Working in customer experience, I like to pay particular attention to customer service in my everyday life. When unfortunate situations occur, how a company handles service recovery reveals a great deal about their overall customer service quality.

I rarely have nice stories about service recovery, but my fiancé and I had one of the best experiences ever at a local movie theater this past weekend.

Our pre-planned movie date started normally enough. We prefer a theater, a bit farther away from our home, because it has very nice reclining seats, reserve seat options, a full dinner menu, and a beer and wine bar for the same price as a standard run-of-the-mill theater.

We arrived early and headed to our reserved seats. As we settled in, I realized my reclining seat wasn’t working properly.  “No biggie,” I thought this seat is still better than any other theater in town, but I figured I should let someone know it wasn’t working.

Act Quickly When There’s An Issue

I made my way to a staff member to notify them of the malfunctioning seat. I am told a technician will be there to take care of it ASAP.  The technician almost beats me back to my seat, promptly checks it, and says that it cannot be fixed. Once again “no biggie,” I started to say but he cuts me off and asks if we would like to switch seats before the movie starts.  I say it is fine, but he insists moving us down one row into a pair of working seats with the same view. I thank him, and he goes on his way.

Remain Consistent With Your Recovery Plan

Shortly after a manager pops in and begins apologizing for the broken seat, I tell him it is fine but he insists that they should do a better job, and he hands me a cash reimbursement and updated tickets.

I am stunned, they didn’t have to do that, I was happy that they were willing to let my fiancé, and I move. In truth, I was just impressed when a technician came and took a look at the seat.

As we are leaving the movie, another manager is waiting for us in the lobby.  He apologizes again and hands us two vouchers for another free movie. He explains that normally we would only get one because only one seat was broken but that it wouldn’t be fair for one of us to go for free without the other. My jaw made an audible sound as it hit the floor.

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Create Customers for Life

Do you want to make a patron for life? Because this is how, you do it.

Service recovery is a balancing act between judging a situation correctly and using the right amount of tact to either defuse the situation or improve the situation; it depends on how upset a customer is.

Going over the top and showing a human side to any business is an excellent way to handle adverse situations and Carolina Cinemas did just that. Kudos to them and keep up the good work.


Max Daniel

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