Discount vouchers that eat up time & increase frustration

This is a tale about my hunt for information, and how it raised my levels of frustration …

Last week I decided that a kids’ movie would make the perfect school holiday activity.

I’d seen in the Saturday paper that our local cinema was offering a family holiday discount. Great idea! I went back to the paper and discovered that I needed to get the discount voucher online. Easy.

But on the company’s website, I couldn’t find the discount voucher anywhere! I hunted around the site – I looked under ‘offers’ (seemed logical to me), I looked under the listing for my local cinema, and I looked at the features on the homepage. Nothing – except for a discount available for people who joined their loyalty club.

In frustration, I tried the page titled ‘events’. And there was the voucher right in front of me! How silly of me to think that a discount voucher would be an ‘offer’ rather than an ‘event’!

So far it had taken me about 10 minutes to find the voucher (which, if it had been printed in the paper as part of their ad, I’d have cut out in just a few seconds).

But the problems started when I tried to print! The voucher simply would not fit on my A4 page, and I wasted an enormous amount of time fiddling with settings and trying to make it work. Eventually, I saved the file as a picture, opened it in a separate program, and managed to get it to print to size. By then my frustration levels were high, and I wasn’t much looking forward to taking the kids to a movie! At least we didn’t end up missing our session as a result.

That day I had a computer technician visit, so I asked him to look at the website and explain why I couldn’t get the voucher to print to size. He couldn’t figure it out either. So at least I had some comfort knowing that it wasn’t just my lack of technical ability!

We saw our movie and the experience was fine. But my frustration in finding the discount voucher hasn’t done anything to improve my opinion of the company. In fact, I probably think less of them now than I would have if they’d never offered me the discount.

Things like online offers need to be seamless for customers. They need to be easy to find, easy to print, and easy to use. They need to work across platforms and across various software versions. Otherwise, as a communication tactic, they do more damage than good.