How do you make a simple trip to the cinema a delightful experience? Usually, a trip to the movies involves turning up 20 minutes before your showtime, queuing for tickets, disappointing popcorn, and some kind of fizzy sugar and plodding to your seats which start to feel uncomfortable an hour into the film, but The Light in Sittingbourne has flipped the pre-movie experience on its head.
The Sittingbourne cinema has three aspects of outstanding customer experience:
- The expected product is superb. The films provided are current, the theatres are spotless, and there are various seat choices, including recliners that you control.
- Ease of use. You can order everything, including your snacks, online, and the phone interface is easy to use.
- The staff are not just well trained but well educated and knowledgeable about all the services and products available.
Sounds great already, but there are also touches that took the experience from outstanding to exceptional. For starters, alongside the usual fair of popcorn (sweet or salty), pick ‘n’ mix sweets, chocolates, and soft drinks, The Light also has a diner that serves pizza, hamburgers, lovely chips and much more. It gets better! You can either eat in or have your food boxed up to take into the theatre! You can order milkshakes to go with that burger or wait for it… there’s a full bar, so you can order your G&T and take your G&T into the film with you.
The Light doesn’t stop there in turning the expected into exceptional. There’s also a video game arcade and 9 ten pin bowling lanes. These widen a trip to the cinema to make it a complete entertainment experience. You can enjoy these activities independently or schedule around your film and enjoy a whole night out! Don’t want to play video games with your kids? There is a lovely lounge with board games across from the fully stocked bar where you can relax until your film starts.
Before you even get to the theatre, you know you’re being taken care of. You receive an email confirming your reservation when you book your tickets online. The email has all the info you need including a QR code with your reservation info. Then, when you get to the theatre, you don’t have to queue to get into the movie; you just scan the QR code from your phone and in you go!
Unless, of course, you have pre-ordered your snacks! When you’re booking your tickets, you can pre-order your concessions snacks, and you can pre-pay for video game tokens. When we arrived, we went straight into the arcade and used my smartphone to pay for games at each game.
Everything you need to do is planned well and makes the whole process of getting to your film so easy.
No new business is without its glitches. When I booked my first movie, I never received the confirmation email. I showed up anyway, and things were handled surprisingly well. They looked up my reservation based on the credit card I paid with, and then, since there were no printed tickets, the manager waited for me at the entrance and personally walked me into the theatre to my seat.
He wasn’t’ the only actively helpful staff member either. When I ordered a glass of wine at the (second, fully stocked) bar in the arcade, the very lovely young man behind the bar asked if that was my preferred red wine or if I was interested in hearing about the other wines. (Keep in mind I was in a movie theatre in Sittingbourne, not the Ritz in London!) He explained that the staff had done tastings of all the wines, and he personally found that there was a different wine that was creamier. Practically a sommelier right there at the movies!!
So, the staff are not only friendly and helpful (absolutely critical in delivering an exceptional experience), but they have been EDUCATED about the product they are delivering.
All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned the movie! So, what about that movie? The sound is excellent, and the seats are luxurious. They have a variety of seat styles ranging from ‘normal’ to reclining, which you control. It doesn’t stop there though; you can have a chaise longue style seat at the back or the front of the theatre, ‘love seats’ for couples, or an exceptionally comfortable standard seat with some ability to recline. Every seat has a small table where you can put your drink or snacks.