Patron bashing—i.e. venting, ruminating, gossiping—might be the greatest failure when it comes to customer service and perhaps the greatest barrier to excellent customer service in libraries. It creates a toxic, negative environment that stunts innovation, wastes time, and waters down service. If that isn’t bad enough, patron bashing is a drain on our mental and organizational health.
Posts Tagged ‘customer service’
When it comes to making changes in the workplace, most of us already know to look for inspiration from other libraries and librarians, and even other nonprofit groups, but there is much to be learned from the for-profit world. If you’re looking to improve your statistics and create a new, vibrant environment, check out some corporate strategies and adapt them for your library. Adaptation is crucial—what was popular and worked well before may be passé and ineffective now, and a service or medium of communication that seemed like a passing fancy may be here to stay.
What would you do if an employee requested to use a service animal at work? The Manatee County Public Library System in Florida learned firsthand how to handle the situation when long time library staffer Terri Simon requested to bring her service dog, Mister, to work. Simon, who has a hearing impairment, relies on Mister to alert her to sounds of which she would otherwise be unaware. At work, this means notification beeps from the computer, patrons speaking to her when her back is turned, and other important sounds. These noises prompt Mister to rub against Simon’s leg to indicate there is something that needs her attention. Simon knew a service dog would improve her work performance, but it also brought novel challenges for the library.
I was working the desk toward the end of a Saturday afternoon and a large man (at least 6’4”) with a two-foot-long curly blue-black ponytail came up to me in some distress. Printing was not working for him and this was urgent. “It’s the playlist for my band’s gig tonight. I have to make it work!” Under his leather jacket he is perspiring, and he was quite agitated. Apparently he was lead in a KISS tribute band. I reassured him he would not leave the library without it, we got the print job to work, and then made the necessary copies. He wrapped me in a bear hug, nearly lifting me off the ground, and said “you saved my life. I’m Joey. Thank you–thank you so much.” Then he left.
If you’re looking for a place to read and share great library stories, Gina Sheridan has you covered with her Tumblr, I work at a public library.
I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about the traditional old reference interview. Yes, we seldom talk about reference practices and services anymore, even though we (mostly) agree that it is still a vital and fundamental library service.
How do you feel when greeted by a disgruntled employee in a store or restaurant? Probably not too excited to spend your money there, right? A recent article from Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business points out just how important it is to greet customers in the most upbeat, positive way possible.
24/7 – what does that make you think of? 7-Eleven? Taco Bell? Las Vegas? How about your local public library? Back in my college days, our university library would stay open all night for a few weeks around the end of the semester. This was to allow students extra time to study for exams (remember cramming?) and complete their research assignments. Well, now the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL) in Utah is proposing to stay open 24/7. Opening all hours is unprecedented, and as a result SLCPL has created a webpage to address their community’s questions and concerns – http://slcpl.org/24hours.
Low-Hanging Fruit: Learning How to Improve Customer Service, Staff Communication, and Job Satisfaction with Process Improvement
Process improvement has become an axiom in the business world recently. Discussions of process improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean have become commonplace in both business and public service board rooms. In 2014, the Pierce County (WA) Library System (PCLS) began conducting something of an experiment, working to discover if it is possible for a midsize public library without the resources of General Electric or Toyota to implement process improvement techniques in a real-world environment. We are, at present, about halfway through the work of our first process improvement team, but we’ve already begun to see exciting results.
Achieving excellent customer service requires a culture change in your library organization that is driven internally through the engagement and validation of staff. The complex subjects of behavior change and persuasion have been studied as far back as the ancient Greeks. Aristotle’s seven causes of human motivation conclude that insight alone does not produce behavior change. A person’s behavior will only change when that person’s beliefs change.
If anyone doubt that libraries respond to their communities in times of emergencies, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library remained the one calming and stable constant in this Missouri town’s tumultuous life as schools, businesses, and other government agencies closed after the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Stop giving patrons the runaround. Become a One Point of Service Library.
It has often been said that New York is the nucleus of the universe. It is the style-maker and idea generator for many and always has the pulse of the latest de rigueur movements in art, culture, and fashion. This fall, they decided to expand that into the world of libraries with the Brooklyn Public […]
It’s deceiving, the library world. After a recent tour of my public library, an individual stated, “I had no idea how much work you guys do.”
When challenged with serving New York City’s most linguistically diverse borough, the Queens Library in New York City has flourished instead and created a mosaic that celebrates the Queens community’s wonderful multiculturalism.