Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Bad User Experience: An Addendum to the Web Site Basics Page

Dear Metropolitan Opera,

I bought my donor-priority tickets to the Live in HD Telecasts last night. Dear me. I can think of something that would have made the user experience even worse, but as it is...

Here's what it took, and keep in mind that I bought five sets of tickets. It would have been seven if I hadn't been so damn annoyed that I gave up before ordering ticket to my two low-priority operas. Yes, the bad user experience cost you quantifiable money

1. Click the link on the Met web site.

2. Get taken to a third-party web site.
3. Select an opera.
4. Type in your zip code. You're presented with a list of locations at increasing distances from you.
5. Select a location.
6. Get taken to THAT location's web site. You're presented with the list of "available showtimes," which means ONE showtime, because this information has carried over from step 3.
7 . Select the show time.
8. Select the number of tickets.
9. Log in.
10. First time through, provide credit card info and check the option to retain it so that you don't have to do this again.
11. Okay the purchase.
12. Go back to step 3 because there is no option for continuing at the same location.

I might have put "Log in" in the wrong step. I just don't remember - but I do remember that I had to log in to the movie theater/chain web site for every purchase.

I understand, I really do, why it works like this. Patrons might want to go to different theaters for different operas, or the first choice location might not be available. And the Met itself does not want to screw around with ticketing for 1,500 different locations.

But look at it this way: some of us, like me, paid you money for advance access. All of us are used to better ticket-buying experiences, even if we've had to deal with the myriad frustrations of web site timeouts,  Tessitura minus the choose-your-own-seat module, and excessive 'convenience fees.' More importantly, you're selling at least 3 million tickets annually for movie theaters all over the world, many of them at times the theater would otherwise not be in use. 

(How did I get that number? Well, there are 24 broadcasts, two of each opera, one live, one "encore." The Met says there are around 1,500 theaters. I'm assuming each theater sells at least 100 tickets per showing, and I'm sure that is conservative. Do the math.)

Those millions of tickets mean you have some influence. You also have an IT staff. Use your heads and make it easier for your loyal viewers.


Dr.B said...

Luckily we in Sacramento just show up at the theater.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I did that for the first couple of Met broadcasts I went to, decided not to take a chance this year. That Lepage Ring especially seems like a potential sellout!