You may have noticed a member record called "Novi Guest" in your Novi database or inside of your QuickBooks. This is the default customer name that Novi uses for guest Ecommerce checkouts and event registrations.
Why We Use A Novi Guest Record
A guest is any user who is not logged in to your website, and is making a product or event registration purchase.
QuickBooks requires a customer name in order to record a transaction. This works fine when you're dealing with your members, but business questions quickly arise as soon as you start to cast your net a little further.
Little need for data, desire for less friction
In another life, I owned two Ben & Jerry's ice cream franchises. When business was good, we had hundreds of different customers come through our scoop shop buying ice cream. If we entered each transaction into QuickBooks with perfect data tracking, we would have asked each customer for his or her name. Then we would have had to worry about data quality issues, like duplicate John Smiths. It also would have added a significant amount of friction to the checkout process. Our checkout line would have moved much more slowly, and we most likely would have lost customers. In our business opinion, the benefit of having purchase histories for our customers was not worth the costs of collecting the data.
In the association world, imagine holding an event that's open to the general public. You probably don't want your QuickBooks file to be filled with hundreds of customers you'll never see again. In this instance, your "guests" will not have access to a historical list of events they've attended or products they've purchased in Novi.
Extreme Example: Need for data, little friction to collect
On the opposite end of the spectrum, imagine you were purchasing a Tesla. Would you be upset if the salesperson spent a few extra minutes collecting all of your data for their records? Probably not. With the data, Tesla could automatically notify you of software updates or new charging stations. Given that the sales person might only sell a handful on a good day, the benefit of having better data outweighs any friction in collecting that data.
For associations, this could be analogous to vendors at a trade show. These are big ticket items, and staff could potentially use historical data to sell the following year's show.
What Happens If A Member Attempts to Register For An Event or Purchase A Product As A Guest?
If a member attempts to register for an event or purchase an ecommerce product as a guest, we have a feature that prompts users who are attempting to checkout as guest, but already have a user account on the website, to login.
The feature determines this match based on the email address that is entered as guest information. If it matches an email connected to a current user account login email, the prompt below will appear.
This will ensure that your purchases and registrations are connected to the right member records, and will benefit your members by ensuring that they receive the best possible pricing.
Please note in the screenshot that they do have the ability to continue as a guest, so you will want to make sure that they are educated on properly logging into their account.
Making Decisions: Setting Up Your Tickets & Products
With Novi AMS, associations get to decide when the benefits of better data outweigh the convenience of lenient, user-friendly online checkout policies. Associations can also decide when customers should be added to your QuickBooks customer list and when they shouldn't be.
If your event registrations or products are open for anyone to purchase, the possibility of someone checking out as a guest is always there.
Event Tickets: Best Data, Little Friction
If you want to have the best data possible for your event registration lists and do not want to see any Novi Guest purchasers, then you'll want to consider setting the "Ability to Purchase" setting on an event ticket to "Logged-in Members" or "Specific Group." This will ensure that your users need to be logged in to purchase.
- Either setting will require a user be logged in to register with that ticket.
- It will also ensure that the purchase is tied to that particular member's record.
Locking down the ability to purchase a ticket to a "Specific Group" is a great way to include members and non-members while still requiring them to log in (create a group using the condition: "Has Account" equals Yes). That way, you don't end up with any Novi Guest registrations, but you can still allow non-members to register.
- Note: If your site does not allow for non-member user account creation, please contact Novi if you'd like to change that.
Event Tickets: Less Data, Less Friction
On the other hand, if you don't particularly care about the historical data and there are no "member only" restrictions, then you might want to consider setting "Ability to Purchase" to "Open (Anyone)." Users won't be forced to log in and can checkout as guests.
With Ecommerce, members are incentivized to login when a product has special member pricing attached. Outside of that incentive, you'll want to consider whether the product should be "Purchasable By Non-Members." Unchecking that box will require members to log in to purchase. It will also ensure that you receive higher quality data.
Purchaser vs Attendee
The Purchaser is the customer on the transaction. You will see this person's name both in the attendee list and in Edit attendee modal, labeled as "Novi Guest: First Last".
The Attendee is the person who is actually registered for the event ticket. This name will only be collected on an event registration if it is include in the Ticket settings (in the "Attendee Form" section of the Edit Ticket modal). For this reason, we highly recommend making the Attendee field required, especially for tickets that are open to purchase by non-members.
The attendee and purchaser are different entities, so an update to the attendee name will not update the purchaser or the transaction.
- Guests are required to pay by credit card:
Guests are not able to be invoiced at checkout since there is not a specific customer record (outside of Novi Guest) to attach them to. When the guest pays with a credit card, Novi will create a sales receipt, which will be synced to QuickBooks. The only name that will be available for the admin to see (on the transaction) is the name that's entered on the credit card. Keep in mind, the name on the credit card may not be the purchaser or the attendee. For event registrations, we recommend requiring the attendee's name so you have more accurate data.
- Do not make edits to the Novi Guest record:
If your current settings allow guest checkouts for Ecommerce products or event registrations, and now you want to change the name on a transaction from "Novi Guest" to the customer's name... please DO NOT make changes to the Novi Guest record (in QuickBooks or Novi)! This exists because there has to be a customer name on all transactions in QuickBooks, so we created the Novi Guest record to represent all purchases/registrations that are submitted by non-logged in users.
- How to link an attendee record to a member record in Novi:
If you notice an event registration for an existing member is not linked to their Novi profile, the purchaser either typed the attendee's name and clicked save, but did not select the attendee's name from the drop-down. If you'd like to update their registration:
1. Open the registration (the "Edit Attendee" modal).
2. Delete the name from the Attendee Name field.
3. Start re-typing the name until the drop-down options are displayed.
4. Select the member from the drop-down list.
5. Click Save & Close.
Now the registration will show on the member record's Events tab. Also, their name will be a clickable link in the event's Attendee list.
To avoid this scenario, we recommend creating a member-only ticket to encourage member's to sign in before registering for an event.
Advanced: Options for Accounting Experts
- Making edits to the QuickBooks sales receipt:
Novi cannot change the name from Novi Guest to a customer's name on the sales receipt in QuickBooks once it has been deposited (which is usually within a day or two). QuickBooks will not give Novi access to change this, but if you are determined to change the name on the sales receipt and you're comfortable working in QuickBooks, follow these steps:
1. Find the deposit in QuickBooks.
2. Update the name on the Sales Receipt.
3. Recreate the deposit.
*Please Note: Novi does not recommend editing the sales receipt once it has been deposited! If you absolutely must, please be very careful not to make any mistakes.
- Creating an invoice and credit memo so the transaction shows on the member's record:
If you have an event registration or product purchase with "Novi Guest" as the name and you've decided it's important to connect it to a member record, there's a manual process you can follow to show the transaction on their profile in Novi:
1. Create an invoice in QuickBooks for the fee.
2. Create a credit memo in QuickBooks to show it's being paid.
3. Manually sync QuickBooks and Novi.