Queuing for a ticket online: Is Computicket crazy?

lady gaga sa

So the general idea of booking something online is to satisfy the need instantly. The idea of standing in a queue while online does not sit so well with me; but that’s what is happening on online ticketing site Computicket as it attempts to deal with the demand for the South African leg of a Lady Gaga world tour.

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So maybe I’m being melodramatic or maybe the promise of a digital world if instant gratification has spoiled me; but the queuing system that has been implemented — although for a valid reason — seems to strike at the heart of my digital ideals.

To cut a long story short, when you visit the Computicket website — which is devoted solely to the online purchase of tickets for sporting events, music concerts, theatre productions and the like — you are redirected to this page:

Already the hackles go up. Who says that I am interested in booking for the Lady Gaga concert?

At the bottom of this page, there is a note which goes some way to explaining why users are being confronted by this rather lackluster landing page. Its reasoning is thus :

In an attempt to facilitate a better customer experience during ticket sales openings of high demand events, a queuing system has been implemented on the website to ensure fair and distributed opportunities for all internet users. If you do not want to book for the featured event, please select the option to continue with other bookings. Featured event tickets are only available on the internet through the above link.

What this basically boils down to is a thinly veiled excuse for Computicket not having the backend processing power to facilitate the large-scale onslaught of Gaga fans who are definitely going to be bombarding this page today. What aggravates me about that is that it announced that tickets will ONLY be available online…

Hang on… Excuse me Computicket — but you are going to consciously push tens of thousands of would be concert goers to a website that you well know has not got the processing power to handle all of them?!

Well done for coming up with another solution to your lack of computing power; but surely you should have thought about channeling visitors to offline ticket purchasing mechanisms to help counter this problem?

Let’s be frank here. I quite like the candor and forethought that Computicket have used with its realisation that it has a real business problem. What I do not like is the way in which it looks as if the landing pages were cobbled together overnight. Once you click on the Gaga link you are loaded into the queuing system which looks like it is rendering for a mobile device and not a full screen desktop or laptop:

When we unpack this there are a few lessons that customer facing websites and campaigns need to realise and remember:

1. The user experience is critical. The inconsistent layout of the pages does not translate to a good experience. If you are having to make something quickly to serve a need try everything to ensure that the user experience is not compromised.

2. Make the application vs mobile site decision VERY carefully. Apps are not as easily adaptable as a mobile site. The Computicket iPad application is not loading the Gaga booking page because it has made a fundamental change to the location from where the information is being served and the application cannot cater for the queuing system. The mobile site is working perfectly.

3. Don’t make excuses for inadequate internal systems and try to make it sound like it’s for your client’s own good. Rather be honest and take the hit — your client will respect you more for it.

Ed: Computicket has issued the following response to the article:

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