The core ePly event registration system is very flexible and includes most commonly needed registration features, but some events have special requirements or procedures that call for more creative solutions. Although we always take the time to review your requirements, these occasions call for a deeper understanding of your overall process, so that we’re able to use our collective experience to make recommendations, and even perform some custom development work..
Here are some case studies of projects that combined our staff’s knowledge and experience in the events industry with customization of the ePly system.
Event Registration System Case Study #1
The client had pre-registered a group of four thousand people with the data saved in a spreadsheet. They needed an easy way to allow only the people on the list to go online, and select a time slot to make a presentation.
Specific registration system requirements:
- Restrict access to the registration form to those people who had pre-registered with the client.No passwords were to be used in the access control process.
- The system needed to only allow each pre-registered person to submit the form once.
- Display the registrants’ contact information but not allow them to change it.
- Have a way for the client’s administrative staff to manually add people to the pre-registered list.
- The front end of the system was required to be available in both English and French.
- The registrants needed to be able to select the city of their presentation, with each city having a specific and limited number of dates and times available.
- All dates, time slots, and cities were required to be automatically removed from the form once all available slots were taken.
- The confirmation email needed to merge the registrants’ details, as well as the venue information and presentation time slot.
- The ability to adjust the number of spaces available for each time slot in real time.
ePly’s Approach and Work
We discussed the details in depth with the client over the phone and in email, to make sure that we fully understood the scope and requirements of the project. In all cases, ePly attempts to predict our clients’ needs through proactively asking questions, attempting to find critical points that the client may not have thought of. Our priority was a smooth flow, and general ease of use for the registrants despite a complex process.
Once we had a firm grasp of the details, we presented the challenges to our developers and explained how we thought the system would work, and what custom development would be needed.
Most of the required functionality was already available in our base online registration system, such as the built-in registration reporting, but some extra work was needed to meet the requirements:
- Registration data needed to be cleaned: all duplicates were removed, and incomplete email addresses were identified.
- Programming was added to restrict access to the registration form only to a list of pre-registered people. The registrant was marked as “submitted’ only after a time slot was selected and the form sent. This allowed registrants to return to the form at a later date if at first they weren’t able to select a time slot.
- A special report was built with complex filtering to allow administrators easy access to the list of pre-registrants, and to easily edit their details as needed.
Results – Feedback from the client
- “This online registration was very effective.”
- “Once we had a plan, the program was done by ePly’s experts in a record time.”
- “The program was well done and very practical for our group.”
- “The use of one email address per participant was very effective, as long as they did not change email address in the last 6 – 7 months.”
- “The Limit tab gave us a good idea of the numbers required.”
- “Summary tab was well used by our group to see the final count of registration.”
- “The language tab gave us focus on the task at hand, if there were people talking in another language as this would need to be addressed before any of our events started.”
- “It saved hours of work to our staff.”
- “We valued the print out of the list with all the pertinent information after the close of each session.”
- “Excellent program.”
- “I would recommend this program to anyone that has to register a large number of people.”
- “The only feedback I had from the public was some of them did not know where to go once they opened the Application. I had a few telephone calls where people had problems. On the almost 1000 people that registered so far, the people calling me were only 4 people.”
Registration System Case Study #2
A Long Island school board required prospective students to register to take an entrance examination. Historically, there have been over 4000 students applying to take the exam, with registrations being handled manually. Staff entered the data into a database, and mailed out hard copy confirmations with exam cards. Students who passed the exam were mailed an acceptance letter, and asked to complete a hard copy registration form.
Specific registration system requirements:
- The system was required to be able to assign a testing center based on a zip code entered on the registration form.
- A custom email and admission card needed to be generated. This needed to include the student’s details, the test site (automatically determined by the system) and directions to the test site.
- A way to automatically generate a test admission card upon submission of registration and approved credit card payment.
- Offline cheque payments were also accepted; staff needed to be able to manually generate an email and admission card with as few clicks as possible after receipt of payment.
- Registrations needed to conform to the school board’s unique numbering system.
- The system needed to accommodate requests for extra time to write the test, as well as other special needs.
- A list of passing students and their contact information needed to be uploadable to a new database.
- Each accepted student required a password to access the system, and register for the school.
ePly’s Approach and Work
This was an interesting project for us – although it was not an event, it was an ideal situation to use the ePly system. This was the client’s first move towards an automated registration process, so after the usual client consultation and discussions, we set up a detailed sample form to demonstrate the process that we had in mind.
All of the client’s requirements were met. To achieve this, we:
- Created an HTML email that could be used as the admission card for the exam.
- Liaised with the client’s IT Manager to make sure data could be imported into their in-house database.
- Customized the reporting options for the school administrators for optimum usability and efficiency.
Results – Feedback from the client
The online registration went very well. We do not have the resources to conduct extensive testing with many of our projects, so on this one we depended heavily on ePly to help us get it right the first time, and fix any problems that cropped up along the way. Our trust was well placed – they were very easy to get hold of and super responsive. They foresaw possible conflicts, and explained how we might want to do things a different way to achieve our goals.
When we went live with the registration, we still expected problems – it’s IT…nothing goes smoothly – but no problems came. Minor issues, but no major problems. Unfortunately, this just made us more anxious, as we wondered what horrible failure was looming. We allowed people to register up until 10 minutes before the exam. When we closed registration (over 4,000 registrants later), there was an actual sense of surprise – no major problems! Even non-tech staff (principals, staff, etc.) noted how smoothly it went. We have a good tech staff here, but credit has to go to ePly for getting it 100% right.
- Usually we keep 4 tables set up to handle “walk-in’s” – people who did not register but now want to take the test – typically about 120 people. This year we had a total of 7 walk-in’s. With two staff people per table, we freed up 6 staff (and some floor space).
- Smoother and faster registration overall. Fewer resources used to manually register people.
- The cost to do an online registration with credit card is still far less than the money we saved on labour to manually register someone.
- When we used to do manual registrations, we had to close registration about 3 weeks before the exam – to give our staff time to process all those registrations and get everything ready. With the online registration, we could register people until last minute.
- Big savings in paper and postage – we used to mail people their registration ticket. In the ePly system, once registrants are paid up, they receive an email with their registration ticket, and they print it out.
- Perceived processing speed (by registrants) – registrants liked that they could register and have their registration ticket emailed to them within minutes, instead of the old manual method that took from 1-3 weeks. This also resulted in a *lot* less calls here by people who were checking if we had “received their registration application”.
Obviously we are using ePly again for this exam registration. Why tinker with 100% success?
With this going so well, we moved school registration over from a manual process to online with ePly – parents loved it and last years registration was the smoothest ever!
We are moving our summer camp registration over to ePly as well. It is a huge amount of work to do the registrations manually, so the person that does it now is looking forward to a more organized – and fast and easier – registration process.
ePly – you call them, they answer the phone, they are intelligent, and they make it work. Their fees are reasonable, and their services are reliable (no “server unavailable” problems at any point) If every one of our vendors worked like this, my life would be stress free.
Please contact us if you would like to speak directly with this client.