardless to how angry his customers are, he is making every attempt to gain buy in and let them know he understands how they feel.
This is another great example of how the simplicity of personally owning up to your mistakes and stating facts can trump any other fancy-pants recovery campaign.
Try it today with a lost customer, vendor, employee, friend, or family.
Be a big boy or girl and just …. Fess up and state the facts.