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I very rarely rant online; but something happened this week with Vue Cinemas that I feel is an example case study of how not to use Twitter and how not to manage customers.

Very excited at the prospect of going to see Breaking Dawn on Friday 18th Nov with a close friend, I logged onto www.myvue.com and attempted to book some tickets.  The booking failed with a weird error message about me trying to book two separate seats (I wasn’t).  I tried several different browsers…no luck.

My options were:

  • Ring the 0871 number – why should I pay premium rate to report an issue?
  • Press the contact us button and log the issue via email (I did this)
  • Tweet them at vuecinemas – I did this too (just in case).  The tweeter was relatively quick and advised me to contact      customer services, I queried this as what is the point of their Twitter feed if not to engage with customers? They responded and said it would take 48 hours for customer services to respond.

Now, this is my view (be grateful I have avoided the pun).  We have just come out of one recession, and the news may not be good for the future.  I am a client with cash in my hand wanting to spend it – don’t we all want clients like that? – and Vue are making it difficult and annoying me in the process.  Their online booking system (which by the way costs me to use) is faulty and I have to either pay more money to book on the premium rate number, or wait 48 hours for a repsonse (or I maybe use another cinema???)

I wait 48 hours, then 72, then send another email and another tweet – I am asked by the Twitter account to send my email address to them – I do this.  24 hours later nothing.  I send another tweet – 5 days have gone by!  Then I get a phone call from customer services asking if I still want tickets (!?)  I say of course, but to be fair  am thinking of booking elsewhere this weekend.  They answer this with a “we will waive your booking fee” – are you reading my mind???

They are prepared to waive a fee for a faulty system that I can’t use!  This is the mimimum I would expect.

So, Vue Cinema, what are you using your Twitter account for?  I quickly review  their recent tweets tells and they tell me this. they are using it:

  • to push out messages about us all buying gift cards
  • to push out messages about the latest releases
  • to push away complaining clients (I am not on my own) to use their email facility which takes 5 DAYS to respond to.

I am led to conclude a number fo things.

  • Vue Cinemas do not get how to use social media to manage / engage their client base
  • They outsource it?
  • They are not taking it seriously….!

All very bad news for a multiplex chain that is often full of staff hanging about not serving  (read some of the tweets sent to them about this, it’s quite common).  Now I can visualise what’s happening at head office too and why it took 5 days days of chasing for me to get help!

So, what’s the learning point? I am often asked by the clients I help with social media how to react to negative comments online – a genuine fear for most businesses.  My response, which I feel is a common-sense manageable one, is:

Apologise and take it the conversation offline immediately (and what I mean by this is publicly take it offline, don’t delete it, but apologise online, then call them and deal with the issue right away).

Thus Vue should have responded by apologising (to be fair they did) and then contact me to take my issue and more important my booking!  This would have led me to feel secure spending with them and calm me down!  Instead they took 5 days to respond to a query which was preventing me from adding to their profits… strange priorities.

So, VueCinemas, if you are listening, please review your use of social media. You are winding many people up in an extremely public environment -not very social!

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