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Old Timer Too

I have mixed feelings on the future of Blockbuster compared to Netflix. I admire Hastings and the job he's done with the company.

One element of success is how you obtain customer loyalty or how your alienate customers. Netflix alienated me by throttling, then lying about it, then changing the playing rules, and exhibiting no sympathy at all for my case. In a single month's time, they sent me the equivalent to a six-out program while I was paying for an eight-out program.

Blockbuster, joining them, after leaving Netflix, has not been an easy ride. First, their delivery time was horrid and the return time appeared to depend largely on the post office I used. Even with Netflix's throttling, I was watching fewer titles each month under Blockbuster, but at least, if something bad happened, BB did their best to "do the right thing" for me, and that sparked my loyalty.

For a while, with the new site, things got worse. The site was horrid and had a lot of bad things happening on it. After over a year of working out the bugs, the site has everything that I would want, except for speed. All the features are back with some nice new ones, too. And, they realized what was bad (like the trash can that would choke if you pressed two of them in a row on your queue) and took care of that.

They cut their service from 8-out to 4-out, but made up for it by helping me open a second account, leaving me with double the coupons and two smaller queues.

The e-coupons were a nice touch and I used them off and on, until Total Access entered the picture. The coupons were then ignored and have been for a long time.

But now, they have gone the netflix route with insulting (to my intelligence) responses from their "customer care" department and a "I don't matter to them" attitude. I've talked with store managers and I've sent letters. It has been less than a week (the initial e-mails went out on the 17th to us as customers), so we'll see what happens as the hard copy letters make their way up the flag pole.

The big thing is that now both companies are back on even territory. They offer about the same service and most recently, BB has joined NF in attitude matching that which happened 18 months ago.

I understand that NF now "cares" a little more about its customers and tries to do what's right. As long as they are working toward correcting the ill feeling that took place 18 months ago, then they will gain a lot from BB's current attitude (and I should mention that this only applies to the corporate decision as reflected by the customer care department). How deeply it will cut into customer loyalty only remains to be seen.

They may fix it quick enough to effectively quell the damage, or they may be so slow that they forever leave bad tastes in people's mouths.

Hastings is very right. As of today, given the current situation, the smart money is with Netflix.

CJ

Reed has it right - NF is making money and has cash in the bank. BB is losing money and is in debt. Both services have their advantages over the other: NF with it's faster mail service, social networking website, Watch Now; BB with it's B&M stores, Total Access Plan, lots of real estate.

Seems to me they're both finding their market niches. I belong to both subscription services, and use them in complimentary ways: Watch Now for spontaneous instant viewing, Total Access for guaranteed new releases each Tuesday, both services for everything else. I believe both NF and BB will continue to refine their market niches and both be around for at least the next few years.

I don't believe customer service levels, loyalty, etc. is really relevant to survival in an oligopolistic market (i.e. two players). What is relevant is the price and the product differentiation.

Edward R Murrow

The future is here http://www.comcast.com/Corporate/Explore/Digitalcable.html?lid=1LearnDigitalCable&pos=Nav. I don't believe that the future involves making stupid investments in low-tech disc stuffing machines for DVD's that go through snail-mail.

Does the future involve message board trolls who will never amount to anything second guessing multi-millionaire, ultra-successful, industry-defining business leaders? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

Edward R Murrow

Stop giving yourself a bikini wax and sign your posts.

gir

Don't feed the trolls.

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