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Don’t get trapped in a ticketing partnership that pushes you down the wrong path: 5 crucial questions you need to ask

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Replacing a legacy system is a ‘once in a career’ occurrence, due to the high cost of investment, complexity and of course the high risk of disruption. However, in today’s technology driven world, transport authorities must meet the challenge of meeting their customers’ needs despite the technology restrictions caused by these often inflexible legacy systems. A core customer need is the ability to conduct their day-to-day lives with the help of their smartphone – this is something most traditional legacy systems cannot support on their own and the right mobile ticketing partnership is the key to bridging this gap.

Ticketing providers are now bringing to market solutions that aim to bridge the current technology gap and remove the immediate need for full system replacement. The right partnership with the right ticketing provider can take your ticketing system further, enhancing the customer experience and preparing networks to adapt to changes in market needs that are happening right now.

There are many ticketing providers now offering solutions and it is important to ensure that you choose a partner that offers a long-term relationship. So how do you separate the experienced from the opportunists?

Sizing up your new mobile partner

If you are intending to connect third parties to your ticketing system, then it pays to be aware of some of the crucial skills necessary to deliver a successful project.

Five key questions to ask:  

  1. Can you show us an in-market example?

In the world of technology, anything is possible. It is important to distinguish between the theoretical and the reality of customer interaction. An app that has been developed and is being used at scale should provide a higher level of confidence over something that has been developed for demonstration purposes only. An in-market example will also provide you with a valuable reference where you can seek insights and avoid repeating issues that early adopters may have experienced.

Ireland’s Minister of Transport, Paschal Donohoe, and NTA’s CEO, Anne Graham, launch the Leap Top-Up app

  1. What is your user experience process?

When the app was developed, were customers involved? It is important to find a partner that understands the customer segment they are designing for.  A process that includes discovery sessions with a cross-section of customers to define their needs, as well as beta testing throughout the development process, will provide confidence of a strong result. Research has shown that on average only 16{e9cca11f5451544b7aeb64082489c665d02d41ee192a2b6bca31851c6b869d2a} of people are prepared to try an app more than twice after a bad user experience. In addition, looking at the Google Play or App Store app ratings will show you how many people have downloaded the app, the average rating and the comments from users which are full of insights regarding customer experience and responsiveness to issues.

Customer-centric model

A customer-centric organisation designs products with the end-user at the fore-front of all decision making

  1. How do you communicate progress?

Developing an app shouldn’t be a closed-door process. There should be transparency and open communication between you and your partner. They should be able to clearly demonstrate the tools that they use to record and track requirements. They should build milestone demonstrations into their project plan and have stages of interaction where you are able to test and verify that it meets your expectations. Their methods should also match your own. If you have a ‘waterfall’ development process and they have ‘agile’ for example, find out  the ways they would work to bring the two together.

Open communication and collaborative planning

Open communication and collaborative planning are key to successful partnerships

  1. How quickly can you iterate?

No matter how wonderful your app design is, there will be the need for changes. Every time there is a new operating system update, something in your app may break or be less responsive. Every time there is a new handset released, the app may need to be modified. Seeking examples from a partner that can show how quickly they can mobilise a change can give you confidence of ongoing support for your app. Will they be contracted to support the app long term? Do they have the resources to turn around critical updates within days? You also need to clearly define who will be monitoring complaints and identifying the need for app updates.

New device releases, software bugs, security threats, new operating system updates and the changing needs of customers all influence the need for app updates

The “circle of influence”:factors that influence the need for app updates

  1. How is your team structured?

Don’t rely on a single experienced developer. If that person leaves the business, has their knowledge and experience been shared across the rest of the team? You will gain a good insight into the culture of the company and the security of your project once you know how team knowledge is distributed and their recruitment strategies for scaling up, if necessary. Use the above tips to assess the experience level of your partner. If they can demonstrate examples of all of these questions, you are in a good position to minimise your risk and deliver a successful project.

Team collaboration is key

A successful app developer takes a collaborative team approach with a strong pool of resources at their disposal

Want to learn more about how partnerships are the most effective way to extend the functionality of your legacy ticketing system? Being able to improve the experience for your customers via mobile ticketing channels may be easier than you think….

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About Snapper Services 

Snapper Services Ltd (Snapper) is a New Zealand technology company working in the transport ticketing industry since 2008. Snapper helps transport providers improve the customer experience in ticketing by designing and delivery modern service-based solutions. They do this typically, by partnering with systems integrators. Its award-winning, white label mobile application is being used internationally to provide instant and convenient services to customers.