Facebook and Netflix Customer Care Snafus

An image of the Facebook and Netflix logosIn the last several years Facebook and Netflix have become very well known household brand names. These days it would seem more Americans than not are logging on each day to check out what their “friends” are up to. Only slightly less frequently, Americans also anticipate checking their mailbox for that conspicuous red envelop containing the latest unseen blockbuster hit. (Personally, I just stream my Netflix). Given the success of both Facebook and Netflix, many are now left puzzled by the sudden drop in both companies level of customer care. As New Yorker writer Susan Orlean tweeted to her 185,000 followers, “I think the people running Facebook and Netflix went to a how-to-irritate-your-customers seminar together.”  Source

If you haven’t heard about the Facebook and Netflix woes, here is a quick breakdown.


Back in July Netflix announced that it was hiking its prices.  The company was met (understandably) by disgruntled cries from customers across the internet.  This month they followed it up with two incidents that even further confused and  infuriated their customers.  First the company decided to split their streaming and mail order businesses in two, calling the former Netflix and the latter Qwikster.  Then Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sent out an apologetic letter to all Netflix subscribers, but instead of telling them ways the company was improving services for them, Hastings essentially just told them how the company was improving things for the company.

You can read more about the letter HERE.

And more about the Netflix / Qwikster split HERE.


Facebook courted unrest back in August when it rolled out a notification sidebar that would pop up on its users screens at unexpected moments.  From there, the company continued to implement confusing little changes that its users were unprepared for and never asked for.  The latest change that Facebook has announced (timelines) will be its greatest, and by all accounts, the tsunami of discontent seems to be barreling toward Palo Alto, California.  It should impact sometime soon after the full implementation of Timelines is complete.

So ill-conceived is the Timelines change, that one Facebook sympathizer was led to comment:

If you are among those that hate the changes Facebook has done in the past — the security drama and the goal to make social networking more social — Timeline is not for you. You’ll have little choice over the next few months. Facebook intends to replace all 750 million profiles with Timeline and if you hate the idea of sharing too much, your only option is to leave Facebook. (Source)

One might suspect that if that is the case, Facebook may lose an awful lot of users.  Look out!

So why is this happening?

This is the question on many people’s minds, and here seems as good as anyplace to speculate about the reasons.  Does this corporate behavior spring from company arrogance?  Do companies like Facebook and Netflix simply not understand or know what their customers want?  Are Facebook and Netflix victims of change and a new technological horizon?

You decide, and then share your thoughts below.

UPDATE:  Just today Netflix announced that it will in fact NOT be launching Quikster.  It seems the company is willing to listen to its customers, though perhaps, not until they have formed a thong on their doorstep.

One Response

  1. Michelle Brown Says:

    I think these companies don’t know how to walk the fine line of profit and customer service. With prices going crazy in every market it’s understandable to worry about the shrinking profit that comes along with more expenses and more frugal consumers. Facebook is scared that it will become obsolete, in the process of trying to keep up with technology and trends it changes the familiar layout too often. Their fear of losing profit leads to them selling information and being lax or cryptic on security measures.

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