It’s one of my number one annoyances when booking anything, not just tickets.

You’ve found what you want at a price you will pay, it is in the basket and you then start to set up the shipping.

That’s when my goat gets got.

I don’t have an address line 2, yet the system demands it. OK, first of all, why the hell would you not implement postcode look up?  Auto-complete does allow me to fill stuff in, that’s great, but no postcode look up?

Anyhow my address is:

123 Main Street

Town

Postcode

There is no second line, there is no suburb, no district, just road and town. There is a county, but often county is a separate field, if present at all; even this is mandatory in some cases.

So what do I do? Well I have to put in something – so my favourite line is;

I don’t have a second line in my address, so not putting anything here.

I do actually receive posted tickets with this printed on, after all;

I am being invited by them to put rubbish into their database, well if you’re asking me to, who am I to refuse(?)

So, who is to blame for this? I could understand that no-one is to blame if I was booking tickets from another land, with a strange address make up, but three of my last four homes have had the same address format.

This topic came to top of my blog list, when, whilst checking a venue’s compliance with the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) Fees Policy, I got to the checkout and had to create an account.  Address Line 2 was required, so I took to twitter to vent.

The venue could not see there was an issue, the problem being I think they got confused:

  • What a mandatory field is and when it should be used or not, and how it affects the purchase
  • That their valuable database may be having rubbish inserted, as it has not been configured properly.

So is it the fault of the venue? Well, yes, but also their supplier has a part to play.  Should systems be potentially configurable in a way that is likely to cause people to have to enter garbage just to complete a transaction?

This leads me onto the real point I want to make about configurations of systems:

I have seen this stand off many times before: venues who have insisted on making an email address mandatory in the box office to create a new customer record, so when someone doesn’t want to give one, they enter 1@1.com – the result?

  • Marketing ‘believes’ they have an email list of 20,000 – when it’s actually 15,000
  • Email distribution gets blacklisted due to the number of non existent addresses they are sending to.

I often advise marketing managers not to do things that would cause customers or themselves issues, but they still do them.

If a supplier has explained the reasons why a venue should not do things a certain way, then they have done all they can, haven’t they?

Of course, with so many people not having second lines in their address, you could ask suppliers why there is an option to make it mandatory ?

Put simply, it didn’t stop me buying, since I was just checking some fees, but the response and what it suggested to me is more worrying.  Who takes responsibility for configuring “sensible systems?

Who looks bad? Who is to blame? Whether it is vendor or venue , either way my goat got got.

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Note : This article was updated on 24th September in light of the fact the venue I had originally mentioned and their supplier had removed the mandatory fields that I had written about. I have removed reference to them specifically, but noted that the issue itself of system configuration systems remains.

Andrew