I just had one of the best customer service experiences of my life.

Background: I've been a subscriber to Netflix since about the time I graduated from college (that's more than a couple years now, for those doing the math). I joined when they were just getting started, and opted for the 4-DVDs-out-at-a-time plan. I figured, knowing how horrible I am at returning movies on time, I was netting a savings with them, not having any late fees, at the end of the day. In fact, I even took pause to do the math at one point.

Netflix changed their pricing scheme (read: UP) in 2001 when things started getting lucrative, but all their old members got grandfathered in at their original prices, so ever since then I've been getting the 4-out (unlimited) plan at the same price that people now pay for the 3-out plan. Its been great. Considering all the traveling I've done in the last few years, I've probably saved hundreds in late fees I otherwise would have had to have paid to see as many movies so conveniently.

But then I leave for Africa. Netflix don't deliver here yet. Doh! No worries. I'll just put my account on vacation hold. Vacation hold has a max of 3 months. Doh!

So I figure I'll try to put it on hold again when the first one runs out, if they allow that. But, when my hold ran out a couple months ago, there was another problem - I had changed credit cards, and the one they had no longer would automatically work. Doh! So they started sending me emails on that. When I got my final warning today, I decided to finally call them and see if they'd help me sort this all out.

Well, I got Ryan on the phone. Ryan spoke flawless english, like a customer service phone rep for a company doing business primarily in the US should, naturally. After giving Ryan my particulars, I told him I had a unique problem, and then proceeded to explain the nature of a) my long-term travel to Africa, b) my years-long-loyalty to Netflix, c) my need to change my credit card information, d) my desire to extend my vacation hold until mid-April, and e) my desperate concern not to lose my coveted status as a 4-out member at the 3-out price.

Ryan took this all in stride. Reviewing my account history, he was amazed, and told me he's never seen any customer that's been with them this long. I beamed a little, not sure that I should be happy about that but I was all the same. Anyway, Ryan first got my new credit card sorted out. Then he told me he'd gladly put the account on hold until May, and I could open it any time before then that worked for me.

Then he gave me a full credit for the charge on my account for payment info being delinquent. THEN he gave me 2 months credit back on my account to thank me for my loyalty. He said he would have given me more but that was the max he could give me without cancelling my account, which would have lost my 4-out status.

He asked if he could do anything else and I told him I'd like to talk with his supervisor about my experience.

Just...wow. Lesson in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from a professional in the field, folks - this is how you keep your customers, which as anyone in the field knows is a heck of a lot more profitable than getting new ones.

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