• 0121 674 4200

Changing Consumer Habits

January. A time when we all tend to take stock about what we have done in the previous year and what we want to do in the new one. It is also a great time for retailers of all types to capitalise on this ‘open to change’ mentality and woo new customers. But Retailers need to get their offering right if they are going to turn these opportunities into ongoing sales.

I wanted to share some of my recent experiences with some retailers who were new to me and see if they passed the test. Were they welcoming to new customers or do they still have a lot to learn?

Cineworld at Genting Resorts World Birmingham

The new Development adjoining the NEC is a mightily impressive facility with casino, restaurants, many upmarket retail stores and an 11 screen cinema operated by Cineworld. I had been recommended to see the new Star Wars film on the iMax 3D screen and like half of the UK I wanted to see it between Christmas and the New Year.

The  first hurdle was the booking process. Booking on line was impossible. I still cannot work out why as it seems to be working now (13/1). Their website appears to facilitate online bookings but Star Wars in the iMax theatre was not possible so I used the automated phone booking system. This voice activated process costs the customer money and can be a protracted affair. The 0871 number is also hated by independent consumer experts like Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert as he cannot see why customers should have to pay extra for an automated service. It took me about 10 minutes to make the booking and get my reference number. I then told my family the good news.

“Oh Dad, we can’t make that date”, “Can you move it to a different time as I have a late shift.” My heart sank but I called the customer service line to make the change. It was on the same 0871 number but eventually I got through.

“I am sorry Mr Ratcliff but we cannot change your booking until you have booked a second set of tickets. We will then refund you for the first booking.”

“Why do you force your customers to pay twice before they can get a refund?”

“It’s company policy”

At this stage I as about ready to bang my head against a brick wall but having shelled out nearly £100 for a family treat I then had to double that expenditure and hope that they would refund me. Even though the Customer service operator was polite they could not give any logical reason for this bureaucracy and pain for Cineworld’s customers.

I kept my cool, bought duplicate tickets and was told that I would get a refund (and I did thankfully). The day approached for the show.

The Genting Resort is a highly impressive facility. Stewards guided us to the covered and secure car parking and finding a space was not a problem but finding the cinema was. Signposting inside the building was not great. We were joined by two other families who also couldn’t work out which floor the cinema was on. Eventually having been guided by a member of the Genting staff, we walked past many impressive but quiet shops with beautiful displays on our way to the cinema entrance.

Ticket collection was mercifully easy but impersonal but I then realised that I had been told to buy 3D glasses when I booked. I queued up to buy them and all 6 of us went through to the iMax theatre. Our seats were reserved, comfortable, spacious and clean and the views were spectacular but we were greeted by an employee who gave out additional sets of 3D glasses saying that we didn’t need to buy them.

One of the advertisements was offering an annual pass for all Cineworld Cinemas. If this experience had been smoother I might have been interested.

The film (or product) was magnificent. The whole family enjoyed it enormously as J.J. Abrams reinterpreted, or rather repeated George Lucas’s magic from a few decades earlier.

Our experience wasn’t quite over though. Having scanned my car parking ticket to ensure that it was free on exit, I was asked (by the automated barrier) to pay an extra £2. The hundreds of other cinema goers were all trying to get out of the car park behind me so rather than quibble, I tried to pay with a debit or credit card or even cash. No chance. I asked for assistance and an apology came over the intercom and we were eventually released. Humiliation is never a great impression to leave with first time customers.

I started to wonder if anyone at Cineworld had been through the purchasing process and encountered any of the issues that I had through all the stages of my experience. I appreciate that Genting Resorts is a new and impressive facility and Cineworld is similarly new but if you have a chance to impress new customers, it is important that they feel that you are doing your best, giving good value for money and facilitating a smooth transaction. None of these were evident from my experience which I won’t want to repeat in a hurry.

  • Great opportunities

    Helping you grow

    For over 12 years, JMR Sales & Consultancy has been offering help to businesses which are struggling to grow in line with expectations. We offer a discreet resource to support business owners in reaching their aspirations by understanding your markets, your products, your people and your culture. JMR Sales has a long list of satisfied customers across industries as diverse as High Street Retailing, Automotive, Catering, Recruitment and Hotels.

    Read more

  • Decades of experience

    JMR Sales & Consultancy use their expertise in Sales Consultancy and Strategic Development to support Managing Directors, Sales Directors and Business Managers or Owners to solve a wide range of challenges their company can face.

    Offering short to mid term contracts, JMR Sales & Consultancy can offer a fresh pair of eyes to a failing sales plan; coach an under-achieving sales team and offer support as a Business Coach.

  • Speaking Profile

    Since leaving Carlsberg over 12 years ago, I have set up my own company, JMR Sales & Consultancy Ltd., to help a variety of companies with short to mid term contracts helping to solve a wide range of their business challenges.

    My primary skill is in Sales Consultancy and Strategic Development but I have also had the opportunity to work in full time ‘hands on’ roles as a Purchasing Director, Marketing Manager, Commercial Director, National Account Manager and Customer Sales Director.

    Speaking topics include The ABC of Sales – Leveraging your Brand Equity to increase revenue and profits; Strategic Partnerships – How to develop, formalise and generate substantial benefit from them; Customer Service – How it can be a Sustainable point of Difference for SME Growth; and Character and Style.

  • Read about us

    Client Testimonials

    • “Jonathan is a real pleasure to work with, and has really helped to develop the sales skills of all different colleagues, from direct sales staff to people in a supportive role too. Results and improvements were clear to see!”

      Laura Savage, Head of Skills at (PeoplePlus Academies) at PeoplePlus part of Staffline Group also Nuffield Scholar 2014

    • “Jonathan is an outstanding professional with the ability to combine insight, professionalism and demonstrate added value to all business projects undertaken.”

      Heather Bowler, Senior Vice President Communications at Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)

    • “During my time working with Jonathan he showed himself to be a thoroughly professional, well motivated individual who always worked towards the best interests of the business.”

      Alex Smith, AMCA, Finance Director at Worldwide Magazine Distribution

Get in touch

0121 674 4200

07785 928518