I almost didn’t give them my money

When I was 16, I practically lived at Great America. Season passes. Every roller coaster. All year long. So whenever my son and I go back to California, we make sure to spend a day at my old stomping grounds — season passes included.

Until this year when we almost didn’t.

Going through the online renewal process for season pass holders is a total nightmare. If you’re logged in to your account on the Great America website, there’s no immediate connection between your current account and the option to renew. In fact, the only two ways to renew your season passes online are to:

  • Manually type in your 20-digit code for each pass (requiring you to open multiple browser windows)
  • Print out last year’s passes and have a QR code for your phone (not a great option if you’re traveling while renewing)

Isn’t it supposed to be easier to do things digitally?

Especially for your season pass holders who you want to keep as customers?

Just when I thought it was taken care of…

I eventually completed the painful renewal process, and we met up with my sister-in-law and nephew at Great America for some sunshine and roller coasters. The hard part was over, right?


During our visit, we found out the park offered an all-day dining pass. Seemingly a more affordable option than paying as we went along, I logged on to the website from my phone to update my passes with the dining package…only to find that I needed to type in that 20-digit code. Again. Which meant opening multiple windows. Again.

There was no way to copy and paste the code, so I was just hoping nothing closed out or got erased as I switched between browser windows to complete the add-on. I was so frustrated that I was thisclose to not giving them my money, which made me wonder…

How many of their other customers left without renewing or buying an add-on, greatly impacting their business?

All said and done, it was a memorable day with my family. But those memories are also tarnished with terrible user experiences.

If I could go back and speak to someone at Great America right then and there, I would have asked:

  • Why make it so hard for your customers to do business with you?
  • Why isn’t the renewal process a seamless one, especially since you have all of my information in your system?
  • How many other customers will give up easier than I did, and how much lost revenue might that translate to?

How I’m hoping this helps you

I know my misfortune with the Great America website doesn’t live in isolation. I’m sure there are some customers who don’t move forward with the renewal process for the reasons I already mentioned.

They probably went elsewhere.

When you want to do business with your customers online — whether that’s getting them an annual report or completing a purchase — it’s absolutely critical to make the experience as simple and seamless as possible.

Put yourself in your customers’ world and consider what obstacles or frustrations you might experience if you were trying to use your website or app. Try using the site from different devices and take stock of any deviations in user experience.

If you don’t, you’ll never have as many roller coaster riders as you could have had.