Ster Kinekor - Gateway / poor customer experience

Umhlanga, South Africa
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To the Ster Kinekor Management,

There are 2 parts to this complaint; One part is directed at continuous bad service levels and the other directed to poor management.

I bought 4 tickets online to watch the Guardians of the Galaxy pre-release on Monday, 1st May 2017 with my family.
We stood patiently in the long slow queues to get popcorn and drinks even though we were there well in advance of the movie start time. Each and every time we visit the Gateway theatre we stand in long queues, we get very slow service, and staff are incompetent and unhelpful. When you ask the attendants behind the counter for help, they just look at you and laugh. There are never combo boxes available. The staff don't seem to understand that it is rather difficult for children to carry their combos without boxes. There are always excuses that “stock has not arrived”. Can this be possible on every weekend? Are orders not placed on time? Why don't we get refunds when combo boxes are not in stock, yet we pay for them?

So we got our popcorn and drinks eventually but we were a few minutes late for the 8:00pm movie.

We were stopped by the ticket attendant. She told us that my daughter was under age. The movie was rated PG and both parents were present. My daughter was not going to watch the movie anyway as she was about to fall off to sleep. Nevertheless the manager, Deon Gumede was called to our assistance. Even though we tried to explain to the manager that the tickets were purchased online and it was a PG movie he was still adamant that we could not watch the movie. So we accepted his decision even though we did not agree and asked for a refund. He said he would do the refund on the tickets but that he could not refund us on the popcorn and drinks. We had no use for the popcorn and drinks if we were not going to watch the movie. He said, that was the rule at Ster kinekor.

Whilst we understood the rules we could NOT understand the aggressive tone and manner in which he spoke to us. We were very calm and trying to resolve the issue with him. There was absolutely no need for Deon to become loud and argumentative. We really did not understand this as we were not arguing. We were merely trying to get a refund on our tickets and 2 of the 4 untouched popcorns and cooldrink. He started talking to one of his co-workers in Zulu and was becoming very loud. He seemed irritable and called his other managers whom he referred to as colleagues. The 2 ladies who arrived were far more approachable and understanding and refunded us accordingly.

After getting the refund, I tried to talk to him about the poor experience we had. He refused to listen and walked away saying something under his breath. I found that totally unacceptable. Deon was not approachable nor was he empathetic towards us at any point. I would have expected more from a manager on duty. If this is the customer service approach from a manager on duty, then it stands to reason why the staff behave in a similar manner.

Our total experience of Ster Kinekor has been extremely poor. We bought 4 full price tickets to the IMAX plus popcorn and cooldrink combos which cost us R800.00. This is approximately what we pay every time we go to the movies. There is no alternate movie theatre in Umhlanga that we can go to and Gateway is most convenient for us.

We enjoy watching movies on the big screen and it is something we do often as a family. We expect more from Ster Kinekor.

After discussing with our friends, we realised that we were not the only people who have had bad experiences at the Gateway theatre.

Going forward, we request that Ster Kinekor take appropriate measures to improve the efficiency and service levels at the Gateway theatre and make the necessary management changes who will focus on customer service

We look forward to hearing from you on what corrective actions will be taken and as to how Ster Kinekor will remedy the situation.

Dissappointed Patron

May 5, 2017

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