Netflix Canada – A Trust Gap Case Study

Photo from apete via Flickr

I love movies! When I heard that Netflix was coming to Canada, I almost did that Toyota jump that we use to see on commercials where people jump in the air and bend the legs back. Unfortunately, I haven’t signed up for their service yet, the reason is the trust gap.

The Trust Gap

I’ve been reading UnMarketing from Scott Stratten, which is a great book about relationship building and engaging your audience.  Scott has a section in his book called Trust Gap.  I’m sure he didn’t coin the phrase, but he provides insight into it as it pertains to business and marketing.  He states:

The higher the trust, the more likely it is that someone will do business with you.

So the lower the trust, the less likely it is that someone will do business with you.  This is the trust gap. We’ll see how the trust gap has played a role in my decision to not sign up with Netflix Canada.

My Netflix Canada Trust Gap

Despite my love for movies, my initial exposure to Netflix Canada resulted in low trust for two reasons:

  1. Selection: If you’ve been to the Netflix Canada website, you probably have noticed that their selection is pretty poor.  For example, their Fantasy & Sci Fi category only has 18 selections to choose from; all of them older than a year. This poor selection has caused my trust in Netflix Canada to be low because I’m not sure how committed they are to Canadian consumers.  As well, their promotion of ‘unlimited’ TV & movies is a bit misleading.  You can watch the same 18 movies over and over again, but the selection is far from unlimited.
  2. Authenticity: A large factor that contributes to trust levels is authenticity. I’ve mentioned the misleading phase of ‘unlimited’, but another issue is their initial marketing stunt. Netflix Canada hired actors to pretend to be excited about the arrival of Netflix into Canada during a media event in Toronto.  Not only did they screw up by ‘faking’ the excitement, but they didn’t truly own up to the mistake and made excuses.  This tactic left me wondering how honest their other business practices are.

No Risk Free Trial

Netflix Canada really needs to take a page from Scott’s book. Right on the home page is a clear call-to-action for a one month free trial.  Free trials are a common approach to close the trust gap.  Scott addresses the free trials in a great way:

Taking price away as an issue is like me stepping a foot closer when you’re two miles away.

This is so true for me.  I have my reservations about dealing with Netflix Canada and giving me a free trial is not enough for me to provide personal contact information and credit card information. Netflix Canada has more work to do to instill trust in them.  Scott suggests focusing less on cost and more on relationships.

Here are some ideas that Netflix Canada could do to close the trust gap for me:

  • blog about home theatre tips to improve movie watching experience
  • post how-to videos for audio/video setup
  • be active on social media (as of this post, their last tweet was 2 weeks old)
  • help me understand the reasons behind the poor selection and what they are doing to address it

Do you trust Netflix Canada? What can they do for you to close the trust gap?

  • Tyler Wall1

    I agree for the most part. I was unimpressed with Netflix as well when it initially came to Canada. The selection is getting better and better and really it is way cheaper than cable but you do get way less. recently I have been thinking of getting rid of my cable and replacing it with a Netflix type of service but because of my love of American television and the strangle hold that the CRDC has on all forms of legal distribution of American content, I don't believe there would be a cheap alternative.

    right now I think there is only a hybrid of solutions, combine Netflix with the itunes store to gather all the shows that I enjoy and say goodbye to any live sports broadcasts :(

    I really dislike giving out my address, phone# and especially credit info just to sign up to a “free” trial. Not exactly free if you have to give all that information.

  • Simon @ Stikky Media

    I've tried the trial and although the selection is lacking, I'm going to continue paying for it based on the low cost and ease of use. Until something better comes along at least.

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  • Kim Siever

    I tried the trial, and I found their streaming quality is superior than anything else I have tried online. Their selection really sucks though, and that is the only reason I don’t pay for the service.

  • Gerry Pratt

     Since you just posted the link on Facebook I took another look at your post.  What difference has a year made for you?  Have they closed the gap?  For me,

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    I’m glad our northern neighbors are finally able to enjoy the convenience of Netflix!