If you use Netflix, you know it provides two ways to watch movies and television shows: DVDs sent through the mail, and streaming videos (sent to your PC or TV). And whichever option a customer chooses—many use both—the company will send occasional email messages to solicit feedback. The way it goes about it is worth a mention:

Those who watch DVDs receive email surveys that begin with the note that Netflix is committed to quick delivery; the email then goes on: "Please tell us when you received [Mannix: Season 1: Disc 1], which was shipped to you on [Monday, Jun 22, 2009] by clicking on the appropriate link below." In this case, a Netflix member could choose Tuesday, Wednesday, or After Wednesday.

Those who have viewed a movie online or on their TV might receive a message like this: "You recently watched [Greeks: Crucible of Civilization: Episode 2: 'The Golden Age.'] … [W]ould you take a moment to tell us about the picture and audio quality?" Below sit three possible responses: The quality was very good; the quality was acceptable; or the quality was unacceptable. Clicking on any link takes the member to a thank-you page with the message: "We're constantly working to improve the Netflix experience for our customers."

Well done.

The Po!nt: Some companies stay at the head of the line for a reason. Consider the benefits of sending out customer surveys such as these, which gather the info you need to improve the quality of your service—and let your customers know that their opinions matter.

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