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A Poor Customer Experience and an Even Poorer Apology

I asked the gentleman walking by, “Are you the manager?” He replied in the affirmative.

I very politely said, “I’ve been coming to this movie theater with my son since it first opened. We see a movie almost every week. But since this theater was acquired, things have changed. The last three times I’ve been here only one of the four machines that let me buy tickets without going to the booth has worked. Tonight, all of them are broken. Now there are seriously long lines. You’ve raised the price of tickets, you’ve raised the price of snacks and, to the horror of my son, you’ve done away with free refills. And, the bathrooms are dirty and there are no paper towels. The experience here has changed.”

The manager replied, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Ouch! That isn’t how you apologize. You never say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

You say, “I’m sorry.” Or you say, “I’m sorry for any problems we’ve caused you.” Or, if you really, really care, you say, “I’m so sorry. Your business is important to me. Would you mind if I wrote down your concerns along with your name and number? I’d like to speak with my team here and see if we can’t improve your experience.”

The manager was young, but probably old enough to know how to apologize. He doesn’t know me. No one there knows me, even though I take my son to the movies almost every Friday night.

Lessons abound.


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