I just got back from a showing of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. By way of a review, I thought slightly more favorably of the movie than I did the book. Unfortunately, the theater we were in was having sound difficulties.
For much of the movie the voices were very muted. You could hear it but only until music kicked in, at which point the voices were very difficult to hear. For a while the sound was fixed, then at other points the voices sounded like they were filtered through a voice synthesizer. After the movie about 1/3 of the audience made a beeline for customer service for a refund.
The manager was polite, apologetic and promptly returned everybody their $5.75 (matinee pricing) for their ticket. While I was glad to have my money back that didn’t really satisfy me. I spent 20 minutes driving to sit in a dark room watching a movie with poor sound quality and all I got out of it was some popcorn. Oh, yeah, I paid for that!
Missed Customer Service Opportunities
While I’m not complaining about my refund, I think the manager would have scored customer service bonus points had he given everybody $20 worth of movie tickets instead of my $5.75 refund. Think about it. Money from the till is money lost. On the other hand, a handful of movie tickets is really nothing more than a seat in a theater that will already be showing a movie with that extra seat filled or not.
You also got to take into consideration that on each trip the free-ticketed moviegoer might spend a little bit extra at the concession stand. And at those prices the little bit extra would undoubtedly been as much as, if not more than, the cost of admission.
$20 worth of movie tickets is pennies on the dollar compared to cash out of the till. Add to that, every person coming out of that theater upset with the sound would have been skipping instead of walking to their car.
A little extra customer service can often costs less than just doing enough.