The Space Cinema, the value of customer experience

Interview with Tommaso Chiesa, Head of Digital and CVM @The Space Cinema

Tommaso Chiesa
Head of Digital e CVM @The Space Cinema

Counting on 36 multiplexes, The Space Cinema chain owned by Vue Entertainment International is one of the leaders in the Italian market. Not only does it offer ticketing services, but above all it welcomes customers with a new cinema experience. In addition, food&beverage is also a significant part of the business.

What is the secret of its success? The recent improvement in their customer experience is sure a part of it. The Space Cinema has clearly understood the nature of experience economy, which indicates the change in the supply and demand logic, where the mere production or delivery of products/services no longer counts as a competitive advantage.

In fact, the experiences offered to users have become the pillars of value creation. Let's delve deeper into the subject with Tommaso Chiesa, Head of Digital and CVM, to find out the Customer Value Management (CVM) processes that the company has put in place over the last year.

 

Q: Precise profiling starts with the collection of data on user preferences. Can you explain what role digital has played in this process? 

A: The starting point is the ability to collect customer information: in order to test and monitor the effectiveness of the experience over time, you need to begin from the data, real digital culture of the company, from which you can get useful insights to grow and improve.

To do this, we focused on our digital channels, our website and app first and foremost, and in an omni-channel perspective we tried to understand the customer's behavior to customize their experience according to their tastes. A customer who prefers certain kinds of films will be offered content in line with their interests, keeping in mind that they are looking for a particular emotion to live with their family or friends.

All this would be unthinkable without the use of an advanced CRM, which allows us to collect structured data on customers from their past actions. It is an ideal container for the subsequent predictive analysis, whose results are used to plan personalized campaigns (offers, promotions and communications). 

Thanks to this data, we can create a customer experience in the cinema that increases engagement, going beyond the simple watching of a film: for example, previews, marathons and films for fans to be seen in costume or in their original language. We also offer additional services such as the VIP or Recliner seat to feel first class, avoiding queuing up at the ticket office or at the bar, and exclusive bundles of tickets + themed menus.

This is also the year in which we are relaunching cinema during the summer, together with the Moviment campaign and a series of competitions and special events.

 

Q: How did you innovate customer experience, in detail?

A: We decided to go for standards of experience already used by successful companies of entertainment, social and e-commerce, which users are already accustomed to. The advantage of using tested formulas, adapted to our context, is the ease of use derived from habit, which makes the experience even more frictionless. Interfaces are also customized according to customers' tastes and behavior.

In December, we have launched the new app #YouPersonalSpace, which features a chatbot named Ciaki (from the clapperboard sound, where “i” stands for intelligent). We think the role of augmented intelligence will be decisive, because with an interface very similar to the one we use in messaging apps the CX is very simple and fast, and reaches high levels of conversion and sentiment.

Its features include processes that simplify the experience of both watching the film and buying through 1-click payment, without entering the 3d secure code or CVV every time.

Another innovation we have worked on as CVM is The Space Pass, a subscription plan to the cinema on the model of popular streaming services, that is fully integrated into the app. Basically, against payment of a reduced monthly (or annual) fee, you can go to the cinema every day, choosing any movie in total freedom and simplicity.

The main advantage behind this innovative offer is being able to know the customers way better in their omnichannel behavior as well, giving rise to initiatives of precise segmentation and targeting. Among many things, we can know which films the customer has seen, with who they went to the cinema, if they bought pop-corn or drinks etc., all valuable marketing information that ensure effectiveness and important performances to our communication campaigns.

The improvement of the experience in the cinema and on our digital channels has recently become a differentiating factor of our brand.

 

Q: The processes you described don't seem so easy to implement in a company. How did the transformation happen in The Space Cinema?

A: We have created these customer-centered processes step by step, by involving all the different parts of the company and adopting a triple approach

  • Top-down: a strong will to change is necessary in the company management, both when it comes to communication and to budget availability.
  • Bottom up: all the different parties involved sat at the same table, tuned to a single objective, to co-design in an agile way (joint design) a new product /service in a short time.
  • Analytical: experience has a value, and it can certainly be demonstrated. We must therefore build analysis reports that measure KPIs and critic points of the processes.

 

Q: How does The Space Cinema distribute a consistent message across all channels and collect coherent customer data?

A: Our technological infrastructure is integrated, so that the website, the app, ticket offices and bars are parts of the same ecosystem: this guarantees us a consistent communication. In addition, we have recently set up a cascade internal alignment process that keeps all employees up-to-date about all initiatives in a short time. In this way, we guarantee consistent messages on the offline channels too.

 

Q: Do you notice a difference from before, when you didn't engage your consumers with personalized communication?

A: Of course, we've built an automated dashboard and we monitor a lot of kpis every day. We need this support to communicate to the company and our group how we are performing. Especially in this summer period, which historically means a phase of decline for the world of cinema, we are noticing instead that customers, being more engaged, respond much more to our communications. For example, the share of the digital channels in the last month has risen by 50%, compared to last year.