Netflix, Gap lag in customer satisfaction online

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc and Gap Inc were among the worst performers in customer satisfaction among the largest online retailers this holiday season, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The online customer experience MATTERS. Make sure you monitor, survey and constantly improve your company’s online customer experience.

See the full story on the Netflix and Gap Customer Satisfaction standings.

If you’re not into customers, why are you even working here?

I just wrapped up a meeting with a brilliant CEO. I’m on retainer to manage the client experience at his company and today we were reviewing gaps in service. My client is big on “feeling.” He explained to me that he never loses a customer because of price. “When we lose a customer, it’s because they didn’t feel taken care of. If we were taking care of them, they wouldn’t even entertain a quote from a competitor. It’s all about how we make them feel.” And he’s absolutely right.

For most organizations, service is really all they have. Most companies are in business to serve customers. Employees are paid to serve customers. The CEO and I spoke at length about this today. My charge for this client is to ensure that the employees get it. They must get the fact that they have to serve customers with enthusiasm. They must work to ensure customers hang up happy. It is their job to give customers an experience that leaves them saying, “Wow…that was really refreshing.”

At one point in the conversation, the CEO said to me, If you’re not into customers, why are you even working here? You know, I have asked that question many times…of fast food employees, when I hang up the phone after speaking with a customer service rep and after countless experiences in retail. If you don’t feel up to taking care of customers, why are you working at a company that has customers as its lifeblood?

I don’t believe in having anyone work for me that doesn’t “feel” customer service. My philosophy is very much like the Netflix organization:

Keep the star employees and give everyone else a generous severance package. 

 {A few months ago I wrote a blog post on Netflix’s practice of keeping their stars and offering the others generous severance packages so roles can be opened up for other stars. Read my Netflix blog post here.}

The bottom line: It’s time to take the customer experience seriously. Get rid of people who aren’t “into” serving customers. Ask yourself, “Why are they working here if they aren’t taking care of our customers?” Give them a generous severance package and find a customer service rock star to replace them.

Work with me on your customer experience.

Keep the Star Employees. The others need a generous severance package now!

I’m doing research on the NetFlix customer service culture this afternoon for a customer service conference I’m hosting next week. One of my many discoveries about the company’s culture is that they view themselves as a team, not a family, according to one website. And there’s a big difference folks. In a family, you never want to get rid of a member. You (hopefully) believe the best of everyone and you stick it out no matter what. Not so with a professional sports team. You keep the stars and trade or ax the rest.

Netflix works to hire well and sees the coach’s job as hiring, developing, and cutting smartly so they have stars at every level. The Netflix culture is no recreational basketball camp. No, they run their operations like a professional sports team, according to a 128 slide PowerPoint deck that someone posted on SlideShare, “Adequate performance gets a generous severance package.” The enlightening PowerPoint deck explains the Netflix Manager’s Keeper’s test:

 The Keeper Test Managers Use:

“Which of my people, if they told me they were leaving in two months for a similar job at a peer company, would I fight hard to keep at Netflix?”

They keep the stars and believe “the other people should get a generous severance package now so we can open up a slot and find a star for that role.”

It may sound cut-throat, but it works. In 2009 Netflix was offering a collection of 100,000 titles on DVD and surpassing 10 million subscribers. The company is legendary for customer service and they’ve got their competitors running scared. Take a look at the PowerPoint deck I’m reviewing for my customer service conference. (below)