My wife and I recently signed up for Netflix
(I know, I know...welcome to three years ago) and so far we've been pretty pleased with the service. Between the DVDs and their Watch Instantly (read: streaming) service, we have a hard time getting bored. What's really impressed me though has been the way **Netflix manages to keep me invested**, even when I'm not watching anything.
We talk a lot at ZURB about setting expectations—insuring our clients are prepared for what we're going to need and deliver. Customers are happier with clear expectations, and doubly happy when you meet or beat them. Netflix manages this really well by always keeping me up to date on what I've returned to them and when I'll be getting the next disc.
Netflix emailed me about my next delivery with the subject, "For Tuesday: The West Wing Season 3." Awesome.
So far Netflix has not once let me down when they've set up the expectation that I'll receive something. In a few cases they beat their own estimate – testament to their much-touted distribution system. By keeping me in the loop and being incredibly transparent about what's happening with my account, I'm not only excited to get emails from them, I trust the emails.
Watch instantly is a great feature (even if it does use Silverlight rather than Flash). The experience isn't quite as polished as Hulu, but then there are no ads on Netflix. Courtesy of Watch Instantly I've enjoyed a very thorough introduction to *Doctor Who*, and that was worth the money right there. What's really hooked me though is the discovery process of Watch Instantly. Not only does Netflix add new content frequently (giving me more to browse through), but they present things I might also enjoy very well. Their targeted recommendations have exposed me to *Primer*—a film I would not have seen otherwise—and I have quite a few more things queued up.
Targeted recommendations are nothing new, but Netflix does it well and combined with the instant availability they've hooked me pretty well.
Getting My Feedback
The last great move Netflix uses to keep me invested is getting my feedback. Feedback in a lot of businesses is key, but getting that feedback can often be an onerous process. As a user I don't mind giving feedback—if it's easy. Very, very easy. Netflix nails this. Check it out:
Super simple and targeted right at me. How was the quality of something I watched last night? Well it was very good. Done.
Netflix got something they wanted from me, I spent a grand total of...maybe 15 seconds on it, and I'm thinking about Netflix again
, and what I could watch later.
Netflix does a lot of things well, and because of it they're raking in money while their competitors spiral into oblivion. The beauty of Netflix's notifications is that they don't bother me the way some companies' emails do. They're always something I either wanted to know anyways or something very short and with a clear benefit.
Is your business staying on your user's minds?
Don't just harass them because you have their email address. Consider what they want to know and tell them. Provide a service. If you can't do that, be up front with what you want and get out of their way. Surveys aren't necessarily evil—they just tend to be annoying and long. Netflix nails surveys: one question, no need to visit some site, or give any information.
Useful notifications, simple surveys, new content to explore...yeah, Netflix stays on my brain. Get your company on user's minds as effectively as they do and you're well on your way to the same kind of success.