The Minnesota Zoo is rolling out a new online customer service system, but the early going has been marked by some technical glitches.
The Apple Valley zoo sent an e-mail to members last week notifying them of the website’s hiccup.
In the message, titled “Please Excuse Our Mess,” Beth Burns, vice president for external relations, apologized to zoo members who had problems with online account activations, membership renewals and camp registrations. “We’ve got some bugs to work out,” she said.
“We had hoped for a seamless transition.”
Zoo member Megan Ferden of Richfield went to the website this month to give her husband a romantic surprise. She wanted to take part in the zoo’s Valentine’s Day promotion to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after a loved one for $10.
When she went on the website to name a cockroach after her husband, Erik, she could not pay, she said.
“When I clicked on it, it didn’t go to the page,” she said. “I’m all for streamlining as long as the technology is up to date and working.”
The problems were shortly resolved, Burns said.
In the past, website visitors could sign up to be members and donate money. The new system, being rolled out in phases, has more ways to purchase tickets online for zoo programs.
Soon, visitors will be able to purchase general admission tickets online.
The zoo is using a platform developed for performing arts organizations.
The glitch affected more than 500 member accounts. Burns said zoo members said they appreciated the zoo’s transparency about the glitch.
“We place such a high value on our relationship with our members and donors,” she said. “We wanted to acknowledge that with them.”
Burns said in an e-mail that the zoo’s five-year contract, which covers all software implementation, technical support services, and all software upgrades, costs about $150,000 a year.
“We have capabilities we haven’t had before,” Burns said.