Oklahoma video rental stores focus on customer satisfaction to compete with online sites

Employees of a video chain in Oklahoma talk about the changes and challenges the movie rental industry has seen since the creation of Redbox, Netflix and other online streaming websites.
by Tiffany Gibson Published: April 2, 2012

— Manager Heath Clark compares his Family Video store to the sitcom “Cheers” — a place where everybody knows everyone's name and relationships are vital.

“Oklahoma is still that friendly, smiling video culture,” he said. “We're a big family state.”

But customer-employee interaction has declined over the past few years because of online streaming sites, such as Netflix, Redbox rental machines and the closing of video stores across the state.

There's no doubt technology has made movie rentals more accessible, but people usually have problems with those products when they need assistance, Clark, 34, said.

“There's no one there to talk to about it,” he said. “We go above and beyond to take care of them.”

Because of Web competition, some video rental companies, such as Blockbuster, have sought to offer additional online options to rent movies. A call to the Blockbuster's media relations department seeking comment for this story was not returned.

Family Video District Manager Tim O'Toole, 26, said his company's stores focus on creating a pleasant atmosphere for customers and price deals that keep them coming back. There are 28 Family Video stores in Oklahoma.

A family movie night used to involve driving to a rental store and browsing through the aisles for the perfect selection. Now families can go to a rental box around the corner or watch a film online without leaving home.

“The video store is no longer the most convenient source. The reason people are going to come back here is because the relationship we've built,” O'Toole said.

‘A better selection'

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by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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