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Amazon Wins at Online Customer Service, Everyone Piles On Netflix

Netflix gets singled out

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Amazon Wins at Online Customer Service, Everyone Piles On Netflix
[ Business]

Which company has the best online customer service? What about the worst? While the names will not surprise you, the level of satisfaction provided may very well.

Findings from a recent study conducted by ForeSee, a “customer experience analytics firm,” aimed to measure which retailer offered the best and worst in regards to customer satisfaction during the 2011 holiday shopping season. Termed the “Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index,” the results within offer a clear picture about which company gets customer service right and which ones get it wrong.

The data contained in the results is revealing in the sense of discovering which retailers take care of their customers and vice versa. ForeSee’s results show Amazon as the leader in customer satisfaction, and Overstock.com as the worst, which does not demonstrate a large amount of change from 2010′s results. Amazon was also the first place company in 2010, while Overstock.com ranked near the bottom.

Nothing new here, so far; however, once you take a look at the way Netflix was singled out, it’s almost as if the desire to see Netflix fail exists in reporting of these results.

First off, it should be noted that Netflix took the biggest hit in regards to customer satisfaction, dropping seven spots to the 19th ranked company — out of 40 retailers. That, apparently, was all that was needed to open the floodgates towards Netflix and let all the negativity out. Even ForeSee’s CEO jumped in on the fun:

“Netflix totally misread its customer base and is paying the price, damaging its brand among both consumers and investors,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “Raising prices by 60% and splitting the baby into separate DVD and streaming services totally undermines Netflix’s cost and convenience advantages. Customer satisfaction is predictive, which means that Netflix’s financial woes may be just beginning.”

That’s all fine and good. The problem lies in the fact the results were supposed to be dealing with holiday retail, not Netflix’s year in review. Now, Freed does make valid points about why satisfaction concerning Netflix dropped, but I doubt the results were based on a holiday retail interaction with Netflix.

Instead, the points come across as simple backlash against Netflix’s business model alterations.

Considering the study was supposed to be focusing on the just-passed holiday season, Netflix’s overall performance during their tumultuous 2011 should be immaterial to the results. Instead, it appears as if respondents took the opportunity to once again air their grievances with Netflix’s policy changes. It wasn’t just in ForeSee’s press release, either. Various publications took the opportunity to single the movie rental company out.

Meanwhile, Blockbuster.com ranks far, far below Netflix, coming in just a few spots above Overstock.com, but yet, where are the articles blasting Blockbuster? Or OfficeMax.com and OfficeDepot.com? What about Sears.com and ToysRUs.com? All of these entities also rank below Netflix in terms of customer satisfaction, but yet, Netflix is being made out to be the worst offender. The largest decrease from last year to this? Yes, but the worst in regards to customer service?

Not even close.

The fact is, it appears as if Netflix is at least weathering the storm and the customer satisfaction rates are improving, at least according to a different survey. Considering the fact the holiday season satisfaction was being measured, does Netflix even fit in that category? How many of you gave the gift of Netflix this year?

Let us know what you think.

Amazon Wins at Online Customer Service, Everyone Piles On Netflix
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