Quick blog on a topic I often have the urge to rant about, customer service. According to the experts if you want to benefit from positive word of mouth your business has to provide Wow! customer service. Average doesn't cut it, and bad service actually generates negative word of mouth.
I recently bought tickets online to go see Iron Man. I was foaming at the mouth to see this film and was really looking forward to it. I showed up at the Cineworld in High Wycombe and, oops, there was a fire in the theatre (nobody hurt) and I was prevented from even getting within 100 yards. Things happen, I was glad everyone was safe, and so went elsewhere to see the film same day. Iron Man was a gas, really good fun.
Three days later I drop by the cinema to get a refund. I present my email confirmation and the cashier informs me that, well, they can refund the ticket price, but not the transaction fee. I would have to call the corporate help line for that. I didn't make a fuss, I took the partial refund.
Later, while eating sushi, I realize that I now hate Cineworld for not giving me a full refund. It would take too much time and energy to chase down the transaction fee, so, not really an option for me. However, dropping the equivalent of about 3 US dollars into a sewer pipe never makes me happy, in fact, it makes me mad. As a former movie theater manager I came up with a few ways I could have been made truly happy, and on the spot: a couple free tickets/passes, a coupon for free concessions, an invite to a sneak preview, maybe put on a compensation show late some night for everybody who was inconvenienced by the fire, etc. But no, they tell me to call corporate. My transaction fee? My tough luck to have booked on a day they had a fire.
Creativity in business doesn't always have to be rocket science does it? It can be really easy and incremental. It can be as simple as a free bag of popcorn. A small bit of creativity on the part of Cineworld would have made me a happy customer returning again and again to their theatre. Instead it becomes a last resort, and, I take time to let the world know how I feel about Cineworld.