Cell Phones in Movie Theaters


Allowing cell phones in movie theaters was unheard of just a year ago but is now being considered by a major theater chain. Why? Customers and customer expectations are changing.

So, what do my customers want? Business owners should be continuously asking themselves that question. Research has found that 80% of businesses believe they are providing superior customer service, while only 8% of their customers agree. That is a significant disconnect!

I think this disconnect can be a result of the lack of understanding of the customer journey, the total sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company.

There are many factors that continuously impact customer expectations with any business. One critical factor is customer age demographics. Millennial’s, Gen Y and Gen Z are growing age cohorts and will become the dominant groups by 2020. These younger generations have very different expectations than the Baby Boomers who have dominated. Take the recent announcement by executives at AMC Theater. They announced that they are considering allowing people to use their cell phones during movies as a way to appeal to younger movie goers.

A second significant factor impacting customer expectations is technology, which is giving customers more control over their experience than ever before. Large businesses like Apple and Amazon are driving consumer expectations. Who doesn’t like Amazon Prime’s fast, free shipping!

Businesses cannot compete on just the products or services they deliver. They must think about the entire customer experience from beginning to end. When doing this, many think in terms of touch points when they have specific interactions with customers. While these are important interactions, focusing on those interactions alone ignores the overall customer journey.

Customers can have good interactions at specific touch points but have an overall lower level of satisfaction with their experience. A movie goer may have a good experience buying a ticket and getting refreshments and they may like the movie they came to watch. But, if they can’t use their cell phone while at the move, they may be less satisfied with the overall experience.

Businesses must understand the entire customer journey from beginning to end to truly provide a superior customer experience.

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