On Nov. 12th Disney Plus entered the streaming world and effectively started the Streaming Wars. Amassing 10 million users on day one and possibly matching Netflix’s 60 million in the future, if this were Game of Thrones, Disney Plus is Daenerys coming to claim her throne.
And soon more services will battle for the streaming kingdom. NBC’s Peacock launch in April 2020 will undoubtedly rock Netflix and Hulu with its reclamation of The Office and Brooklyn 99. Following on its heels, HBO Max is set to go live in spring 2020.
In a recent New York Times article on the state of streaming, Brett Sappington, an analyst and researcher at Parks Associates said, “The truth is that it is only getting started.”
So, what does Disney Plus’s grand entrance mean for customer experience? As existing and upcoming streaming platforms fight for dominance let’s pull in some top customer experience lessons from Disney’s first week.
1. Embrace what customers love about your brand
Disney Plus took a leap of faith into streaming by relying on a brand that has constructed itself to be synonymous with magic, wonder, and creativity in entertainment. What the streaming service has done best so far is its ability to gather and capitalize on intellectual property that has built meaningful experiences for several generations.
While Netflix and Hulu have had to build up their own generated content over the years, Disney is entering the game with a brand that is already interwoven in its own lore and a vault full of content. It’s quite the head start.
CX lesson: As more brands enter the digitally focused direct to consumer marketplace, older organizations may not be as savvy as digitally native startups. But many have already built strong customer relationships and have strong reputations based on company values that if effectively translated online can help transition effective customer experience and loyalty from offline to online.
2. Match personalization with simplicity
True to most streaming platforms, Disney Plus offers many categories of movies and TV shows for users to choose from. There’s something for everyone. Such a wide library of content helped boost the popularity of Netflix and Hulu.
But where once Netflix captivated users with incredibly diverse suggestions ranging from Korean dramas to British cooking shows in one scroll, it quickly became confusing to navigate and cluttered. Forgoing the use of a familiar design, the company instead favored an algorithm that constantly changes your offerings. It has turned into personalization run rampant.
Disney seems to be going for the minimalistic approach to personalization. Offering a finite set of categories, ranging in simple names such as Marvel, Musicals, or Throwbacks. It’s easy to navigate while still giving users the sense of choice.
This may in part be due to the younger demographic that will be using the service. But the decluttered user interface is a welcome change.
CX lesson: The user experience matters. And less is more with your web design. While personalization is a key feature for many products, do not let it overcloud how a user may naturally interact with your brand. Make product and service navigation seamless and easy instead of being flashy. Eliminate friction in finding what to watch.
3. Build customer trust
Trust is an invaluable asset for customers. This can be built off the great experiences users have with products and associates, creating lasting memories of a positive interaction. But trust can just as easily be lost and it can be harder to gain. Findings from Accenture showed a $180 billion drop in revenue from companies who experienced major drops in trust.
Just a week in, Disney Plus already has a damaging situation on hand. On Nov. 16 ZDNet reported that thousands of Disney Plus accounts were hacked and are on sale on black web forums, with the possibility of malicious activity starting right at launch. Add to the fact that the service crashed on its launch day, and the company is faced with its first streaming crisis.
In a statement provided to Enterprise Times Disney stated, “We have found no evidence of a security breach. Billions of usernames and passwords leaked from previous breaches at other companies, pre-dating the launch of Disney Plus, are being sold on the web. “
So while Disney is not claiming direct responsibility for hackings, this needs to be an opportunity for to act swiftly and genuinely with customers to maintain authenticity and trust.
CX lesson: Hackings, leaks, and malware are a common occurrences in the digital age. Use these stressful moments to educate customers (non-condescendingly) on proper password and authentication usage to prevent further incidents. And when issues arise, apologize, be accountable, fix them, and be transparent about what’s happening. Otherwise customers will see right through the PR spin and their trust will erode.
CX will determine the future of streaming
With a name like Disney, the brand is going to have some advantages over other companies. Few companies have such a foundation in the entertainment industry. But a strong history does not ensure that its future is perfectly secure.
Besides reputation and product, customer relationships are often determined by the quality of the service experience. And Disney’s volume of millions of customer service requests and complaints since it launched has been a trial by fire for its customer service team. The company’s Disney + Help Twitter page reported that customer responses are “overwhelming” and “exceeded our expectations” with many Twitter using the platform to voice their concerns and displeasure. Leading up to the new year and beyond, Disney Plus customer service may have reinvent itself to deal with increasingly rampant number of issues.
Rather than rest on its laurels or lean into its content only, Disney Plus and others will succeed with a great product, but more importantly by delivering amazing customer experiences and proactively assisting those in need. And its experience may serve as a lesson in CX for other streaming services coming after it.