Customer Complaints – What NOT to Do and How to Handle them properly to ensure customer satisfaction

Companies and businesses make mistakes.  That’s fine.  Customers expect them from time to time.  Customers are actually much more patient than we give them credit for when a mistake is made. They expect that we will work with them to fix it and life will go on as usual, if not better. What they don’t expect is to be dismissed.

Well, apparently Netflix didn’t quite follow this philosophy and lost a customer.  Granted, only one customer, but we need to remember the life long value of each and every customer and the revenue and referrals they bring to our business over the course of many years.

In a recent article, a customer had opened up a Netflix account last March for the On Demand services.  He was receiving the services and was actually quite satisfied with the program he had purchased.

That is, until he happened to examine his credit card statement with greater scrutiny one month and discovered that he had been double charged since the account creation in March.  This resulted in a $55.93 overcharge in total. When he contacted Netflix, they indeed admitted that two accounts had been created under his name and credit card number and could verify that one account had remained inactive the entire time.

Imagine the customer’s surprise when he simply asked them to close the inactive account and to credit the appropriate account the overcharged $55.93.  He tells us that Netflix would only agree to credit him two months of fees as it was his responsibility to watch and monitor his accounts and charges.

My thoughts….  This is a case of simply not thinking in the best interest of the customer and being short sighted.  The representative simply didn’t go to bat for the customer or search for ways to help him. There must be a “policy” somewhere that indicates that two months of credit is somehow the standard and this is all the customer service representative was willing to do for him.  She/he didn’t put themselves in the customers shoes and realize how ridiculous the situation really was.  It could have been such a simple fix and such a simple way to keep this customer.

What Netflix should have done….  The representative should have used some common sense and common decency.  First off, they should have realized that there are likely very few customers that would open up two accounts.  Second, since they can clearly tell that one account was never used, they should have immediately apologized for the mistake, thanked the customer for bringing it to their attention so that they could fix the problem, and then stated that they would immediately apply a credit on the other account, and offered two free months of service to the customer to make up for the inconvenience of him having to call to fix the issue.  It’s about making it better than right whenever possible.

Only after the customer contacted a media outlet and their follow up did Netflix agree to refund the entire overcharged amount.  The customer refuses to do business with Netflix again and I honestly can’t blame him.  They clearly didn’t valued him or his business enough to work to make the situation better than right.  This is a case of a customer complaint handled completely improperly.

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