Showcase Cinema – How NOT to do customer service

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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.

It wasn’t.

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!’

A Dramatic cake for film quiz winners!

It’s our turn to host the Light House film quiz tonight and it should be a good ‘un if all goes to plan.  As our team is named after the Dramatic Chipmunk we decided to decorate a cake for the eventual winners.  I say ‘we’, the cake was actually decorated by Jim Fownes, what a legend! Never have chipmunks tasted so good! Nom nom nom….

Dramatic Chipmunk Cake

Christmas is over

Christmas is over, I’m a bit bored and I still have the remaining sniffles of a cold that flared up on Christmas Day (it didn’t put me in a very good mood!). I’ve got a few books to start reading – His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman (haven’t seen the film of the first book yet – I’ve heard some pretty awful reviews by critics and friends alike). I’ve also picked up Britain’s Everyday Heroes by Gordon Brown which is quite an interesting read so far, and as I love horror so much – I picked up The Devil Rides Out and The Exorcist. God only knows when I’ll get through that lot.

My friend Pete told me recently about a friend of his who bought lots of books regularly and had worked out that at the rate that he bought them he wouldn’t read them all in his lifetime. He then decided that it would be perfectly fine as he was planning on living forever. Good plan!

Picked up the Tarantino and Indiana Jones boxsets as well – classic films.

Another redesign…

Word up etc… this is my latest version of This time round its built using PHP instead of ASP and the focus is a little more oriented towards my general day-to-day work in XHTML, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and anything interesting I have to say about my Masters that I start next month at Staffordshire University.

As a quick introduction, if you haven’t been on this site before, I’m a web developer in Birmingham working for Attraction World and I’ve worked on the development of several sites, most recently – FloridaTix, AttractionTix.

I’ve been working there since January 2005 and I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in a relatively short space of time and I’ve been fortunate to watch the company grow very quickly and help them produce better and better sites (always room for more improvement though!).