5 Customer Support Strategies to Learn from Netflix

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Apr 19, 2021

Netflix competes on customer happiness. In the uber competitive and dynamic video streaming landscape, this is one of the ways they’ve remained on top. That’s because the company is not simply customer focused, but is customer obsessed. 

Neftlix has a lot of competition when it comes to consumer attention. The company competes not only with the growing number of video streaming companies (Hulu, Youtube TV, Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock, HBO Now, etc.) but also with video games: “We compete with Fortnite more than HBO” (Netflix said in a shareholder letter).   

So how does the company compete so successfully, capturing 11% of the world’s internet traffic1?  It’s because the company operates with the mindset that acquiring, engaging and retaining customers lies with the customer experience. Companies across industries – not just those that compete for customer attention – can learn a few key lessons from the Netflix customer-obsession strategy. 

Source: https://customerthink.com/customer-experience-at-netflix-6-lessons-we-can-all-learn-from/

1) Take ownership and be transparent  

In the video streaming business, technical glitches are inevitable. If there is a service disruption or streaming issue, Netflix will not only put out a statement, but also personally email all customers who may have been affected. 

For example, when there was an Xbox Live streaming outage a few years ago, the company proactively reached out to customers, apologizing for the inconvenience and offering a 2% credit to their account2. They didn’t wait for frustrated customers to reach out and complain. The company got out in front of the issue. 

Customer Ian Hall remembers another example: “Last night I was passively watching (or more listening than anything) to Eco-Trip with my daughter while we fixed dinner.  All of a sudden the sound gets all garbled.  I figure the encoding is off and think nothing of it until this morning I receive the following email. Now THAT is customer service. Netflix knew I might be upset (or at least have noticed) the interruption and so, proactively, they allowed me to request a credit for a small amount of my bill.  Now while 3% of my bill isn’t really going to add up, it makes me FEEL 100x better.  And here I am gurgling over my feelings and the attention Netflix pays to their customers.”

2) Empower agents to be individuals and focus on full resolution 

The company’s business model relies on a flat subscription rate so agents are not under pressure to upsell a customer when they are speaking to them. Perhaps because of this lack of pressure to drive revenue, agents are focused on solving the specific issue a customer is having. Netflix agents are encouraged to solve the problem without transferring to other agents. 

Agents are also empowered to be personal. A former employee recalled the company encouraging that agents have “at least one moment in a phone call where you would relate to a customer.” Humanizing support with jokes and personal stories. 

In one well-reported customer service story out of Netflix, Mike Mears, a customer service representative, engaged in an entire chat with a customer having a streaming issue in character in a Star Wars persona without breaking character. At the time of the chat transcript going viral, Brent Wickens, Netflix’s vice president of global customer support, said: “We really allow support agents to be themselves.3” 


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3) Be proactive and anticipate the next touch

We explored earlier how Netflix is proactive when there is a widespread technical issue that could provide a hiccup in someone’s streaming experience. The company, though, deploys proactive support across the customer journey. Whether it’s sending personalized emails with ideas of what to watch tonight (meticulously curated, of course), but also as soon as a person signs up for a free trial. 

As soon as a customer signs up, they are personally welcomed and provided key information and pointed in the direction of when, where and how to get in touch if they ever encounter a problem. This way, customers can reply immediately if there are any pressing questions or easily refer to the email if a question ever arises.  And they are doing something right: Netflix registers an astounding 93% conversion rate on free trials4

4) Provide support at any time 

People consume content all the time and issues arise on weekends, holidays and after hours. In order to provide superior support, Netflix not only offers self-help solutions to many problems through a robust help center, but also provides English live support 24/7 through live chat or via phone5.   

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One customer recounts a problem she encountered when she was a new subscriber. “When joining up we had a problem. It didn’t recognize our password on the first attempt. After numerous attempts failed, we rang up the helpline. Considering it was a Sunday night, the phone was answered swiftly and politely. They soon fixed the problem and apologized.”

Had Netflix waited until Monday morning to help this customer, during “regular” business hours, the company could have lost this customer forever. Because the company provided in-the-moment support, it not only provided an immediate resolution, but also built brand goodwill. 


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5) Ask for feedback, directly from customers 

Netflix is notorious for taking a data-based approach to their customer experience, which they dub “consumer science.” The company tests hypotheses, obsessively analyzes what a person watches and what they watch next in order to create the most personalized digital experiences.  

Part of the company’s obsession with data is collecting feedback directly from customers. They send out surveys designed specifically to understand how customers think. Companies trying to be as “customer obsessed” as Netflix should also make data-based decisions. This includes not only rigorous A/B testing, and behavioral and segmentation analysis, but also asking customers their satisfaction following interactions with the company or product, and also monitoring engagement following an interaction with customer support. 

Netflix is a leader not only in the streaming industry, but also globally recognized for its customer experience. The company has remained the biggest streaming company in a fast-changing and highly competitive industry based on its ability to personalize every customer interaction, anticipate the next issue and harness data to continuously improve. Companies across industries can implement Netflix customer obsession strategies within their own organizations to compete on customer happiness. 

