How cross-functional brand building at Village Cinemas has lifted customer experience success

GM of sales and marketing shares the voice of customer program and customer experience framework that has helped the cinema operator lift its NPS by more than 10 percentage points

Village Cinemas’ marketing chief says a 10 per cent increase in its Net Promoter Score is the result of significant investment and cross-divisional support for its voice of customer program.

Over the past 12 months, the group has reported NPS growth of 10.8 per cent, averaged across traditional and Gold Class cinema concepts. Village Entertainment GM of sales and marketing, Mohit Bhargava, attributed the result to a massive push to deliver a customer experience framework and voice of customer (VOC) program, work that has seen brand, operations and HR and staff come together as a united force.

The Village VOC program is based on a customer journey map that identifies 33 touchpoints between the brand and its customers, from purchasing a ticket to see a film through to the onsite experience and post-event parking. Bhargava said the emphasis is on constantly enhancing the customer’s journey so each interaction is complementary and connected to the previous one, using measurement across every aspect to inform future business improvement strategies.

To help, marketing has built out a centralised customer data dashboard combining key first-party and third-party data sets, from its new-look loyalty program to NPS, point-of-sales, digital analytics and third-party channels.

But Bhargava said technology is only as good as the level of cross-functional engagement you can foster in an organisation. And that has seen marketing at Village working closely with HR.

“Early in the journey, we identified a significant disconnect in the brand’s positioning between our customers and our staff, which posed significant challenges in delivering a consistent and on-brand customer experience,” he said. “Further, we conceded that the marketing department in isolation would be unable to make meaningful impact in aligning the off-premise and on-premise customer experience.”

In response, Bhargava said HR and marketing established a core sense of purpose that inspired frontline teams to complement Village’s consumer-facing brand position with a goal to align all communications with the on-premise guest experience. This culminated in a repositioning of the brand in 2016, followed by internal brand relaunch under the moniker, ‘VSpirit – Together We Make Movies Mean More’.

Village HR partner, Nicole Gardiner, labelled it the most significant internal rebranding exercise undertaken from an HR and staff development standpoint, with all aspects of employee training, incentives and programs informed by this brand motto.

Operations was the third pillar of the customer experience framework. Village head of operations, Gerard Turner, said the NPS program has enabled the business to replace opinions with information and get executive management to agree on prioritisation of initiatives in order to make the most impact to the customer experience.

“This has truly assisted the operations team in streamlining our focus on key aspects of the customer journey that have been identified as pain points by our customers,” he said.

On the list of many initiatives launched by Village over the past year to improve customer experiences and eradicate pain points are in-seat delivering of food at select cinemas, online food and beverage ordering to minimise times in lines, reducing the length of pre-shores in kids films, the new-look loyalty program, Vrewards, and fresh cinema concepts such as Vjunior, Vpremium and the soon to be launched 4DX.

All of this tie into Village’s wider business transformation from single-directional cinema operator to multi-faceted entertainment business. It’s a plan that has been three years in the making, and has seen Bhargava taking a pivotal executive role.

“We are building entertainment complexes where the customer can experience food, gaming, movies and more,” he said. “All are connected via a common loyalty program so the guests feel rewarded and valued for spending more time with us.

“We want our customers to feel welcome, and know that we understand their tastes and preferences and will do what it takes to ensure their experience is meaningful and memorable.”

More on Village Cinemas:

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