Online Ticketing Software: Best Practices for Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment is the primary task of selling tickets, be it in-person or through online ticketing software. While in-person fulfillment is a relative slam-dunk, online is a slightly different animal, especially when the occasional credit card chargeback is involved. Here are some best practices for order fulfillment and chargebacks.
Outside the context of selling tickets to an event, Wikipedia defines order fulfillment as “the complete process from the point of sales inquiry to the delivery of a product to the customer." There is a universal truth to that definition because it accurately describes the complete ticket buying experience.
The two circumstances in which the task of order fulfillment occurs are in-person at the box office, and through online ticketing software. The task of in-person order fulfillment is a much lighter load on the hard working venue owner, as handing a buyer their tickets couldn't be easier. Online fulfillment, however, can be more of a challenge, especially if a credit card chargeback is involved.
Treating the task of order fulfillment as a mundane business process, merely going through the motions in a robotic way, is a risky position to take. Your event means something special to your customers and the act of buying tickets doesn't end with them giving you money. Immediately after the fiscal transaction has concluded, the customer expectation for order fulfillment starts.
When it comes to meeting customer expectations during and immediately after a ticket purchase, the stakes could not be higher. After receiving their money, the clock begins ticking. How you follow through and meet the subjective perception of order fulfillment may be the difference between a one-time customer and a repeat customer.
As an example of how important order fulfillment is, one need only look at the massive investment Amazon is making. As described by Danielle Kucera of Bloomberg, Amazon considers the critical task of order fulfillment just as important as the reception of funds. So much so, Amazon’s fulfillment centers are being expanded with a considerable investment of capital:
Boasting more space and technology that makes it easier to find items, the building is part of Amazon’s almost $13.9 billion spending binge on fulfillment expenses - including 50 new facilities since 2010. That’s more than the company spent on warehouses in its lifetime and brought the total to 89 at the end of 2012. Amazon has announced five more in the U.S. this year.
Of course, only Jeff Bezos can spend billions on the order fulfillment process, but every venue should look to Amazon's "spending spree" as reason to make every practical effort to get tickets in buyer’s hands as quickly as possible.
The best online ticketing software has machine generated confirmation emails that are sent immediately after tickets are purchased. Confirmation emails satisfy the mechanical task of order fulfillment, but not all confirmation emails are created equally. Beyond the basics (order number, event date and time, etc.) should the email be lacking it may not satisfy the expectation of the buyer.
Confirmation emails need to have strong visual cues that the customer will associate with the event they just bought tickets for. For example, conformation for a live music concert should have a photo of the band at the minimum, a photo of the band taken during a past live performance is even better. Remembering that the primary human perception is sight, a visually stimulating end to the order fulfillment process is a best practice for lucrative repeat business.
As Tom Vanderbilt so eloquently wrote recently, business is more than mathematical equations, it includes adapting to human quirks and capabilities. As every person who sells event tickets knows there are rare occasions when a customer claims they did not receive the purchase confirmation email. The lack of a confirmation email, be it an erroneous subjective perception by the customer or genuine technical error, is a broken order fulfillment process. Repairing the broken process is a ticket seller's responsibility. A best practice is to make use of online ticketing software that features an easy way to resend confirmation emails.
Credit Card Chargebacks
A genuinely pesky aspect of order fulfillment is the so-called "chargeback", the act of processing a full or partial refund to a ticket buyer’s credit card. When selling tickets at the box office, performing a chargeback for a walk-up that asks to change or cancel their order is a fairly pedestrian task, with fraud rarely being a concern. Chargebacks for online purchases however can be far more worrisome since the anonymity of a telephone call can mask a fraud attempt. In addition to fraud, chargebacks can be fraught with processing fees set by financial institutions. In extreme cases, credit card companies may apply a chargeback fee as high as $100, and there may also be a substantial delay in the proper credits being made to all parties involved.
Excluding the ugly specter of fraud, any changes to an online order may result in a chargeback fee should the ticket buyer not be satisfied with how the matter has been handled. Since the order change will most likely be handled during a phone call to the box office, making the change as easy as possible will lessen the possibility of the customer contacting their credit card company and filing a dispute. Keeping in mind the previously mentioned subjective perception of the buyer, ticketing software can be an important tool for customer support. Being able to quickly find the order in question reduces the time spent on the phone, thus improving the order fulfillment process from your customer’s point of view. Your choice in ticketing software should let you search for orders by buyer name, zip code, best of all are truncated searches using just a single letter.
ThunderTix Online Ticketing Software
When resolving pesky chargebacks, it is important to remember that some online ticketing software is actually a third party performing event credit card processing and pay you days or weeks after your event takes place. When the acts you've booked require payment on the day of the event, or when lagging sales force you to spend more on promotion efforts, the lack of sales collections can impose serious financial constraints.
ThunderTix online ticketing software has the credit card and order fulfillment features for selling tickets online and box office purchases. When tickets are paid for online, we help you provide your bank with documentation showing proof that tickets were delivered, whether a customer opened the confirmation email and clicked on the ticket link - you'll need that help defend against chargeback fraud.
The same technology that makes handling chargebacks and order fulfillment easier, also powers immediate access to your funds affording you the opportunity for additional advertising and promotion to boost attendance for your event. A merchant account is the vehicle that allows you to immediately collect sales dollars. The merchant account takes credit card payments from your ticket buyers and deposits them directly to your bank account.
Want to learn more about how our online ticketing software solutions can be applied to your order fulfillment challenges? Be sure to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!