One of the joys of having a blog is that when some corporation screws up with your own customer service you can complain about it instantly. In this case, the corporation was Hoyts cinemas.
Here is what happened: On Thursday (28th Dec), I booked 10 tickets on line to Happy Feet at the 9:30am Friday session at Chatswood. The booking fee was $10 but it was worth it not to have to queue for tickets with all of the kids we were bringing. Here is what Hoyts actually wrote about their ‘Red Carpet’ service in the confirmation email to me when I booked my tickets.
Hoyts Red Carpet is our exciting new concept for online ticket collection. Customers who book tickets online will receive priority service when they collect their tickets from the box office. Hoyts Red Carpet delivers a fast and easy way to collect online tickets from a busy box office environment! Tickets purchased at Melbourne Central and Victoria Gardens have reserved seating. For other cinemas, please arrive in time to collect your tickets and choose a seat as seats are unreserved.
Note the “will receive priority service.” Here is the account of what happened next from my complaint email to Hoyts:
I arrived at 9am to pick up the tickets. The ATM did not work so I stood in the advertised Red Carpet line. I stood there for 10 minutes and none of the customer agents moved to serve me. Eventually I gave up and had to queue for another 20 minutes. I finally got to the front of the line to collect my tickets. I asked for a refund on the booking fee as there was no advantage for the queue and no assigned seating. The manager refused and said that refunds were impossible.
I wrote a complaint email to Hoyts that Friday (29th December). Here is the response thusfar:
Thank you for your email.
The Hoyts Customer Service Team are currently on annual leave until Wednesday 27 December.
Please contact your local Hoyts cinema or we will respond upon our return.
Hoyts Customer Service Team
I think they can’t get their dates right. So you can see why I am not optimistic about getting a suitable response and a refund for services not rendered.
If they respond, I will post an update of this saga.
Update (2nd January, 2007): I received a reply today from Hoyts Customer Service
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thank you for your feedback regarding your recent visit to our Hoyts complex. I have asked that your message be placed into our feedback database. A copy will be sent to the cinema manager and the Operations Manager. The cinema manager is required to respond to you directly.
Hoyts Customer Service Team
This I presume is the same manager who has already refused a refund. I responded to that effect but with no reply as yet. Let’s see what happens next.
Update (12th January, 2007): I just got a response from the cinema manager.
Thank you for your response in regards to ticketing issues experienced at our location.
I do apologise for the inconvenience you have experienced and the frustration you have gone through in waiting for your tickets. Improving our serving strategies is something we take serioulsy and your feedback will allow us to improve things further.
Being a blockbuster film, Happy Feet has attracted extra interest from screen advertisers which is why the pre show entertainment may be longer than what you have previously experienced. While as a complex we take responsibility for what we screen in our cinemas, advertising blocks are compiled independently of the complex and we will be passing your comments onto the organisation concerned.
To make up for your $10- booking fee if you would like to provide a postal address I will forward you two complimentary tickets to be used in our La Premiere section so you may enjoy a hassle free movie experience.
As you can see it is a good response but for the fact that I don’t live in Sydney. Hopefully they will send it to my family there instead.
It is also interesting that advertising is not a cinema level decision.