Thu, Aug 16th 2007 2:08pm
Although Blockbuster sat on its heels for a long time while NetFlix gobbled up market share, the company has aggressively fought back this year, prompting a lot of pain at NetFlix. NetFlix stock has been pummeled lately as its been drawn into a price war in order to stem customer churn. The problem is that its business model is easily replicated, which partly explains the company's attempt to assert a patent on it. However, the company does appear willing to actually compete, which is refreshing. The New York Times reports on the company's unorthodox decision to offer customer support services from friendly sounding Oregonions (as the company puts it), rather than rely on offshoring or email support. Although this is an expensive move, the company feels it will prove to be a key differentiator as it battles back Blockbuster. Obviously, good customer support means happier customers, while bad customer support can turn customers away. But the lesson isn't that companies should immediately stop all offshoring of these services. Rather, it's important for companies to think of customer support strategically and weigh the various costs and benefits, rather than just going on the lowest-price option.
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