Ticketing System Example
Most of the systems you purchase for your organization are not used by your customers. Accounting, HR, and even CRM are examples. However, systems such as e-commerce, product support, or store locators are actually used by your customers. When evaluating customer-touched software, it is critical to understand and take into account not only your needs, but the needs of your customers.
A great example of a system that is used by both the seller and the buyer is event ticketing. The event producer or venue uses the system to sell and manage tickets. At the same time, ticket buyers use the system to select and purchase tickets.
How do you take into account the needs of both parties and balance each party’s needs when there are tradeoffs? You must first understand each party’s requirements. In this example, ticket buyers and ticket sellers each have a hierarchy of needs.
Hierarchy of Needs – Ticket Buyers
A ticket buyer’s hierarchy of needs can be described as follows: Decide; Buy; Enjoy
At the basic level, buyers want help deciding where to spend their limited time and money. They expect a ticketing system 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.
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.
If a buyer decides to attend one of your events, the next set of needs is assistance in buying the tickets. Here, buyers want to easily and quickly select their seats, provide payment and get their tickets. 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.
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 ticketing system. 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.
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. Therefore, it is also important to provide an attractive ticket – whether it is mailed or printed at home.
Hierarchy of Needs – Ticket Sellers
We believe that ticket sellers also have three levels of needs in a ticketing system: Transact, Analyze, and Grow.
At the basic level, a ticketing system must administer the ticket transaction. It must allow the buyer to place an order, submit payment and receive the tickets. The system must deplete inventory to avoid overselling general admission events or must lock sold seats for assigned seating events. It must collect credit card information for payment and provide the actual ticket – whether in hardcopy or print-at-home. You may also require features such as barcodes, mobile ticketing and day-of-event check-in.
At the next level, ticket sellers require the ability to review and analyze the data generated by the purchase transactions. You likely want to review sales performance for each event and be able to slice the data many different ways such as cash versus credit card sales, amount of discounts, sales per price category. Features required at this level include the ability view event-specific or total sales and the ability to extract all transaction information into excel to analyze it however you wish.
At the top level is the goal to grow. This level includes the ability to drive sales for specific events, to expand your customer list and your relationship with your customers and to cultivate your overall reputation in the community. Features required in a ticketing system at this level include “ownership” of the customer data. The system must allow you to export your customer data, and the system vendor must agree that that data is yours and yours alone.
At this level, system attributes such as ease of use, cosmetics that are consistent with your branding are important. Of course, the ability to leverage social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is also critical. The system should give patrons the ability to “Like” or share your events or your Facebook page, or communicate the event to friends. These features will not only drive sales but build your brand and reputation.
Balancing the Tradeoffs
So, it is critical to consider your customers needs in selecting a system. Their needs are indeed your needs. What about situations where their needs and your needs are not aligned? For example, you may want to collect as much information from a customer as possible during checkout in order to grow and analyze your customer list. The buyers, however, want to provide as little information as possible in order to speed purchase process. Similarly, you may want to have the system assign seats in order to dress house in the manner you desire, whereas buyers love being able to choose their own seats.
In these situations, look for ways to serve the needs of both parties. For example, perhaps make the information collection fields optional. Or block the seats that you prefer not to sell first. In some cases there is no easy answer, and you’ll just have to decide whose need trumps the other’s. The point is, though, to ensure consideration is made of your customers’ needs.
When selecting a system, in addition to tradeoffs between buyers’ and sellers’ needs, you may also discover tradeoffs among the levels of requirements themselves. And, tradeoffs may have to be assessed on the price versus feature question. For example, if your organization is cost conscious and are really just looking for a great transaction system, there is no need in overpaying to get features at the “Grow” level. On the other hand, if all three levels are critical, you would not want to penny-pinch and miss out on features you require.
For any system that will be touched by your customers, it is critical to assess their system needs in addition to your own and to consciously assess tradeoffs to make the best software selection.
Looking for Ticketing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Ticketing software solutions.