February 12, 2009, by Peter Kirwan

The Wonderful Donmar

I’d like to take a moment to tell the world how wonderful the Donmar Warehouse are. Owing to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, I missed their current production of Twelfth Night in London, a production I had booked front-row seats for on the first day of sales at not-inconsiderable cost.

However, despite it being in no way their fault, the staff of the Donmar allowed Christmas spirit to prevail and provided two excellent replacement tickets for the same show, which I finally saw yesterday afternoon. This is the most generous and sympathetic customer service I’ve ever received from a theatre.

Too often theatres treat their customers like cattle, or at the least with an air of slight suspicion, as if the customer is trying to get one over on the organisation. The shoddy service I’ve received from other theatres (that shall remain nameless) includes: having an order of twenty tickets accidentally credited to another patron’s account; having my tickets duplicated and sold twice so other people turned up to my seats with tickets in my name; being uninformed of changes in performance start time and then having my ticket downgraded; and having policies on age restrictions confused by different members of the same staff team. Yet, in all these cases, the theatre has treated me initially as if I caused the problem, and never once have I received an apology apart from from the poor duty manager who ends up having to deal with the problem on the night.

So, it’s a genuine delight to find a theatre that went out of its way to help a patron, who generously did what they could to overcome a problem that wasn’t of their own making and who recognised that customer service doesn’t have to start and end in the theatre lobby. The Donmar are now officially my favourite theatre, and I urge you to patronise their shows as often and as extravangantly as you can. Other theatres – take note.

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