Captain’s Log: NetFlix Customer Service Boldly Amazes!

4 Great Lessons from NetFlix’s Amazing Customer Service Interaction

Tom Cheredar’s post on Venture Beat is a “Captain’s Log” entry to be savored by all brand engagement leaders!When I speak to conferences on how to create amazing brand experiences for their audiences, one of the key points is to create amazement within the very processes that your audience would normally consider the most boring or irritating. Tom Cheredar’s post on VentureBeat last week illustrates this in multiple ways.

The story describes how a NetFlix customer service representative, Mike, did exactly that. In an online support chat session, he assumed the character of a Starfleet Captain, asking the customer for information as if he were a member of the starship crew. The customer played along, and their subsequent conversation about temporal loops and damage reports became a great example of an amazing brand experience.

Make sure to read the entire post here:, then consider my “lessons learned” below.

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4 Takeaways from Captain Mike and Lieutenant Norm’s Exchange

  1. “Captain Mike” is a real person, not a robot or an over-trained, over-regulated customer service android (with no offense intended to Commander Data). His choice to engage the customer in character was bold and a little risky, but he retained the power to abandon the character if the customer didn’t respond positively.
  2. The decision to make the interaction fun demonstrates point 2 of my “Five Kinds of Amazing,” namely, the Science/Process experience. This was not really a breaking or rethinking of the rules, but rather an unexpected result that was embedded within the natural processes of the business environment.

    (Note that while the incident demonstrates that NetFlix empowers their reps to take some liberties with customer interactions, this specific interaction did not demonstrate the Magic/Empowerment experience as it is present in my “5 Kinds” model. This is because there was no coloring outside the lines of policy to the direct benefit of the customer at some cost to the brand; there were no exceptions, extensions, refunds, etc. This doesn’t mean the experience wasn’t amazing; it just means that it was amazing for point 2, not for point 3.)

  3. This experience cost NetFlix nothing. It was a direct result of the unleashed creativity of an individual, not a policy. Individuals who act and communicate create cultural influences that lead to more of these experiences more effectively than policy edicts.
  4. As a result of the amazing experience, “Lt. Norm” didn’t just want a copy of the transcript to keep, but to share with his network. This is the real evidence of an amazing brand experience – the customer is motivated to tell others about what happened.



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