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Facebook changes it's UI constantly, people always complain. Then they get over it and continue. Netflix has created a huge mob of annoyed customers. The problem, especially with Netflix, is that these businesses are market leaders... and big enough to get away with it. They can mess with their product or service, but it ultimately fills a need people have so customers will come back. The demand for one specific restaurant or arts organization for that matter is more inelastic. If I go to a food joint and they piss me off real bad, I won't go back. There are plenty of other restaurants in town. There's only one Facebook.
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For the organizations that say "our patrons expect it," did they ever ask their patrons if they prefer digital tickets, or would mind trying it out? There is some satisfaction of having an actual cardboard ticket, but I'm excited about the capabilities of doing without them. And this is coming from a guy that has a collection of all ticket stubs from events I've attended in the past several years. I'd love for patrons to be able to print out a ticket with a barcode, QR, or data matrix and bring it to the theatre for us to scan. Even better, have the code in an email they can display on their phones for us to scan. Or why not use "bump" to check in? OR allow patrons to connect location based services with their ticket order and check themselves in when they check in to the venue. And the no exchanges policy needs to go. Assuming ticket prices between nights are the same, I don't see why that can't happen. Plans change, life happens. Making it easier adds value to the patrons experience, and value will keep them coming back. Any plans for Patron Manager to experiment with some of the bullet points you listed?
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Aug 16, 2011