02 Nov 2015

Customer Experience in the Entertainment Industry. Beauty? Or the Beast?

This post is part of the series that I am doing currently but spurred on by a recent experience that validates customer experience as a foundation stone for great brand building.

Here’s what happened.

Much of Mumbai and India have been abuzz with the Broadway Show of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast being performed locally.

With 10 days of consecutive shows in a stadium in Mumbai everyone who was anyone was going for the show. But more importantly a lot of people with children had planned weekends for that show.

It’s important for all to know in this post, that October in Mumbai heralds our second summer (of course there is no winter in Mumbai, but never mind!). The show that I want to talk about is on a Sunday afternoon scheduled for 3 pm. When the crowd started collecting in the sweltering heat at 2 pm the only intention was to get inside to the welcome relief of the air conditioning. Imagine the crowds, the queues, the numbers, the anticipation, the children, the heat.

And then came the bad news. Apparently the electricity failed them  – and while the production team was struggling with it for hours earlier – nothing seemed to be working. What is really a nightmare for anyone in show business was happening. The show had to be cancelled!

Now the raised temperatures were not just in Celsius but also in irate customers, angry parents and disappointed and furious little children.

Enter your moment of truth.

This is the moment of truth that most people talk about in a brand. Here comes the learning.

How bad was this situation? In my opinion, it was really at bottom level. Zero. Nadir. #EpicFail as today’s generation would put it. Beastly as I would say.

And here comes the convergence of brand and customer experience.

In less than an hour (I am told) the organizers came back with a clear decision. The show was indeed cancelled. Apologies were offered. ALL note ALL the tickets would be refunded. There would be a special show to make up for this the following Sunday morning at 10 am.

So far so good? Sure it was hot and inconvenient but they did all they could. The audience went home disappointed but not angry or irate.

Here comes the second part. Once again note, another moment of truth.

Tickets were dispatched B&theBthrough the week. Money was duly refunded. And on the following Sunday at 10 am the show was on again. In all its spectacular beauty. More apologies were offered and as a token of regret a beautiful souvenir of a Beauty and Beast mug was given to every child.


This is text book showcase of how to turn a negative experience into a positive one. Let’s look at what they did right in the wrong situation.

  1. In an event, things can go wrong. But a quick remedial decision was taken. The show cancellation was announced quickly instead of making the audience wait endlessly. 10 marks for honesty.
  2. Apologies were offered. Yes, it was not their fault. Yes it was beyond their control. Yes they had been trying to set things right for the past 12 hours. These would have been seen as mere excuses if they had not been humble enough to apologize. 10 marks for humility.
  3. A refund was announced. In negative situations the first thing to erode is trust. And a lot of trust centres on money. Here it was being returned. 20 marks for trust? Sure! Take 30!
  4. In the days that followed money was refunded and fresh tickets sent. Once more, trust builds up when promises made are kept. Full marks for action
  5. And then finally, a brand dear to a customer is always forgiven for its lapses. Remember this is Disney. A beloved brand. Having said that the expectations are that much higher. The make-good had to be real good. So here is the culmination of a quick promise made, necessary action taken and then a grand show as an experience followed by a token ‘forgiveness’ gift. Will the customer forgive and forget? No… the customer will forgive and remember this as one of his best experiences. A hundred on hundred on Customer Experience Management!

And that dear entertainers is how you make a negative customer experience turn into a positive one. From the Beast to the Beauty… it’s all in here!

What do you think? Were you part of this set of people? What was your experience? Do share!

For the other posts on Customer Experience, check the links below

CX for the Pharma Industry:

CX for the Healthcare Industry

CX for the Auto Industry

CX for the Hospitality Industry

Who needs Customer Experience?

3 thoughts on “Customer Experience in the Entertainment Industry. Beauty? Or the Beast?”

    1. Verushka! Thanks for your comment. And yes, you would have got a mug too… I have been told that the souvenir was given to every attendee! (You know, I would have wanted one too… so I can completely relate to that feeling!

  1. Hey V,
    I attended. And got the souvenir. I got fab seats courtesy a friend. I was as excited as a child in Disneyland.
    Most of all – I was thrilled that it was Disney India producing a show of such epic proportion with a star cast to match any international show and performances at par. Wowed. And hungry for more. And glad my sense of wonderment is alive.
    It’s a great start….
    Someday, soon : ‘Phantom of the Opera’?

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