Six Questions to Ask Your Potential Online Registration Provider
Not all online registration vendors are created equal, so it pays to do a little research and ask a few questions before you sign-up with a vendor. Here are six important questions to ask before choosing who will help you with your event.
1. Do you have to let the vendor access your server or install software on it?
Most online registration companies will “host” your online form on their own servers. This means the vendor manages the information and you don’t have to worry about any software installation or maintenance and tech support issues. It’s all done for you.
Running the registration off your own server will only bring problems, including increased security risk if you are giving outside people access to your server as well as the cost of installing software and using your own technical people, if you have any, to set up and maintain the system for the duration of your event.
Bottom line: You should look for a vendor that can provide the service using their own equipment.
2. How are credit card payments handled?
With many online registration vendors, payment processing is handled through their merchant account. This means that you do not have to have your own merchant and gateway company accounts.
Some online registration companies will give you the option to open up your own merchant and gateway company accounts, but make sure you carefully review all of the set up, monthly and processing fees associated with your own accounts. In the long term having your own accounts can be more costly and will carry more responsibility and obligation on your part.
3. Are there other payment options?
Some companies offer a way for you to securely collect credit card information and process the payment as if it was obtained by fax or phone. Manual processing is more labour intensive on your part, but can be less expensive to use depending on the cost of labour and the number of expected replies.
4. What will your registration form look like?
This varies from company to company. Some online registration vendors just provide a standard look for the online forms; others provide forms that can look like their own website. Try to find a vendor that provides branded online forms to match the look and feel of your website and/or printed materials. This is more professional and offers a seamless transition from your website to the online registration area.
5. How will you access the data stored in the online database?
You may want to download your registration data from the database to a spreadsheet on your own computer or you may want to access real time online reports via the internet. Both are possible, so ask your online registration vendor about the reporting they offer to make sure it meets your needs.
6. Does the online registration vendor have any references?
Ask for references and check them. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company with a track record of providing great customer service.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments about this article.