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Six Customer Experience Lessons You Can Learn From Netflix One of the major challenges businesses around the world will face over the next decade is the "war for talent," and there is a lot to learn from Netflix on that front.

By Steven van Belleghem

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Over the last few years, I have taken executives from different industries on "innovation tours" to visit some of the world's top technology companies, but the one company that always blows visitors away is Netflix.

The company started in 1997, which may make it pretty ancient by tech standards, but they have continually reinvented themselves to stay at the forefront of customer experience on their journey to securing 195 million subscribers. Netflix is one of the kings of frictionless, personalized and joyful customer experience, and there is so much that companies in industries can learn from them.

Here are a few:

1. Understand what you really sell While we turn to Netflix for entertainment, the company understands what they really sell is "attention." Yes, they are competing with other movie streaming services, but they're also competing with Fortnite, Spotify, Nintendo, or anything else that takes consumers away from its services. Their outstanding customer experience is one of their key weapons in this constant battle for attention.

2. Test, measure, repeat Everyone at Netflix is absolutely obsessed with customers. Their team not only constantly scrutinize personal profile data for movie recommendations, but also run countless focus groups, usability sessions, and demographic surveys before testing the assumptions again and again. Netflix calls its approach "consumer science," using a scientific methodology to form hypotheses, and test them. This culture of customer obsession is the driver behind their ultra-tailored experience, but it is also the key to the success of in-house content such as Black Mirror and The Queen's Gambit.

Related: How To Ensure (Really) Good Customer Experiences To Help Your Business Grow In The UAE

3. Bring joy A scientific approach can create a slick, efficient customer experience, but it is the human element that can make that experience truly outstanding. English live support is available 24/7 (local from 8.00 till 23.00) via live chat or phone, and customer support teams are trained to focus on joy and proactively helping customers. If something goes wrong, don't wait for the customer to call to fix it– fix it before the customer has to make an effort to complain, and make him/her feel good in doing so.

Source: Steven Van Belleghem

4. Your product is serious business Millions of people turn to Netflix when they need to entertain their children for half an hour with a cartoon, or when they want a comedy series to help them switch off mentally after a busy day at work. Cartoons and family movies might be light relief, but that shouldn't mean the importance of what they do should be underestimated. Netflix themselves have always described entertainment as a basic human need, and have made "entertaining the world" their mission– and there is no denying that their service has been a real lifeline for many people around the world during lockdown periods caused as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

5. Hunt the friction, delete the frustration Are you old enough to remember how video rentals used to work? You'd travel to the store, spend time choosing from the title that were actually in stock, and then face the prospect of fines if you didn't return the video in time. Right from the start, Netflix have been obsessed by redefining the movie experience, to remove all the friction and frustration. It started by offering a low-cost monthly subscription for DVDs in the mail to remove late fees and the need to go to the store. They then saw that instant-access entertainment could easily solve all the remaining customer frustrations in their service– but even now, they make chasing anger and frustration a top priority to keep enhancing the experience.

6. Happy employees create happy customers I have often heard people in business say that you can either focus on happy customers or happy employees, not both. It is certainly true that not all great customer expe- riences are rooted in great employee experiences. Netflix, however, saw the happiness of employees as a competitive advantage. The leadership team think just as rigorously about people and culture as they do about digital streaming and content, and prioritize hiring the right people and then empowering them to make the most creative and impactful decisions, that will always trickle down to the customers. The Netflix culture manifesto states: "Our core philosophy is people over process. More specifically, we have great people working together as a dream team. With this approach, we are a more flexible, fun, stimulating, creative, collaborative and successful organization." One of the major challenges businesses around the world will face over the next decade is the "war for talent," and there is a lot to learn from Netflix in terms of employer branding, as well as fostering creativity, innovation, and continuously striving to create outstanding experiences for customers.

Related: How to Deliver A Great Localized Customer Experience

Steven van Belleghem

Speaker and author

Steven van Belleghem is one of the world’s leading thought leaders, speakers and authors on customer engagement. His new book, The Offer You Can’t Refuse, is out now.
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