No one likes bad news, but when you are announcing a 60% increase in fees, you better be prepared for a massive cry of public outrage. Apparently, Netflix was ready to handle the anger against their new pricing model, reportedly hiring extra customer service representatives to staff call centers on the day they were making their announcement.
This week, Netflix announced new changes in services to customers. Once upon a time, you could stream online movies and shows while renting out one DVD at a time for the low price of $7.99 a month. Starting September 1st, these plans will be continue to be offered but separately. If customers want to continue having both options available, they will now have to fork over $16 per month, a significant increase in price, which will cost customers almost an additional $100 per year. In an economic recession and a looming debt ceiling clouding the air these days, anything less than a scathing social media smear campaign would be shocking. And a smear campaign is what they received.
Immediately, customers took to the interwebs to express their opinions. “Dear Netflix” was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday and was the beginning of many-a-hating comment. Some were simply “Bye, Bye Netflix!” and others like this one were bit more explicit.
The official Netflix fan page on Facebook was a hot spot for aggression as well. Netflix posted a status about their new pricing model and a link to an article for more information.
The response to this was for over 56,000 people to comment on the status. 56,000! A meek 1,000 people “liked” the status, which a few of those commenting on the status accused those who “liked” the status of being the Netflix execs who “just want a bigger bonus” so of course they would “like” the status. Many of the comments were those saying, “I cancelled my Netflix, Proud of It!” and others were sharing how they had been Netflix customers for 6 years, 10 years, or even longer and will no longer be continuing to subscribe to Netflix. One post featured a mocking, E-How article for “How to Cancel Your Netflix Account.” Others were inquiring about a possible “National Drop Netflix Day” and some were merely posting one word: “GREED.” The official blog of Netflix has over 10,000 comments on their post about the new service plans, most of which are pretty heated. The people were getting their word out.
Of the 22.8 million US Netflix subscribers, we aren’t sure as of yet how many will actually leave Netflix and they have declined to release how many users cancelled their services yesterday. As a whole, customers feel there is a lack of appreciation and that this is a slap in the face of customer service; of course I’d probably feel that way too if A. I was a subscriber and found out the changes from social media and not from Netflix directly and beforehand or B. the customer service reps suggested I just cancel in August before the changes are implemented. Not everyone who has commented on the Internet is seething. Some see it being less of a price issue and more of a quality concern. As this user’s post reveals, because of the seeming limited library Netflix has online, where is the value to justify a hike in fees?
Is it sadder that customer service has gotten out of hand or that television shows and movie subscription rates have created such a massive outcry from the general public when we should be fighting together like this against real problems facing Americans today? Either way, Netflix made a poor business move. Without customers, there can be no business.