Selecting a Box Office System: Shine where it Matters

Selecting a box office system requires you to assess not only your needs but those of your customers as well.

What about situations where customer needs and your needs are not aligned? Let’s face it; some features in a box office system serve both you and your customers (e.g. ease of use), but some features are there more for your purpose (e.g. ability to track ticket purchases to reduce fraud), and some features are there more for the benefit of the customer (e.g. ability to easily exchange seats or dates).

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.

In these situations, look for ways to serve the needs of both parties. For example, perhaps make the information collection fields optional. Customers who indeed want you to know them better will provide the information. 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 and to consciously assess the trade-offs.

When selecting a box office system, it is useful to use the following framework to assess the value of features and functions both to your customers and to you:

Let’s consider each of these quadrants
High Value to You and Your Customers: Shine!
First, in the upper right are features that are valuable to both you and your customers. Examples include:

Season tickets
Ability to customize tickets
Low software cost
Print-at-home tickets

You want a system that really shines in those areas, because you will be delighting your customers and serving your own needs.  Identify these features and ace them!
Value to only You or Your Customers: Contain
In the upper left are areas that are of value to you or may be absolutely required by you to effectively manage your events, but are not of value to your customers. Examples may include:

Unique number and bar codes on the ticket
Ability to check patrons in and redeem the ticket
Patron demographic data

In the lower right are areas that customers may want, but they do not help you manage your events and sell more tickets. Be careful about dismissing these because they may be required to deliver the best overall experience to your customers. Examples here include

Ability for customers to easily return a ticket and get a refund
Ability to switch their ticket for a different date, time or show

For features in these quadrants, our advice is “Contain”. You will definitely need features in each of these two categories. However too many feature in the upper left may frustrate your customers, too many in the lower right may drive up your costs or require a high degree of support.

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No Value to You or Your Customers
Run for the hills! There are aspects of some box office systems that are of no value to you or your customers or may even be of negative value or cost. Examples include:

High fees to the ticketing company
Requiring customers to drive somewhere to purchase or pick up the tickets
Mistakes – overselling, printing errors, etc.

You want to avoid these like the plague. You will know their fees, so you can compare them to other alternatives.  Regarding reliability or other aspects in this quadrant, our advice is to ask their customers, not just references they provide, but customers you find on your own and contact.

Find out more about how to define requirements and review a list of typical box office software requirements by downloading the White Paper.

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