The Neighborhood Idiot’s Website

Village IdiotsMarc Broussardplayed The Neighborhood Theatre last night and it was a great show. Friends and I had been talking about the show for 2 weeks and planned a whole day around it. At the last minute we almost didn’t get to see it because of one crappy website and inept management.

Neighborhood Theater is off the corner of 36th street and North Davidson in Charlotte – a place better known as NoDa. You can see their woefully inept website here. Keep reading for an object lesson in business mismanagement at every level.

Act 1: Broken Website

We tried getting tickets to the show over the Neighborhood Theater website but failed due to system failure. The ordering process is bizarre, cumbersome, and broken. We went to plan B – buy the tickets in person at a nearby store the website said would have them.

Act 2: The Website Lies to us

The store we we referred to, Sunshine Daydreams, is closed for vacation. No tickets there.

Act 3: Management are Idiots

Wait in line outside of the venue to purchase tickets. This is where management showed their true colors – and those colors are stupid, stupid, and stupid. To spare you the horrific details, I will just summarize the salient points:

  • No line management – will-call, ticket holders, and ticket buyers are all mixed together. Also, no clear starting point to line up. The actual line started 50 yards away from the ticketing booth – which wasn’t used.
  • Inept management – at regular intervals we were told what to do and where to go by the same Neighborhood theatre managers that contradicted what they said 5 minutes ago. My favorite exchange was the following: “They’ll start selling tickets at 7PM.”  “It’s 7:40 right now.”
  • Zero ticket management. They had no idea how many tickets were sold or to whom. Will-calls were promised tickets that might not have ever existed. Management had no idea how many tickets total were in existance, how many were sold on-line (I bet zero), how many seats they had in the place or what the difference was between them.

You can see this was a frustrating experience. Here are some website design lessons we can take out of this ordeal:

There is absolutely no design for the website– odd when you consider NoDa is Charlotte’s artist community. This should have been my first clue that management doesn’t care about customer experience.

Lesson #1: Have great website design. Take a look at Marc Broussard’s website and then compare it to Neighborhood Theatre’s. Which one is more professional? Which one are you more likely to buy from?

The website was not functional. It simply didn’t sell the tickets. Why have a website that doesn’t sell?

Lesson #2: Have a website that does what your customers want.

Lesson #3: Back your website up with phenomenal service.

OK, that’s enough of a rant about poor website design and business management. On to more positive things. I think I’ll start by listening to a recording I bought from last night’s show. Good things!

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