I’ve always thought NetFlix was an interesting company. At one point we were lauding them for the transformation they brought to the home-movie-watching market and the amazing insights they could generate about their customers. They had a DVD and Streaming service that were much loved by their customers.
However roughly two years ago their stock was worth $70-80 having crashed from $300 following a series of poorly judged communications with customers. A combination of the CEO’s arrogance (his words) and a focus on explaining to shareholders (as opposed to customers) why they were making major changes in their company strategy led to an almighty back-lash from customers. It has taken them a good 2 years to fully recover.
But recover they have and I can’t help feel that they have learnt something from the debacle.
You will see this awesome Customer Service exchange around over the next couple of days but do pause to ask yourself – is this just a bunch of really great people at the front-line who have been given some latitude to be themselves or has the organisation itself, the management, the CEO fundamentally changed to the extent that this is a natural result of their strategic direction.
It’s hard to tell, we can only guess, however I would argue that long-tenured CEOs have more of a chance to develop, learn and transform an organisation into a truly customer-led business than short-tenured stock-market focussed CEOs – precisely because they get the chance to learn from their mistakes and/or invest in their ideas. There is so much more strategically to NetFlix’s recovery to a $300 share price but I hope that being more connected to their customers at a human level will help them avoid repeating mistakes of the past in responding to the ever-shifting landscape ahead of them.