Customer Service Interactions Can Go Viral: Netflix

John Krautzel
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Customer service managers and representatives know how much their roles can affect people. Netflix, the popular video service, recently impressed countless users with its attention to customer service. A transcript of a recorded help session illustrated many social customer service elements that could translate easily to a variety of different industries. The amusing method the customer service rep used to deliver important information and probe for details greatly improved the interaction, helping the social customer service experience go viral across the Internet.

The transcript of the social customer service experience was posted on the Huffington Post. In it, the customer service representative approached the help desk message from the perspective of a technician on a popular science fiction show, Star Trek. The customer played along, and the two exchanged details and suggestions while remaining largely in character and making in-jokes about the show and the social customer service experience. At the end of the session, the customer noted that the incident should be on a blog somewhere and was then informed that a transcript of the event would be available. The Huffington Post article has since gained over 69,898 Facebook likes and has spread quickly across the Internet.

The popularity of Star Trek and the amusing nature of the social customer service experience skyrocketed the Netflix session to viral status on the Huffington Post. This incident proves that even the most basic customer experience management session or event has the ability to dramatically increase customers' perception of your goods or services. It highlights how important it is for you as a customer experience management professional or representative to both address issues raised and ensure that customers leave the event satisfied with the overall experience.

There are many customer service lessons to be learned from this incident. The most obvious is that any social customer service interaction has may appear on the Internet and impact public perceptions of a company. Allowing well-trained customer service representatives to interact with customers on their own terms instead of imposing scripted responses can create exceptional results. Netflix has a policy of allowing employees to have fun and be themselves while helping solve customer service issues, but this policy may work equally well in a variety of different businesses.

Customer service representatives get opportunities to create engaging social customer service experiences every day. Companies should allow their representatives the freedom to make the most of these experiences while ensuring that a viable solution is reached for each incident. Avoiding the use of scripts can give employees the ability to tackle various situations in creative ways, allowing them to express themselves while entertaining and informing customers. The Netflix viral social customer service experience is a great example for representatives and managers alike.


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