Arizona Opera

Director of Ticketing and Patron Services, 2008-2009


At Arizona Opera, I managed and directed all aspects of the company’s Box Office, Front-of-House and Customer Service.  I was also our database administrator for both Ticketmaster and Raiser’s Edge software suites.  I also created and produced nearly all major reports from both systems for our Seniors Directors.

Box Office and Customer Service Management

Arizona Opera relied upon the Box Office staff to generate over $3,000,000 each season in ticket sales.  I worked closely with my staff of 3 full-time and 2 part-time employees in Phoenix and Tucson to ensure the highest level of customer service were applied in a fast and efficient manner.

Some of the more major accomplishments I achieved include a complete review and overhaul of our ticketing processes to improve efficiency, and a collaborative system to ensure proper follow-ups with patrons requiring special care.

I also recognized and immediately fixed the fact that Arizona Opera had no capacity for patrons to reach a representative from the company via phone during the few hours prior to the performance.  I purchased a cell phone for the company, and created a call-forwarding feature from our main Box Office telephone line to the new cell phone for performance dates.

When building events for the upcoming seasons, I also took an innovative approach that yielded positive results.  I upgraded our system to utilize the more advanced Ticketmaster Event Submission Tool, which allowed us more control and flexibility while building events.  Using this system, I was able to implement master templates for our events resulting in a complete removal of all errors from previous seasons that required event rebuilds or resubmissions.  The time required for to build a new season was cut in approximately one-third and was entirely error-free.

Attention to Detail

During my time with Arizona Opera, I implemented our first complete review of the patrons’ ordering processes in over a decade.  Using this approach, I was able to identify and improve a significant number of moments during the transactions.

Symphony Hall Seating ChartsBecause of this review, we reduced the amount of time patrons spent on hold, improved data collection, clarified various aspects of our online ordering system, redesigned our ticket layout and streamlined the entire ordering process.

One visible example was the redesign of our seating charts available to the patron through the online ordering system.  Our previous charts represented inaccurate breaks between sections of the theatres and did not illustrate our tiered pricing levels.  The new charts matched our printed material and properly represented the true layout, including all available accessible and loge seating.  By clicking on the image to the left, you can view a full Before-and-After comparison of the seating charts.

Database Administration and Reporting

Arizona Opera had a unique patron databasing system divided into two halves: the marketing department utilized the Ticketmaster Classic system and the development department utilized Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge.  We hired a consultant to automate a reporting procedure that would export/import data from each system into the other to ensure everyone at the company was looking at accurate patron profiles.

Because of this dual-system, I was charged with creating and producing nearly all major reports for our Senior staff from both suites.

I was able to create concise daily reports that represented our daily and cumulative ticket sales/revenue for each performance, and compare that data with the previous season’s sales records.  I also provided the company, for the first time in their history, reports discussing the upcoming season’s presale data representing actual figures from each upcoming performance.

Venue and Vendor Liaison

As part of my Front-of-House and Box Office duties, I spearheaded efforts to review and optimize our relationships with our venues, vendors and software providers.

Arizona Opera rented Phoenix Symphony Hall for performances in Phoenix and Tucson Music Hall in Tucson.  Because each venue had different policies requiring slightly different approaches, my Front-of-House Associate and I developed a systematic and calendar-based approach to each venue that addressed our needs as well as those of the venue.  We were able to foresee and prevent many problems that occurred in the past, and react quickly and effectively to new issues as they arose.

Overall, the new system increased communication between our company and the venues, which resulted in much smoother events and an increased comfort level for everyone involved.  We approached our other vendors, such as concessionaires and parking facilities, with similar systems and met with positive results as well.

Volunteer Management

Like many non-profit organizations, volunteers were essential to the success of Arizona Opera.  Upon my arrival, I met with a shrinking database of willing volunteers and reversed that trend.

The first and foremost aspect of my approach to volunteerism is to ensure that each volunteer understands he or she is extremely appreciated by the company.  Prior to every performance, I made time to meet with and thank each person giving us their time on an individual and group basis.  I also organized and hosted the first Volunteer Appreciation event in the company’s history.  Detailed attention such as this created a surge in volunteer retention and caused many former volunteers to return after multiple seasons.