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CASE STUDY: PEF
Type: Service Provider
IN A NUTSHELL
The past four years saw a four-fold volume increase in sales of event tickets to members by PEF Membership Benefits Program (MBP). A better information system was no longer a desire, but a necessity. “Our old database system crashed nearly every day,” says Graham Goffin, program administrator. “It didn’t integrate our phone, walk-in and web sales. It wasn’t user friendly. And it took hours of daily staff time to manually perform a series of checks and balances, and to correct errors on nearly every order.”
The PEF Membership Benefits Program is a union that represents 58,000 of New York State’s public employees. The Membership Benefits Program sells movie, theatre and special event tickets, as well as admission to amusement parks and other destinations, at discount prices. The ticket prices are subsidized by PEF MBP Trust, and quantity is limited for each member.
The biggest challenge for the benefits program was integration of its web, phone and walk-in sales, which was a manual, labor-intensive process. Damage control was constant. Event tickets could easily be oversold as simultaneous web and phone sales were taken. Because individual sales can’t exceed the number allowed to each member, constant oversight was necessary to avoid multiple purchases.
And while the program tried to drive purchasing traffic to its website, the site was outdated, difficult to navigate and often created errors. So while web orders should have streamlined the process, it often resulted in confusion, numerous phone calls from members checking on orders, and staff frustration.
“The key was in the ADS team’s discovery process – what we are, who we are, and how we do what we do,” explains Graham.
The solution for PEF-MBP involved connecting all three sales channels. ADS created a more intuitive, user-friendly website built on a Microsoft platform, tied in Dynamics RMS point of sale software to accommodate the walk-in sales, and added an integrated shipping system to manage the daily distribution of tickets to members.
Orders are now followed up with an e-mail confirmation, errors are rare, and phone calls from frustrated members are greatly reduced. Loyalty has been built with the program’s online community, and now additional promotional discounts can be featured, including for holiday gift buying.
“Our ticket purchases are now completely integrated, whether purchased online, by phone or in person. This has allowed us to absorb a significant increase in sales without adding staff,” according to the program administrator. “Some 16,000 members visited our website in the fourth quarter of 2009, two and a half times the number one year earlier.”
THE FINAL WORD
Graham Goffin: “ADS not only understood our immediate needs, they look for solutions that meet our anticipated needs, and design for how we want to move forward.”