Want to learn more about how streaming companies can compete on customer experience? Download our ebook today

For more information on customer service, visit:

References 

  1. https://www.sandvine.com/phenomena
  2. https://techcrunch.com/2009/08/31/netflix-had-me-at-were-sorry/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJbcKK2jrPFgHq_vdq3SF7we2xO_NO2M3niUMS3vSxO1C8gtJj7e-P4AKhCRmSP62a068a35pMO85BXfp-xOMiJ4jd-fRyPDpsfWc5ob2_m3qKS_c9oUMYp5d9ydZKHE2u40i91vl5hbxotagB-8gzyyCb3yqRWhwiWPb5Oxouer 
  3. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/netflix-customer-service_n_4178662
  4. https://vwo.com/blog/conversion-rate-marketing/ 
  5. https://customerthink.com/customer-experience-at-netflix-6-lessons-we-can-all-learn-from/

Why In-App Gaming Support is the Key to a Great Player Experience

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Apr 9, 2021

Mobile has democratized gaming and created an enormous opportunity in the industry. Gamers used to be the players who would spend hours playing high-tech games at home, but now, thanks to mobile gaming, nearly everyone is a gamer.

The competition for user engagement is fierce. To attract players and keep them engaged, game studios and publishers need to prioritize customer support, a part of the experience that has long been ignored. Mobile gamers expect fast and effortless in-app support when an issue arises. And if their expectations are not met, research shows that they are quick to abandon a game for a competitor. 

Mobile gaming is thriving, but so is churn  

It’s the gaming era. According to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey, 30% of US consumers pay for a gaming subscription service and 41% play video games at least weekly1. Increasingly, these consumers are shifting from traditional video game platforms like PCs and consoles to mobile (phone and tablet) and app-based games. In 2015, 77% of gamers played on PCs (laptop and desktop computers), which has since declined to 48%. Conversely, people who play on mobile devices grew from 70% in 2015 to around 80% in 20181.  

In another signal of the burgeoning popularity of gaming apps, games make up 72% of all app store spend, surpassing $100B in 2020. Mobile games saw 25% more spend than all other gaming combined2.

Mobile gaming is a big business. And where the money is, competition follows. In the Apple Store alone, there were 957,390 gaming apps in 20203. With this abundance of gaming apps, it’s easier for gamers to switch than ever before. A competitor is simply a tile away. 

As a result of this ease of switching, gaming has one of the highest abandonment rates of any industry. In fact, in some segments of the mobile gaming industry, the average for 1st-day churn hovers at a staggering 70%4. Only the top games achieve Day 1 retention rates of 35% or 11% for Day 75

The recipe for good gaming CX: In-App, Native Support 

Mobile consumers are impatient. If demands for speed, convenience and efficiency are not met, they react.  Issues spread like wildfire in the gaming community. Bugs, outages and complaints are heard loud. It’s not uncommon for a person to use a game once, have a bad experience and post a negative app store review or complain on sites like Reddit. 

While churn is inevitable, gaming companies can mitigate this by providing an incredible in-app experience when an issue or question arises. While developers and publishers focus on creating super engaging content and games, post-launch support is often ignored. Publishers have disjointed experiences, taking players out of the app and directing them to live chat on a website or email.  Self-service and knowledge bases are also common support strategies, but 70% of the time, gamers can’t find the answer they need in these channels6

If you’re in an app, you want to stay in the app. Switching to another channel is daunting. Instead, publishers need to keep everything within the app itself. If you divert to other channels, you open the door for a person to get distracted with another task like checking the weather or opening a social app, or even worse, go to a competitor. 

Providing in-app support can be much more intuitive and frictionless. Companies already have access to contextual factors like device type, browser, operating system, version of the app the person is using, and even their recent history and behavior. This can eliminate the need to ask the player for this information, removing the burden from the customer to look up or communicate this to an agent. 

Classic gaming platform Solitaired.com offers a good example of the importance of on-demand customer support in a game. When they tested offering live support for their solitaire games, they saw their customer satisfaction score improve by 22%. Moreover, as a result, they saw overall retention and revenue improve as a result.

There are a few key strategies when building out an in-app support function:

  • Build a native experience: Build the AI customer experience for the mobile interface and ensure navigation is easy. Don’t simply bring a Web chat or knowledge base to an app, but make sure it is optimized for every screen size, operating system and orientation. 
  • Offer automated support when possible: The popularity of a game or app can change suddenly and massive unexpected spikes are common and can come in waves. With a global customer base in different time zones that speak different languages, leveraging an AI-powered customer support chatbot to automate resolutions to common FAQs and issues is the only way to scale the instant, personal support that a global customer base expects. 
  • Offer easy human escalation: Even when you leverage an AI-powered chatbot to resolve basic FAQs, there will always be more complex, new or sensitive issues that require a human agent. Offer escalation to human agents within the same chat interface. 
  • Support both asynchronous and synchronous messaging: When possible, an AI-powered chatbot or human agent should engage in real-time, synchronous conversation responding to an issue instantly. Offering an in-app messaging feed, though, also lets gaming companies provide asynchronous messaging. So, if a question can’t be answered right away, a gamer can check back when it’s convenient for them.  

Discover the key questions to ask when scheduling a chatbot demo.


Gaming in and of itself is an emotional experience. When an issue or question arises, players expect quick, effortless responses. As competition for consumer attention heats up, the ability to capture long-term player engagement is going to be as much about the care someone receives as the content of a game itself. To compete on CX, publishers need to meet customers within the app to provide seamless support. 

Want to see how well gaming companies are providing customer support today? We studied over 2,000 gaming companies worldwide to find the winners and losers.   Download our report today .

References: