I'm a Netflix customer, and because my internet isn't what it could be (that's a long story involving half a mile of empty road and a five-figure installation fee), I subscribe solely to their DVD-delivery service instead of using their Watch Instantly service. DVDs are less convenient (there's a three-day lag between returning one and receiving the next), but I do feel like I'm getting my $12.71-a-month's worth out of it.
Lately we've been on a Mel Brooks kick (Alex has never seen most of them), so after last week's Blazing Saddles Alex was happy to see that Young Frankenstein was next in the queue. But yesterday morning, when I got the shipping notices, I was surprised; they'd shipped me #2 and #3 in the queue without an explanation. I checked, and Young Frankenstein was still at the top of my queue, so I knew I hadn't accidentally removed it - and it had been at that position in the queue for a while, so I knew that I hadn't just moved it up while they were preparing the next two DVDs to go out. I just wasn't sure what had happened.
Then, today, I got this email:
Arriving Later: Young Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein was not available from your local shipping center. Fortunately, it was available from a shipping center in another part of the country. It's on its way and should arrive within 3 to 5 days.
You'll notice we also recently sent the next available DVD from your Queue to enjoy while Young Frankenstein makes its way to you.
–The Netflix Team
Another company might have just sent me disc #2 over and over again, while they waited for Young Frankenstein to show up in the local shipping center again; or they might have sent me #2 and #3 over and over again with no explanation at all, leaving Young Frankenstein inexplicably sitting at the top of my queue without going out; or they might have said "if it's not at your local shipping center, you're out of luck" and dropped it from my queue altogether.
Instead, Netflix had an unusual situation, they went out of their way to resolve it behind the scenes, and they took extra action to make sure that I was satisfied (after all, #3 is a DVD I want to watch, it's just not the one I expected) while the unusual situation resolved.
That's the first time in a while that a company's gotten me to say "Huh. Cool."
I'm just saying.
(PS. What's extra-fascinating to me about this is that almost certainly this happened with no human intervention - it's their automated system at work, which means that they've put a lot of time and thought into making their system work as well for customers as possible.)
(PPS. Now I'm curious about what happens when the DVD is checked out from the local shipping center and there isn't another copy floating around.)