Sunday, 24 June 2012

Contrasting Customer Service - Belconnen Style

Today being Sunday, I decided to go on an outing with X. Through his school he had recently earned a voucher for a free game of ten pin bowling at the local AMF bowling alley in Belconnen.

X's interest was piqued by a coin operated air hockey table in the foyer of the bowling alley. As we'd arrived early for our booked lane, we decided to have a game. I dropped a $2 coin in, and the table fired up. But the machine did not produce a puck. After alerting a staff member and much ado, it transpired that the puck for this machine was lost.

No cash value, Not refundable
Thanks AMF Belconnen!
I was then handed two AMF game tokens by the employee to refund my game - I countered by requesting that I be provided with $2 cash - as I had not used tokens. 

After another five minutes of arguing, it was carefully explained to me that it was their policy to only give tokens as giving cash would put the till balance out. Further, coins couldn't be removed from game machines as again, the machines had a counter, and removing money would result in the books not balancing. Of course, the manager wasn't in, but they'd take my number and the manager will call me.

I left the matter there. Had X not had a voucher for a free game, we would have left and tried somewhere else.

An awesome game resulting in a tie!
How good is that?
Despite this setback, X and I had a game each - he with the "bumpers" up on the lane, and me without. We both played hard, and we both played to win. So of course, we scored an exact tie! 98 points apiece!

X was enthused to pursue playing arcade games, so rather than hang around the bowling alley, we headed up to Tunza Fun in Westfield.

Tunza Fun are located where an IntenCity arcade was previously situated in the Belconnen Westfield Mall. They operate using a pre-paid card system - instead of inserting cash players swipe their payment card to play a game. Their set up utilises a two tiered pricing model with cheaper game play for those who opt-in to receive their newsletter.

X received his new game card, and duly signed up for the newsletter. X began by taking me on in a game of air hockey, and then played a few other games. His grandmother would have been horrified had she known he had also had a go at a couple of shoot 'em up games too!

After burning through the money I had deposited, the machines began rejecting the card. I had been adding up the prices as X went from machine to machine, and he still should have had a dollar left, but his card appeared to be down to 5c! We had been placed on the wrong pricing plan.

Nonplussed, we headed over to their service desk, where we were given an apology, an explanation of what had gone wrong, and the option to play any game in the arcade without charge to make up for the lost credit. The employee explained that it was their policy that every visitor to their business should be having "Tunza Fun" and it was their job to try to make this happen.

X chose to take me on again in another game of air hockey. I must say both of us need some practice, but we did indeed have "Tunza Fun".

A Tunza Fun game card.
Tunza Fun Belconnen has
awesome customer service!
When I reflect on the service provided at each of these venues, there is no good reason for the very wide gap in service levels which we experienced. Tunza Fun is run with staff who behave like professionals, the game machines are modern and well maintained, and the prices are reasonable when compared to other entertainment outlets. On the other hand, AMF Belconnen is tired - they appear to have had little maintenance performed on their bowling lane equipment since being installed some 30 years ago: the bumpers operate very reluctantly, and the scoring was off a few times. Additionally the arcade game machines are shabby and game play is expensive. But this is not a flash in the pan: my occupation requires me to attend each venue from time to time, and my experience today is consistent with my previous visits.

What really separates these two business is the attitude in which my son and I have been treated as customers: In each case there was $2 or less at issue. AMF quoted policy to us. Tunza Fun truly put us first - they said nothing was too much trouble, and the staff showed they meant it by delivering.

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