People make mistakes, right? It’s how you deal with them that matters, but unfortunately Showcase Cinemas in Dudley don’t care very much about ‘customer service’.
Two weeks ago, my elderly parents took their 3 year old grandson to see Puss In Boots. The staff neglected to tell people buying tickets that the heating had broken. My Mom has Raynauds disease – an unpleasant circulation problem that means that a freezing cold cinema screening is best avoided.
My parents complained after the screening and the manager apologised. He admitted they should have warned people in advance, and issued them with some tickets that could be used ‘for any film, at any time.’ Great! He’d dealt with that in the right way. Problem solved!
So why have we just been turned away from Showcase Cinema?
I’ve just got back from Showcase after a very disappointing exchange with two managers. When we tried to use these ‘emergency tickets’ (that’s what it says on them – I quite like the idea of an ‘emergency ticket’, maybe I should just frame it, stick it on my wall with a sign above which says ‘In case of emergency – break glass’) we were told that as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a latest release, we can’t redeem our wonderful ‘emergency tickets’.
Now, I understand that because of contractual obligations with different studios, it’s not always possible to offer free tickets for the very latest releases. But having been explicitly told by the manager ‘for any film, at any time’, I was expecting that this little problem would be resolved quickly.
The manager passed the buck ‘I wasn’t the manager who issued the tickets so I can’t do anything’ and simply wouldn’t budge no matter how many times I politely informed her that the cinema had messed up once and had now screwed up again. It didn’t matter that the one manager had admitted they were at fault. It didn’t matter that I’d politely asked ‘what can we do to sort this out?’- there was no hope of some common sense from the manager of Showcase Cinema in Dudley.
We’d gone from ‘for any film, at any time‘ from one manager to a firm ‘no!‘ from a different manager who should have a photo of herself in the Oxford Dictionary next to the word ‘smug’. There was no apology, not the slightest whiff of an attempt to do anything to rectify the situation, it was just ‘no‘. We asked to speak to another manager and were told that she was the only one working there today… this lie was then cruelly exposed when the other manager who gave my folks the ‘emergency tickets’ in the first place then appeared from nowhere.
This guy was more reasonable and he all ready to let us in to see the movie. He admitted that it was his fault and that he had said ‘for any film, at any time‘, but unfortunately the other manager must have been having a terrible day and by body language appeared to overrule him. She didn’t even blink when I told her that she hadn’t just lost about £20 in cinema takings that night, but hundreds in future revenue (it’s our local cinema and we’ve been going there since it opened in about 1999). That’s when it hit home, she really didn’t care about customer service.
So to recap- Showcase Cinemas screw up the heating and give us some tickets that can be used ‘for any film, at any time‘, we then try to use them and find that ‘for any film, at any time‘ actually means ‘for some films, at some point and yes we did screw up but that’s just tough luck… NEXT!’