Fandango is trying to reinvent itself from being a website where you buy movie tickets to an entertainment experience where consumers can participate in a movie fan community. But Fandango still needs to improve the process of buying movie tickets or else the community experience doesn’t matter. To wit:

  1. I recently used my credit card on to buy four tickets to see Shine a Light at the Cinemark Seven Bridges theater in Woodridge, Illinois. provided me a printable receipt that instructed me to take my credit card to the theater and use an in-theater kiosk to retrieve my tickets. So far, so good.
  2. But when I arrived at the theater and swiped my card in the kiosk to print my tickets, the kiosk denied my transaction. Not good. It was nearly showtime, and my party was headed for a total buzz kill.
  3. I asked for assistance from a theater employee. She said that I was supposed to enter a confirmation number into the kiosk to complete my transaction. She explained that I should have brought my receipt with me, which had the confirmation number printed on it. She scribbled down a phone number for me to call Fandango and sort out the problem.
  4. When I called Fandango, a customer service representative gave me my confirmation number over the phone after I provided him information to prove I was who I said I was. After that, I was able to retrieve my tickets from the kiosk, but it sure was a hassle.

The delay at the movie theater could have been avoided had Fandango told me from the start that I needed to bring my receipt with my confirmation number printed on it. I had no idea I needed this information because Fandango just told me I needed my credit card.

It’s ironic: my problem was solved by someone who handed me a hand-scribbled phone number . . . hardly the immersive digital experience Fandango has in mind.

Props to the Fandango customer service representative on the phone, though — he was quite helpful and friendly. And I did not need to endure phone-tree hell when I called.

Hey Fandango: I totally applaud your making a more enjoyable community site . . . but you gotta take care of my basic wants and needs because I can help or hurt your brand. Now that I’m part of your community, I thought you might like to know.

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