Star Trek-Inspired Customer Service Exchange Goes Viral

A Netflix customer service rep hit the front page of Reddit this week, after answering a customer’s questions in a funny, Star Trek-inspired web chat.

Mike Mears told reporters he often answers web chats as “Captain Mike of the good ship Netflix,” saying most customers enjoy talking to someone with a sense of humor.

The exchange was so well received that CNN set up a surprise video call Tuesday between Mears and William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series.

What’s unusual about the 41-line web chat is that Mears and his customer, Norman Horn, never break character. Horn immediately plays along, replying with “Greetings, Captain. Lieutenant Norm here. Engineering has a problem to report. Visual displays are erratic, sir.”

Asked to elaborate, Horn writes, “At 5 minutes of operation, roughly, the visual creates a temporal loop and nearly 3 seconds of footage repeat over and over again. Our ship seems to be immune to the effect, as our lives are not actually repeating over and over.”

Star Trek Inspired Customer Service Exchange Goes Viral image NetflixChatStar Trek Inspired Customer Service Exchange Goes Viral

An excerpt from a Star Trek-inspired customer service chat. Photo credit: Norman Horn

Mears said his managers appreciated the publicity, and encouraged him to continue personalizing his customer service interactions.

“Just like everyone else at Netflix, our [customer service] folks are given the freedom and responsibility to be great at what they do, and this is a wonderful example of it,” Netflix spokesman Jonathan Freedland told CNBC.

The post got more than 1,500 comments and 2,700 upvotes on Reddit. A number of Redditors shared their own positive experiences with Netflix.

“I’ve contacted them twice,” wrote Redditor MrKMJ. “They’re quite good at “acting human.” You never feel like you’re talking to a customer service drone. They must encourage employees to chat casually.”

“My sister works for Netflix chat support, and this is encouraged,” replied Redditor Mou_Nakanaide. “She says it’s a great part of her job.”

Netflix has repeatedly stated that creating positive customer experiences is a major goal for the company. Defining what that means varies from company to company. Whimsical customer experiences work for an entertainment-focused company like Netflix, while they probably wouldn’t work for a bank, or a hospital.

No matter the industry, customers want a personalized experience, and the feeling that they’re talking to a company representative who cares about solving their problem.

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