A Simple Gesture Saves A Customer

I was at my local Cinemark theater recently and was prompted to sign up for the Cinemark App. There was a little sign by the cash register that said “Get 100 free points today when you sign up!” I haven’t really tried any of those apps so figured I would give this one a try and downloaded it and activated before buying my ticket.

Upon making my purchase, I checked to see my “points” and really figure out what they heck they were good for. I opened up my app and it showed I had 10 points. Not 100 free points and 10 for the ticket, but only 10 points. Before making any concession purchases, I inquired saying that “it should have given me 100 points for signing up today.” The concession worker looked dumbfounded and wasn’t sure what she could do. As she was obviously not versed in customer service outside of filling a bag of popcorn and a Coke, I assisted, “Can I talk to your manager?” You could see the relief on her face seeing the way out.

I won’t break down all the detail here because they are in the letter I wrote to customer service – yes, the only way to talk to someone above the local manager is to email them:

I signed up for Connections and the advertisement at the theater said “Get 100 free points right now” Those 100 points were never added. I mentioned it to the person at the theater and they said, “it may take some time to show up”

Two days later I came to see another film and noticed those point still hadn’t shown up. I brought it up again and was directed to a manager. He took my email and said “I will add it”

A week later, I noticed that it had 30 points added but not the 100 I was promised. I went to a movie last week and brought it up to the manager then and he deduced that you can only add 30 a day. His added 30 points and said he would do the rest the next few days. I asked him, “can’t you just give me a hot dog or popcorn and call it even?”

His response, “there is no way we can do that.” It has now been three days later – enough time to add all he promised and he has yet to add them. I am very disappointed in a) a manager that either isn’t empowered to make a customer happy or is too much of a douche to do so, and b) a program that advertises a 100 point bonus for signing up and doesn’t deliver.

Nearly a month later, I got a letter back from Cinemark apologizing for the inconvenience. After their investigation of the situation, they made sure that I got the points (120 instead of 100) and sent me two passes to see movies. While this is something that the local manager should have been empowered and/or motivated to do, in the end Cinemark did the right thing.

I have since gone to several movies at the theater and will continue to do so.

What is the takeaway for business? Empower your employees to make the customer happy. If something does slip past the front line, then find a way to make them happy after the fact like Cinemark did. The movie passes did not cost them a penny. 95% of the showings have open seats and the movies are playing anyway. I would also bet that 99+% of the points go unused so even that doesn’t affect their bottom line. What does effect income is a customer returning to their theater.

by Chris Doelle