The Studio Director Makes Class Enrollment More Efficient for Musical Theater Academy

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It was not long after the pandemic started when Rozz Grigsby was left dealing with a complicated and time consuming enrollment process for the Lyric Theatre’s Thelma Gaylord Academy in Oklahoma City, OK.

The Thelma Gaylord Academy is the education department of the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, a large, professional regional theater house. Along with classes offered in acting, dance, voice, musical instruments and auditioning, the academy runs around a dozen large-scale musical theater productions per year. Furthermore, it offers all-day camps during the summer season, and the most recent semester saw 130 students enrolled.

The Lyric Theatre uses a CRM software program to manage things like ticket sales, development, donations, and its contact database. The one feature the CRM doesn’t include, though, is student enrollment. So the Thelma Gaylord Academy needed a second software program to manage admissions. At first, they used what was essentially an online survey form. Then they needed a credit card processor to run payments. In total, the musical theater academy was relying on three separate software programs to meet their business needs.

The theater’s IT expert at the time created a system that would allow all three software programs to communicate effectively, with the goal of the system operating seamlessly. However, when the only people who knew how to operate the system left the theater, Rozz was left trying to figure out how to run the built-from-scratch system. The Director of Education quickly realized a better solution was required. By the end of 2021, she made the switch to The Studio Director.

Unlimited Customer Support Shines with this Class Enrollment Software

In her quest to find a package of admissions software to handle the academy’s student enrollment, Rozz first looked at The Studio Director and another software program. However, Rozz had a personal connection with a local dance studio that uses The Studio Director. The fact that there was a local contact whom she could reach out to for guidance or quick tutorials significantly influenced her decision.

The availability of local support wasn’t the only reason that Rozz chose The Studio Director; it was also the dedicated customer service support she could get directly from the school management software.

Rozz highlights the importance of having a designated customer service representative to contact.

“That was really crucial in my decision making. I knew her name. I had her schedule. I just had to sign up on her schedule and we could get together for a phone call. It was really, really important.”

That support proved invaluable to Rozz in the academy’s switch to The Studio Director, especially in the first four to six months of using the program. She recalls encountering a couple of instances where she made mistakes, but the dedicated representative was readily available to assist her in resolving the issues. The representative was even able to access her account and rectify some of the errors.

“They were not super complicated problems, but things that I couldn’t figure out on my own. It was really nice to have a patient person,” Rozz says, adding that the representative also trained her assistant.

What impresses Rozz the most is that The Studio Director offers unlimited support as part of their service. In contrast, there are other services the academy utilizes where they are billed each time they require support. With The Studio Director, she no longer has to worry about the cost associated with seeking assistance or whether she should accumulate her questions to maximize her allotted time.

Simplifying the Enrollment Process Saves Days of Work

The most significant benefit The Studio Director has delivered to the Thelma Gaylord Academy is the simplification of numerous processes, resulting in substantial time savings for Rozz.

The primary feature she uses is online student enrollment. Prior to adopting The Studio Director, admitting a student was a three-step enrollment process. First, Rozz had to manually extract information from the class enrollment form filled out by the prospective student and input it into their respective class rosters in an Excel document. Then she would process their credit card information separately through the credit card processor. Finally, she’d enter the prospective student’s information into the software program used by the Lyric Theatre for their own recordkeeping. 

Not only was this a time-consuming task, all of the manual entries increased the likelihood of errors. Due to the lack of integration between the three programs, resolving mistakes was also more complicated. For instance, if she forgot to click a certain box in the credit card processor, it wouldn’t charge the student’s credit card, thereby preventing their enrollment in the class.

“Now I can just go to The Studio Director and not have to worry about anything else,” Rozz says. “I don’t have to worry about credit card processing, that all takes care of itself. The rosters are all right there.”

Currently, Rozz only needs to download the class rosters from The Studio Director once a year into an Excel sheet and send them to the Lyric Theatre, so they can add it to their program and maintain a complete contact database.

Rozz highlights that the theater house often requests various reports from her, and with The Studio Director, “it’s so much easier to cull that reporting information.” Rather than manually going through each student’s records to count the number of classes they were enrolled in or tallying the total number of students the academy had in a year, Rozz can now go to The Studio Director and “click three buttons and it’ll tell me everything I need to know.”

“What would have probably taken me four or five days and been full of mistakes, now I can do in a day and know that there aren’t those mistakes because it’s not complicated,” she says. “It’s simplified, so it’s easier to get it right.”

Students Have More Confidence in Programming with This School Management Software

Rozz also believes that switching to The Studio Director has had a positive impression on the academy’s prospective students. She says the old enrollment process used a signup form that had a generic appearance, giving the impression that it “came out of somebody’s office.” The lack of visual appeal didn’t provide much confidence for individuals to enter their credit card information. 

“I think the format of The Studio Director gives people a lot more confidence in our programming than they had before,” Rozz says.

The Studio Director also makes it easier to add or drop students. In the past when the admissions process was solely based on a form, Rozz had to manually track down payment details, including when, what, and how the students paid. With The Studio Director, managing “drops and refunds are so much easier now.”

Continuing Customization for Greater Efficiency for the Admissions Process

Although Rozz has already saved a significant amount of time with The Studio Director, she is aware she can increase her efficiency even further. One of her goals for the near future is to learn more about the features she has not yet implemented. 

“There’s a ton of how-to’s in The Studio Director, and the help menu is really great,” she says. “And if all else fails, I know I can also shoot an email and somebody will help me straighten it out right away.”

If there’s one thing she’d tell other musical theater academies interested in using The Studio Director, it’s that they can make it work to fit their exact needs.

“It’s so highly customizable,” she says. “You can always set it up for yourself to do exactly what you want it to do.”

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