Being Fair

A couple of weeks ago, Hulu Plus shed its beta tag and opened to the general public. When this happened, the price was changed and a new one week free trial was added. As a subscriber I was happy to hear about the new lower price, though my main concern was wondering if I would have to contact them to get the price break. That concern, thankfully, was the furthest thing from the truth. Soon as the news hit, I found this email waiting for me:

Hi Adam,

Thanks for being a subscriber to Hulu Plus during our preview. We’ve been hard at work refining our existing applications, expanding the device coverage, and extending our content lineup. We’re excited to announce that today, Hulu Plus is officially launching out of preview to anyone in the U.S. for just $7.99/month.

Since we’re now offering Hulu Plus at a lower price than during the preview, your subscription fee has been lowered to $7.99/month, and on your next billing cycle, we’ll also automatically credit your account with $2 for each month you’ve been a subscriber. In addition, we’re now offering a 1-week free trial for all new subscribers, so we’ll be issuing you an additional $2 credit since the free trial wasn’t in place during the preview.

We’d also like to offer you the chance to earn more free time on Hulu Plus by helping us spread the word about the service. For each friend who uses your referral to join Hulu Plus, we’ll give you two additional weeks for free, up to 20 weeks total. Each of your referrals will also receive two weeks free on their first month’s subscription. For more details on the program and to invite your friends, please visit http://www.hulu.com/profile/referrals.

Since the Hulu Plus preview began, we’ve added more TV shows and extended our device coverage. To see which shows are now available on Hulu Plus, please visit http://www.hulu.com/plus/content, and to see the most up-to-date list of supported TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and tablets visit http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.

Thanks for supporting us during the Hulu Plus preview. We look forward to continuing to work on your behalf in the months and years to come.

The Hulu Team

(emphasis added)

This is about the last thing I expected, especially from a company backed by major media players. I would hate to imaging how much this move cost them, but I know it bought them plenty of loyalty; it’s rare to see companies go out of their way to be fair to customers, and even moreso when it means giving back money they’ve already collected. If you want to win the hearts of your customers, this is the kind of move that does it.

If you change the price on a service or application – how will you current customers feel? Will they feel cheated for being an early adopter? It’s your current customers that will bring in new customers; make sure you take good care of them, and they will take care of you.