How to really piss people off
Last night Louisa and I decided to see a movie at the "megaplex" at Castle Hill. We tried booking online and found it was easy. We wouldn't have to queue for tickets and we could pay for our snacks as well. When we got to the "megaplex" the queue to collect tickets booked online was empty - all good. They are running a "Jump the queue" campaign to encourage people to book and pay online. Why? Because it costs them a lot less when I transact online than when I transact with a live human being. But get this... they charged me a booking fee of $2. They rewarded me for reducing their costs by increasing mine! That really pissed me off. Then we get 30 minutes of cheesy ads before the show we came to see (honestly, local advertising in cinema is so badly made and poorly presented, I resolved never to use any of the companies I saw advertising there last night -their ads said they were cheap and nasty!) As if to remind me of the $2 insult, one of the advertisers - Rydges Hotels, owned by the same crowd that owns Greater Union - promised that I'd get the lowest available price when I booked online with them. That's more like it. Greater Union - your online strategy sucks! And why is it not possible to get anything vaguely edible or drinkable at the concession stand? Does everyone going to the movies have to be condemned to high fat, high sugar, high salt death? And having to fight the person next to me for the arm rest after paying $40+ seems a little primitive for 2006. I won't be rushing back to the movies after that experience. I guess I'm not in their target audience: people with low service expectations. (The movie - Rumour Has It - was great.)
By the way, here's what the company says about its services on its website: "Traditionally, Greater Union Organisation was in the business of exhibiting films. Today we're in the entertainment business. "We're in the services industry," says Alan Rydge, Chairman of AHL and Greater Union Organisation. "Our company aims to make people have a good time while they are using our goods and services. We try to focus on what tomorrow's customers want and to provide it for them as soon as possible."
Wrong, Alan. Focus on today's customer today. How often do you have the Greater Union experience yourself, to know what it's like?