While the Padres brass has been rolling out the red carpet for local bloggers and media the past few days, it’s most loyal customers have been dealing with the worst new Padres customer service initiative in years: mobile smartphone tickets. The Padres are making a big push into new, non paper tickets. The headliner is the new Padres membership card that uses RFID or NFC or something to act as a swop able ticket, an ID identifying you as a member/STH, and as a method of payment at concessions. This works perfectly, and the team should be commended for this. Unfortunately, the other big initiative was mobile ticketing. The idea was that you could just load your ticket in your mobile browser and show it to gain entry. On iPhones, you could even add your ticket to Passbook. So it sounds great.
Flash forward to the opening series and those that were advised by their ticket reps to give the mobile tickets a try were in for a rude awakening. After waiting in line to get to the turnstile, the mobile tickets were turned away at the gate. Apparently, the mobile ticket only entitles the ticket holder to then get in line for the box office where they can show the mobile ticket at the window and have a paper ticket printed for them. So basically, using the mobile ticket involves more steps than even buying a ticket on gameday from the box office. Not my idea of convenience. Throw in opening night/day crowds and lines, and season ticket holders missed several innings dealing with this new “convenience”. Talking with three separate members that ran into issues, they were fuming. Their sales reps were the ones advising and hyping the new mobile tickets which ended up creating frustration and substantial portions of the game missed. It’s a great idea with just laughable execution.
Hopefully Wayne Partello, Mike Dee and the Padres take this problem involving their most loyal customers as seriously as they take wining and dining the San Diego media and blogosphere in exchange for positive coverage.