Selecting Online Ticketing Software? Remember Your Customers!
Selecting online ticketing software is a fascinating undertaking because you are acquiring a system that will not only be used by you and your staff, but by your customers as well. Therefore, when evaluating ticketing software, it is critical to understand and take into account not only your needs, but the needs of your customers.
A ticket buyer has a hierarchy of needs in a ticketing system: Buy; Plan; Enjoy.
At the basic level, a buyer wants to be able to easily buy your tickets. Buyers want to see available seats and prices, select their seats, provide payment and receive an attractive, well-designed ticket. They may also want an opportunity to provide a donation if the venue is non-profit. Functions such as graphical seat selector, easy credit card checkout, payment and ticket confirmation and, perhaps, print-at-home tickets are important. More and more buyers are also expecting a mobile ticket capability.
At the next level, buyers want help with planning how to spend their limited time and money. They expect your online ticketing software to help them understand what events are available, when and where they are, the availability of tickets, the desirability of the available seats and the associated prices. As buyers decide what events to attend, they will also pay attention to Facebook and Twitter recommendations from friends.
Important features of a system here include the ability for buyers to see what events and dates are available, what seats can be purchased for their desired dates and what the prices are. Customers will also form opinions about what events look more popular than others by seeing what portion of total capacity has already been sold. Seeing a rapidly selling show gives the buyer a sense of urgency to decide. Further, the ability to receive recommendations from friends through social networks is important.
Finally, buyers want to enjoy the overall customer experience. The experience includes not only the event itself, but also the interactions the buyer has with you, your site and your online ticketing software. At this level, buyers appreciate a ticketing system that looks and feels like your own website and branding, that is easy to use and that requires as few steps as possible. They also expect the ticket to clearly lay out the time and address of the event and perhaps include a map. Nice, unexpected touches like a thank you note on the ticket if the buyer made a donation help improve the overall experience
Also, the actual ticket is more than a proof of payment. It is a tangible object that the buyer can look at many times prior to the show to anticipate the enjoyment of the event and after the show to generate fond memories. The ticket also provides important information such as venue address and show time. Therefore, it is also important to provide an attractive, well thought-out ticket – whether it is mailed or printed at home.
A great experience comes not only from the event but also from the overall relationship you have with the buyer. Buyers expect you to remember them after they attended. They expect you to know what shows they attended, and most don’t mind receiving notices of upcoming events. Your online ticketing software must provide all of that.
To provide the best overall experience for its customers, show producers and event organizers must consider your customers’ needs and wants when selecting a system.