MPLA: Customer Service

Theresa Dickson again – Customer Service, how to have a nice day yourself.

What product do we sell to those who use the library?  Books, Internet, Research, a Service – which is just a Relationship.  That relationship is what we sell. Download stations, shelf-checks, mail service, bookmobiles.

Library is the Community’s Living Room – with fire places, chairs, newspapers – enhancing and building relationships with people in ‘our house’ is OUR JOB.

Unconditional Positive Regard – Customer needs to believe that we think the BEST of them.

Who are we serving?

  • Population, median income, size of library, children to adult percentage, fiction to non-fiction collection size and circulation.
  • Taking a loss with non-fiction, so make sure they’re pertinent and will last awhile.
  • Librarians are the original hoarders…
  • Community living room demands more room for lounging, sprawling, and enjoying the space.  Space for people, more than books.

Keys/Elements of Customer Service:

  • Commitment to patrons, co-workers, and library’s mission (great story about baby-name books getting stolen as much as witchcraft books…gonna pat-down the preggo ladies?)
  • Placement of the right people in the right jobs (sweep out the dust bunnies), ranking duties according to what’s needed for the job (find the folks who hide out in tasks) and getting out of the wrong jobs
  • Training on the understanding of the reasons libraries exist and it’s ongoing and continuous
  • Measurements with self-evaluation and feedback from customers.  Share this month, this month last year and this month five years ago statistics.Study how long it takes to get helped, get a book, etc.
  • Incentives by making it fun, special events, and public involvement – Big read in Oklahoma with The Things They Carried with displays of veteran memorabilia (including some homeless vets) and veteran recognition – GREAT book.

Customer Service Policies

  • Who’s it for? (dated, but examples in handouts).
  • Key phrases:
    • acknowledged appropriately, courteous and respectful, value for input, prompt and timely, privacy and confidentiality, responsive and community-oriented, provided by anyone, quality facility & collections
    • ‘err on the side of service,’ ‘use your good judgment,’ ‘have it your way,’ bumper sticker customer service policies!
    • Service provided by anyone working in the library – don’t pass them off to someone else!!!!  “I’m not on shift, yet.”  “Go to that desk, not this one.”
    • Smiling, upright, express interest and concern
    • “Bodies should be upright, not slumping and faces should be smiling not frowning and voices should express interest and concern not boredom or anger and memos should be polite and well written, not abrupt and filled with typos.”
    • A customer is the purpose of our work, not an interruption
    • positive operating procedures – be punctual, full service during working hours, be jargon-free, try not to point (cultural differences), keep conversations with other staff out of public spaces, desk takes precedence over phone, where you park – not in the customer’s spot…
  • Easy to spot the “No” Libraries – signs like “turn around to make sure you flushed the toilet” – don’t they make you feel welcome?  “God only knows what will happen if you let customers come in an enjoy themselves.”
  • Who gets to make it and enforce it?
    • Everyone
    • Figure out how to evaluate it.
    • It’s not a hospital, it’s a library.  Nobody dies.  Quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.  This is suppose to be fun!
    • Don’t pretend like you don’t know what poor customer service looks like.
    • Don’t upset customers – easiest way to deal with them… 😉
    • Handout Page 13 – guidelines for upset customers
  • Nonverbal Communication Checklist – page 15
    • T stance, keep head upright, be aware of your head nodding yes OR now, shoulder-out shows disengagement
    • Watch your eyes – don’t stare
    • Watch your hands  – keep them to your side, not the ‘fig leaf’
  • Most policies are for the staff, not the customers!

Platinum Rule : Do Unto Others As They Want You To Do

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