Much has been written about the recent troubles over at Netflix with one of the craziest and fastest ever corporate breakups and reunions, but what can the rest of us learn from what happened?

A quick recap: Within the space of 10 days Netflix announced it was going to spin off its DVD by mail business, then changed its mind, but during that brief period lost itself almost 1 million users! I’m sure at the time it might have made sense from a long-term strategy perspective to isolate the dwindling portion of the business from fast growth streaming business.

The fact is that they lost sight of the core value that their customers saw in the service, and although the split model would have been more expensive for the user it wasn’t just about the money. Netflix forgot why their customers loved the service in the first place. Convenience; with one logon and a single location to view the entire library, manage your queue, get recommendations, and the ability to easily choose between snail-mail DVD or streaming delivery.

I’m sure Netflix knew this already, but somewhere someone forgot to ask “what impact will this change have on the customer experience”, or they decided to ignore the answer. The two key things that we can all learn from this are first, you need to really understand the core benefit of your product or service from the customers perspective, and then to ask the question above whenever you are considering changing anything that might impact the customer. In fact you would do well to ask this question even if you don’t think it would impact the customer.

So here is what you need to do right now- write down your businesses core benefit (from your customers perspective) and pin it up around the office. Look at it often to remind yourself why your customers choose to have a relationship with you.

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