Visiting my quaint mom and pop theater has become a delightful CX experience, in an industry that I once thought to be impervious: the movie theater. As companies sweeten the pot with great UX, businesses selling 'non-traditional' product offerings (like the theater experience) should expect to follow suit. It's ironic that theaters, literally selling an experience, have been selling an abysmal experience all along. My recent trip to the movies has shown me another use case for raising the stakes in the battle for best customer experience without breaking the budget, a daunting task for all product managers. Being CX obsessed, I don't remember the movie I saw last weekend, but I do recall the impeccable experience!
Let's face it: we were lining up to see the latest blockbuster anyway, begrudgingly paying $20 for the #1 combo, leaving with a stiff back, a little sick from the "butter", as well as, a few sacrificed toes. However, consumers have come to expect impeccable experiences - and our expectations will continue to expand into new industries. Theaters finally seem to be jumping on the customer obsession bandwagon, moving beyond their laser focus on sound quality and popcorn gouging to become increasingly customer focused.
Now my quaint theater offers not only the malt beverages and cheap wine that came on the scene a few years ago. They now have pre-selected reclining seats chosen from a well designed app and craft cocktails with a local flare. Salsa infused Bloody Mary, anyone? They now offer healthy snack options like water and salad. Though somewhat sacrilege, I confess, I enjoyed the house Caesar dressing. Though still over-priced, I'm satisfied to know that some of the profit goes to local philanthropic causes.
So what's the catch? How have my ticket prices remained fairly stagnant? CX doesn't have to break the bank, when smart trade-offs are made. This theater no longer mans the ticket booth. They now use an honor system, sparing us the lines. You walk right in without the threat of someone checking for snack contraband. I never actually saw that happen, just the stern warning sign, so the CBA must have worked out. Add to that, craft cocktails are high margin, and we're used to forking out for those. Plus, I can turn my pre-movie restaurant visit into a somewhat guilt-free dinner at the theater. With real butter, reclining seats, no lines and ample leg room, I'd almost go see Sharknado 5 for this kind of experience. Almost.
After conquering the movie theater, and a mom and pop outfit at that, where will CX go from here? If only my cable provider, Smart TV and multiple remote controls could be optimized, my couch could be a stronger competitor. That, my friends, could be the final frontier.