It’s customer service 101 that when a mistake has been made you should apologise for any inconvenience caused and then try and fix the problem. Many of us will have experienced this when speaking to someone face to face or over the phone. However, I don’t often see or hear of companies sending out an apology by email.

Therefore, I was a little surprised to receive an email the other day from Picturehouse Cinemas, the UK’s largest boutique cinema operator, (my wife and I are members) apologising for their recent failings.

Big deal, you might say.

But, I really like what they did with their email and thought it merited sharing as it is so open, honest and transparent.

I also think that it provides a splendid example of how it can and should be done.

The funny thing that also happened was that after receiving the email I find that Picturehouse Cinemas have gone up in my estimation.

How’s that for a loyalty and advocacy fillip?

So, I want to congratulate Picturehouse Cinemas for the courage it takes to make such an apology and their commitment to customer service excellence.

The text of the email is below and the original email is here.

Let me know what you think.

We’re Sorry!

Dear Picturehouse customer

If you have visited our website over the last couple of months, you will have noticed a different look and certainly a different feel to our online ticket-buying process.

We apologise wholeheartedly for the widespread problems our new website has caused. We cannot dodge the bullet here: the online purchasing system in its current form falls far short of what we had hoped to deliver. You have given us a huge amount of feedback telling us that you find it difficult to navigate, and that the site frequently lets you down on recognising Membership details, completing payments and so on.

Why did we change the system? The answer is that it was simply necessary to do so, as our whole company IT infrastructure was changing. The bigger question is how we address the shortcomings. We are having the online ticketing process rewritten to simplify it and make it easier for Members to book free and discounted tickets; we expect this to be in place in early May. Later this year we will launch a brand new website that will restore all the features we had on our old site and will also be designed for use on mobile phones.

We pride ourselves on great customer service here at Picturehouse, and we like to think that we usually hit the mark. But we are keenly aware that recently we have let you down badly, with both system and communication failures. From now on we will provide you with information updates on changes to our website as they happen. We have also boosted our Customer Service team to ensure there is someone at the end of an email to guide you through the changes and to answer your questions promptly. All enquiries should be sent to customerservice@picturehouses.co.uk.

Once again, we are truly sorry. You are quite right to expect excellence of us at Picturehouse, and we fully intend to get back to our best without further delay.

With best wishes

Rachel Sawyer
Head of Customer Relationships
Picturehouse Cinemas Ltd

Photo Credit: Truus, Bob & Jan too! via Compfight cc

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