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Netflix Apologizes for Service Outage

Do You Appreciate When Services Apologize for Being Down?

I was throwing a hissy fit yesterday when I saw that Netflix had still not sent me my Mad Men DVD, and then an hour later I got this in an email, explaining their outage. It wasn't the only outage this week: Gmail went down for a while on Monday, and then the next day, the Gmail Blog posted an explanation.

I gotta be honest: I'm not used to this kind of customer service. The transparency and honest "we screwed up" apology is not something I'm used to from a service provider; if my cable goes out, Comcast will hardly call me up to say, "Hi, we're so sorry your cable is out. Hope you didn't miss Project Runway!" All in all, I appreciate this straightforward behavior — these emails and blog posts were unexpected and a breath of fresh air, and make me happy to be a customer of Netflix and Gmail. What about you; do you care when you get apology emails like this, or does it not make a difference?

Join The Conversation
robinesque robinesque 8 years
Yes, explanation, apology, AND at least 50% discount for any inconvenience this may have caused me in the meantime. I'm pacified.
hkmarks hkmarks 8 years
I wish my ISP was this good. My DSL modem broke and I asked for a replacement. They said "sure." A month later I still don't have it. I said "why?" and they never answered. Even if they said "sorry, we're out of stock and can't send it to you until we get more and we have no idea when that will be," I'd be a lot happier than I am with them just ignoring me.
leyi171 leyi171 8 years
I totally agree! I clicked on my Tivo list last night to find about 80% of my recorded material (that was there the day before) GONE. Buh-bye. Don't know where it went and there was definitely no mea culpa from DirecTV (who has just about the worst customer service call center I have EVER had the misfortune of calling). I have been a loyal NetFlix customer for years and did not get this email. In fact, I only received one email today stating that they received one of the two DVDs I sent in this week...uh...hope that is part of this whole glitch. I'm not phased though, I haven't had a problem with the service since they were brand new and I believe they will get it back up. This would make a great story for a customer service blog like "The Business of No" ( that recounts the good and the bad of customer service for any company. I think NetFlix did the right thing.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i do appreciate when a company acknowledges that they have an issue and send notice about it - however i had to admit that i have a DVD in limbo somewhere and i never received a note saying that they were having an outage. i actually read about it on Popsugar. go figure.
neko neko 8 years
It does make a difference. It makes even more of a difference if the company explains exactly what happened.
CrazySexyCool CrazySexyCool 8 years
I like it when companies explain what happened and own up to their mistakes. Being able to own your mistakes shows you are willing to learn from them and apply those lessons to the future. That being said, it is not a deal-breaker for me if a large company that has thousands or millions of customers never get around to sending that apology. As long as they aren't trying to deceive me that is. In the end I just want them to fix the problem in a timely manner so that it doesn't happen any more. That would be apology enough!
mudnessa mudnessa 8 years
it is really sad when we are happy to get a notice like this, shouldnt this be how every company is run. shouldnt it be about the consumer/customer and not about the money the company makes. i have been ignored and screwed countless times by companies i pay for their services. everyone should take a cue from netflix and make it about the people again. mistakes happen and things get messed up especially with all the computers running things today but that doesnt mean you should ignore it and not mention the situation to your customers.
Toby Toby 8 years
I was also impressed by their letter when I received it in my inbox, it's a whole new world when companies are down-to-earth and indie enough to admit that, plain and simple, they screwed up. Not to mention the refund - that's important to offer without the customer asking - I think that will earn them a lot of cred.
ehadams ehadams 8 years
I've had Netflix since it first started and I have never had any problems receiving dvds. So don't let this one incident (which they are addressing in a very good way) stop you from using them. They have the best customer service around.
imLissy imLissy 8 years
oh, I didn't share my turbotax story. Their software had a bug where it categorized something as something else and I didn't know where it was coming from. Someone else in my state was having the same problem. I called them up and asked what was going on. The lady I talked to was a complete idiot. After like two hours, she got me a free download of the full software. She was giving me incorrect instructions on how to install it and when I argued with her, she told me I was wrong, so I hung up. I figured out the problem myself and all was well. I blogged about this experience. A couple days later, I get a comment on my blog from the president of turbotax apologizing. lol
imLissy imLissy 8 years
1-800-flowers sucks, but the people who work there are awesome. I ordered something that was out of stock and the lady helped me pick out something else. but then we decided to send the original thing, just later. she switched it for us. it ended up being delivered on time. the other thing we ordered... it was about two months after christmas and it still hadn't arrived at my bf's father's house. we called UPS and they said they never got it. we called 1-800-flowers and they said they didn't know wtf happened, so they sent another one, lol. It probably was their fault, but I think the people were super nice for taking responsibility instead of fighting it out with UPS
MsTerious82 MsTerious82 8 years
I've been a very happy Netflix customer for years. Their service has been great and I've never had to wait more than a business day for movie turnaround. This outage has been the first delay I've had from them, so I'm not that upset. I appreciated getting an email from them and their offer to credit my account, but I think I can find a way to carry on without new DVD's for a few days.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
I totally appreciate it when a company owns up to their mistakes and issues. This is one area that Apple is really bad. They rarely fess up to anything or attempt to make thing right with an acknowledgment that it was their bad.
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
companies are so used to taking us for granted (forcing us to keep contracts with cellphones and cable or pay a fee) that they don't value customer service. glad not everyone has the opinion. but then again, you can walk away from these companies with no penalty so they have to care.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
I think it makes me like the company more when the own up and explain things. Even if it is a generic e-mail.
Rozenaut Rozenaut 8 years
As far as I know, outages like this with Netflix must be very rare. I was an active user of their service for about two years and never had a single problem. I have been very busy with school/work for the last couple of years and had to cancel my Netflix because I didn't have the time to justify the expense, but now that I'm a stay at home mom-to-be, I'm hoping to start it back up again very soon. I was always really happy with Netflix's customer service, and this thing is a great example of why. It's annoying when something interrupts a service you subscribe to, but my frustration is always greatly alleviated when they take the time to treat you like a human being and explain what happened and make it right. Netflix is sure a heck of a lot more reliable than my internet service. Ugh!
Megatron Megatron 8 years
I was planning on joining Netflix in the next couple of weeks, but this outage has made me think twice. I was affected by the Gmail outage and that sucked. All that was going through my mind was how I had a lot of important stuff in there. Needless to say, it was a tense hour or so. I think I would have the same reaction (but probably on a smaller scale) if that happened with Netflix.
EDePriest EDePriest 8 years
To me, it makes a big difference. Even the apology would have been sufficient, but the fact that they will be giving credits leaves me extra impressed. And I HATE Comcast. They have the absolute worst customer service of all. I rejoiced when my neighborbood finally got FiOS so I didn't have to give comcast any more of my money.
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