Sunday, November 29, 2009

Netflix's Customer Service Box

Dear Netflix, please let me out of your little customer service box.

I hooked up the PS3 streaming disc as was watching a movie. One of my PS3 controllers was low on battery after an extremely long session of "Demon's Souls" which is almost impossible to pronounce correctly. Go on try it and remember, apostrophe 's' and plural.

Anyway, I plugged the cable into the PS3. The controller wasn't actually connected to the cable which may or may not matter. The result; however, was the PS3 shut off. Is this a problem related to the PS3 or Netflix. I dunno but I thought I would report it to Netflix. ...only I can't.

Netflix's website insists on pre-defining your customer service experience. There is no way for you to actually enter an issue they haven't expected you to have.

Let's start with even trying to report an issue with streaming through the PS3. The only options you are allowed to have are:
• The disc arrived broken
• The disc is scratched or unplayable
• I received the wrong disc
• I have lost the disc, and need a replacement
• I haven't received the disc
Absolutely nothing about any problem you having with the service itself, not even an option for "other."

What if I went to the section to report a problem with the movie? That doesn't work either; because, the only options that come up are to report problems with movies that I already watched. The movie that I was in the middle of watching isn't listed.

What if I decided to go off the sidewalk, and just report the problem with the movie I failed to watch by selecting one I did watch, did not have a problem with, but is on the list that I am allowed to choose from? I could just explain that this wasn't the movie I was having a problem with and detail my problem, right? Nope, because there is no way to explain the problem again, only pre-defined choices:
Please tell us if you experienced any of the following problems. (Check all that apply)
• Audio did not match the picture/was out of sync
• Parts of the audio were missing or cut-off
• No subtitles on a foreign language film
• Picture was blurry
• Picture was unwatchable or missing
• Wrong movie/TV episode started playing
• Unexpected pauses/frequent stops and starts
There is a continue option at the bottom, and from the way it words the question, leads me to believe I don't have to select any of those options and can go onto the next page where I can actually tell them about my problem. Nope. You press continue, even without selecting a single problem from their list, and you get, "Thanks for your input. We will investigate and resolve the problems as soon as possible."

Good to hear, glad their on top of things.

Though to be fair, I am enjoying my Netflix subscription and really haven't had any other problems. Now that I'm working again, I have even increased my disc limit to two DVDs at a time. I really can't believe all the good, new TV shows that came out and you people let get canceled while I was in Australia. Shame on you.


Eric Weller said...

It's just as lovely when you want to simply tell them something, like "I sure think it would be a great feature if I could watch streaming movies as one of the other named users on my account, rather than just the primary user." (I watch the streaming films all the time, but can only do it when I'm signed in as the primary user, and as a result my poor wife is forever getting "You will probably like...." suggestions for movies that would at best bore, and more likely nauseate her.)

As in your example I found myself inside the box. I eventually reported a problem watching the last movie I watched instantly, without specifying a problem, which I'm confident will motivate them to respond promptly.

What I find most amusing is that their inflexible customer service page has a place where you can submit your own self-distributed film for Netflix rental, but not a simple "Suggestion Box".

Eric Weller said...

Since you brought it up I decided to go for broke and actually called the Customer Service number, which does in fact appear to be the only way they want to talk to you. I spoke and said that all I wanted to do was make two suggestions, one of which was that there be a way to make suggestions. Brett informed me that NetFlix wants very much to talk to us about problems, and that they are very "phone based". I advised him that I am not...I hate talking to strangers on the telephone.

I also pointed out that a service which one MUST access via the Internet is probably not one where you'd find a lot of customers who don't like e-mail.