Sinemia Founder/CEO Surprised By Extent of App’s Problems and User Backlash

In an extensive IndieWire interview Rifat Oguz responds to questions that have his customers boiling with anger.

3. Customer Service

When people are having problems, such as myself last night, or people that are in the theater are having a problem – maybe some of these problems are really solvable, maybe it’s user error, things that are really fixable – is there a way to have customer support become more responsive? MoviePass, which was a terrible failure, but when you were in the theater and you were having a problem, you could get someone over text chat or you could get someone on the phone, “I can’t buy this ticket.” Is it possible to get customer support to be more responsive when users are having the problem?

Oguz: Of course there’s a way.

Is that a goal?

Oguz: Where we’re going, that’s of course a goal. That’s why we’re increasing our customer support every month. We never decrease our customer service. We’ve always increased for the last 15-16 months. I can tell you that my ideal goal that they will not have the problem at the first place. That’s why we are more dedicated to product itself. But we have also the most sophisticated and most complex, and [different] versions of the subscriptions – we have the family and group functions that no one has, and it comes with its caveats.

Sure. People love the options. The problem is for the last two months people have had trouble using the service. Let’s just use an example. There are people who are busy with Sinemia, there’s one movie they want to see, there’s one theater that’s convenient for them, there’s one specific showtime they want. If they have friction buying the ticket, if they can’t get customer support to help, they’re gonna move on. Most people are too busy to do what I did last night and stick with it for 90 minutes. There are people not using the service because of this and sometimes they’re buying the ticket themselves, and so part of it is everybody loves the plans, and they love it when it works, but there are people, especially over the last month and dating back into February, that are having trouble using the card, and using the app itself for advanced ticketing.

Oguz: Okay. Okay. In a sense, when you had the problem, we need to – that’s maybe true. If you’re having a problem and it’s solvable and you reach the customer support and they can solve it, that’s our goal.

I can tell you right now, I’ve yet to see an example of customer support helping someone work through a problem. In fact, the standard customer support is coming in many hours later, and is telling people “sorry, we have a no refunds policy.” What people are getting is that, or “hold on, we’re updating the app.” That’s the customer experience that people are having, in particular of late. That’s what I’m asking you about, but it sounds like that’s not something that you’re aware of. It doesn’t sound like that’s something you’re experiencing.

Oguz: Well, we have a huge team over there and huge leadership in customer experience team, and they’re working 24 hours because it switched in two shifts. You’re frustrated, that’s why they’re working.

Are you not hearing that frustration, as the CEO and founder of this company, are you not hearing that frustration? I apologize, but you’re making it sound like I’m the delivery man here. I am asking, is what I’m explaining to you not something that you have heard?

Oguz: We hear both. We also have happy customers. Happy customers are not going to Reddit or Twitter and writing about it, but we can see from the transactions, we can see from the rating that they gave, feedback that they gave, but I see both.


Oguz: I know as a startup founder and as a startup, we will have problems. We will have complaints, but Uber has tons of complaints and if you can go to BBB [Better Business Bureau], it’s F, but they’re going to IPO. What I’m saying is you will have your problems and you need to try to solve it every day, and that’s what we are trying to do.

This article continues on the next page.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.