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Solutions: Alternatives to ticketing refunds

Current events threaten the live event ticketing industry; by implementing automation and offering different refund options, vendors can maintain customer relationships, mitigate chargebacks

Our partners at Softjourn – a global technology services provider – offer functionality that can be added onto any pre-existing ticketing platform that enables sellers to automate the refund process.

Live events have been drastically impacted by the novel coronavirus. Hundreds of events globally have either been postponed until the fall, or outrightly cancelled as the world wonders when the pandemic will end.

With traffic to many ticketing sites falling by as much as 50% and patrons wondering when they’ll get a refund, vendors are looking at a huge cash flow problem in the next few months. With limited options, ticket sellers must make careful choices to both maintain customer relationships but also ensure the survival of their business.

Governments are now considering legislation to support the use of vouchers, like Stubhub’s move to offer a voucher worth 120% of the ticket price, or a refund grace period to allow organizations to weather the COVID-19 storm.

Softjourn’s automated refund solution can also be customized to offer patrons alternatives to the traditional refund, including:

  • Donation of either whole or partial ticket price to help support a venue or organizer,
  • Unique experiences like a virtual backstage view of rehearsal and similar events,
  • Applying the use of a voucher for a future event, or
  • Conversion to another payment method, such as a virtual wallet.

With automation, a vendor can enable customers to apply for a refund and process groups of requesters instead of needing to review and refund each case separately.

“Patrons are offered several options, which encourages them to remain loyal customers, support their favorite venue or organizer in a difficult time, and think about how much they’ll enjoy events once the pandemic is over,” said Natalie Senyk, Client Success Manager. “Because customers are refunded (or offered other options to handle their ticket) in a timely manner, vendors avoid chargebacks from credit card companies and banks, which can affect their reputation and ability to do business in the future.”

Smaller organizations are especially taxed in this scenario, as they aren’t just presented with a loss of revenue but the issue of reimbursing all those customers who purchased tickets.

Large primary and secondary ticket sellers have automated systems in place that allow customers to go in and apply for a refund, to be returned to them in the same form as the initial payment minus fees.

Vendors serving niche audiences, unique types of entertainment, or specific geographic locations are held back by traditional methods of performing refunds, which often require customers to call and wait for their reimbursement to be processed manually.

With today’s current happenings shutting down so many events that have sold hundreds if not thousands of tickets, that means long wait times on the phone, conveying information correctly to a customer service representative, and a delay in reimbursement due to manual processes.

“Softjourn is committed to supporting live entertainment businesses, and wanted to offer alternatives to the traditional refund,” adds Lyubomyr Nykyforuk, Head of Solution Creation Department.

Many services are now available in three seconds or less through websites and mobile applications, so forcing customers into an outdated process doesn’t just hurt a vendor’s wallet; it also hurts their reputation.