Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dear SFS Patron Services:

Dear Patron Services,

I had sent you (the email below) last weekend hoping that I'd get email on Monday.

I didn't, so I called the box office around noon and got the answer to my major question: I have to start from a particular URL in order to get the subscriber price for a choose-your-own subscription. Okay - maybe that information could go someplace in the depths of Tessitura.

I got home in the evening and found I'd gotten a phone call from someone offering to help me. The only information I needed was this:

To compose your own package, start at this URL and click the Continue button: http://www.sfsymphony.org/subscriptions/series/serieslist.aspx

I sent email because I wanted an email response. I'd appreciate it if you'd put something in my patron file saying "Do not phone unless a phone call is requested."

I see that your web site still doesn't reflect the fact that the box office isn't open on Saturdays all year round. This would be helpful for your patrons. For example:


San Francisco Symphony Box Office

(415) 864-6000

Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, noon-6pm; Sunday, 2 hours prior to concerts

So, just to let you know, I remain deeply frustrated by the compose-your-own experience. I just tried to order a subscription. I find that what I have to do is designate a section....and then you will pick my seats.

I want to be able to choose my own seats. I don't need and don't want to be in the same location for every concert. For a few, I REALLY REALLY want orchestra prime. For others, side seats are fine, or even Second Tier.

If I could go through the single-seat process and then get subscriber prices, that's what I'd want to do. (Remember, I'm trying to buy tickets to more than 20 concerts. Many or most will be in the orchestra.) Is this possible?? Can you set up Tessitura so that when someone gets to some number of seats ordered they get the subscriber prices? Or do I need to phone the box office (I hate doing these transactions on the phone) or visit in person? Which I cannot do before the box office is open on Saturdays?

Thanks very much -

-- Lisa
Lisa Hirsch


pjwv said...

Agree on all counts, especially the phoning and being able to see all available seats! I wish all performing arts groups would read this and learn.

Unknown said...

It does appear that the SFS has some communication issues that need to be addressed but I'm not sure I'm willing to excoriate the orchestra to the level of your angst with regard to choosing seats.

My guess is that most people who buy a series sit in the same seat for each concert; if the SFS allows people who buy subscriptions to pick and choose their location for each concert, then I think you've got a beef. Now, whether the orchestra should, as a policy, allow people to pick seats on a concert-by-concert basis when building a series or extend some sort of volume discount on individual ticket purchases is another matter altogether. Given that organizations desperately want to increase season-ticket sales, I would think they should.

Moreover, I'm not sure it's as unreasonable as you apparently think it is to use the telephone instead of the Internet for your specialized request. My guess is that you might have saved yourself a great deal of angst had you done so, and while I'm all for doing things online, a little voice-to-voice contact isn't necessarily as onerous as you make it sound.

BTW: Speaking of computer issues, I don't seem to be able to give you a name for this post.

Robert D. Thomas

Lisa Hirsch said...

Sure, if you buy a standard series, you get the same seat; if you go through their Compose-Your-Own process, you get the same seat.

Regarding using the phone:

25 concerts x 5 min = 125 minutes, or just over two hours. I can't vouch for the SFS box office. I do know that I personally haven't got that kind of patience. I would never make it through the process and, honestly - I can't take two hours out of my work day.

The 5 minutes/transaction is the time it would take per program for me to figure out the date and seat.