PLA 2018: Great Expectations

Great Expectations – Customer Service and the Future of Libraries

Positive memorable experiences – Customer experience is key.

Comply with customer or follow policy without exception – need organizational definition.  Need a definition and then develop tools and training needed to provide that service. Goal: We will provide library internal and external customers with an exceptional, personalized and consistent service experience.  Vetted by staff and incorporated their ideas and experiences.

GET HANDOUT and Review recorded webinar < web site

Front line staff see it as a playbook – expectations | Supervisor – tool to help encourage underperforming staff (observable, trainable and coachable – behaviors we want them to model) | Director – Common language and framework for both internal and external customers

Customer service behaviors 101 – nothing new, but does the organization provide it consistently throughout the library?

Great Expectations are aspirational – challenge to find something to improve upon

Great Expectations: (sample of her 3 hour class)

  • Make everyone feel welcome – inclusion, accessibility, easiest to grasp, set tone for entire customer journey.  Project a friendly and approachable demeanor with body language and non-verbal cues.Lean in, open body language, etc. Scan the area around you periodically. If you don’t do this “I’m too busy, don’t bother me.” Can’t have good external without good internal. Treat all customers fairly – Libraries are for everyone – reflect community and world at large. Give every customer the same enthusiasm – genuine and sincere. Be consistent from one customer to the next. Does everyone feel welcome, even the grumpy ones?
  • Anticipate customer needs – helping to create a seamless experience by eliminating barriers. Say WOW that was easy. Reduce customer effort whenever possible – anticipate questions and go over things in advance. Do a quick account review to see if card is close to renewal or any fines or holds, upcoming due dates – inform them. Proactively look for unique customer service opportunities – Self-check – pull person out of line and check in books. Anticipate the next logical step in the customer’s journey.
  • Radiate confidence – Earns customer trust. Training gaps, but staff are more knowledgeable than they think they are!  Ability to FIND the answers, even if you don’t know the answer itself. Confidently share knowledge and expertise – Example overdrive – jump in and help. “Use your professional judgement.”  Keep up to date on knowledge of tools, products, services, and collection – New interfaces need training – new events, new items, changes to be aware of and have a grasp of what is happening around them. Staff needs = new training strategies.
  • Inspire curiosity – Introduce customers to their next favorite thing. Creative cleverness in displays. Positively suggest resources customer may not be familiar with – Customer gets their notion of products and services from the staff member who first introduces them to it. eBooks – become proficient so you can excite the customer about the new options and formats. Empower the customer with knowledge – teach and explain, walk them through, show them where to find the info they need. Readalikes – show customer Fan Fiction or novelist.  End each session with “If you didn’t get all that, don’t worry..I’ll help you every time.” Humans are information seekers and we want to figure things out. Inspire customer brains.
  • Creatively solve problems – Pursue the reconciliation of the relationship, not just the resolution of the issue. Look for offsetting consideration for the disappointment. Make an exception, split the fines, Be flexible but consistent in approach to resolving problems. H.E.A.T. – Tool for staff from Disney. Need a method. Hear them Out (listen). Empathize. Apologize and Thank them for their time and patience. need to recover from a service failure.
  • Own the moment – When customers aren’t interacting with us, they’re working through our phone system, our building, our branding. Example: Page puts a book back incorrectly.  Customer journey from parking lot and everything they do in the library or online. All of our roles throughout the journey. Complete every task with the customer’s experience in mind. Staff behind the scenes.  Take each opportunity to make a positive experience. Your 15th card is the patron’s very first – especially with kids. Transform transactions to interactions with the patrons.
  • Personalize the experience – Get an emotional response in the customer that makes them fiercely loyal.  Very Individual Person (VIP). Gauge customer reactions and respond accordingly. Visual cues – looking for signage or us. Recognize repeat customers with friendly acknowledgment – Repeat customers – use professional judgment to decide level of interaction and level of service. Be mindful – consistent customer service.
  • Act with integrity – Reliable and accurate information. Privacy! Confidentiality! New to staff who don’t know libraries. Use appropriate resources to give accurate information – know digital collection!  Power Library. Know the source. Consumer Reports for example. Respect the privacy of customers as well as coworkers.  “Mr. Peters and Fifty Shades of Embarrassment” If they lower their voice or give you note, respond in kind and gauge that by being in the moment. Walk them to the shelves to speak with them quietly. Circle back or let them know where you are so they don’t have to talk to another staffer.
Focus on the behavior you want – demonstrate the expectations.  Come back with notes and photographs to identify the expectation and behavior.
Keep it staff informed with real-life examples
Keep both internal and external focus
Conduct follow up meetings – Managers, work with staff to identify what is working and what is more difficult – training gaps
Good customer service is the result of intentional over time.
Implementation Process
New habit, needed feedback and follow up meetings. Developing a shared vocabulary. Could talk about failures and successes that could be replicated.
Cute graphics and puns helped
“Roll” model awards on the spot awards
Ongoing efforts – recruitments and staff training adjusts to fit audience. Working on peer recognition plan.
Supervisor tool kit under development with committee input. Lots of communication.

PLA 2018: Coach Your Team to Greatness!

Friday, March 22 at 2 pm | Maggie Snow and Stacey Hendren from Anoka County Library

50% of employees who leave, site their manager as the reason they quit.   How comfortable is an employee going to their manager with any type of question – gauge of job satisfaction.

With coaching, you can actively engage your employees and move forward.

County transitioned to a coaching model.

Handouts: Work Outcomes (.doc) |

Effectiveness & Success – people want to feel valued and know they are making a difference in their job. Coaching fosters great harmony between management and staff. Regular coaching brings focus back to goals. Gets to heart of things before they escalate.  (Wow – wish I could have worked in a system with supervisor training and mentoring opportunities – down-side of going directly from library school into a Director position).

Blah-blah about the history of the process. Created new work outcome statements based on a mass of post-its about what everyone does – helped with staff buy-in. Boiled down to categories and found some that apply to everyone from janitor to Director. Expectations of everyone in every position. Bottom up – people who do the job said what they do.  Coaching training provided for all supervisors. 

Coaching: Collaborative initiative where supervisors guides and prompts forward movement. Inquiry and open-ended question asking that encourages people to reflect and take self-guided action. Engage employees, accelerate growth in high achievers. (Lisa Gates training) Actively engaged employees show passion for work. Coaching supports all types. Allows supervisor to identify needs and skill level of staff. Skill v. Challenge. Flow is complete emersion and peak performance. Otherwise, you are anxious or bored. Bored folks look elsewhere. Anxious people are unhappy. Communication and open-ended questions get staff into the flow channel.

corrective and positive feedback – Corrective address and identify situations quickly and describe behavior and shared responsibility for behavior. Expectations – where not being met.  Express continued trust and support of person. Describe specific behavior and the results and impact. Discuss the importance – value, making a difference and express gratitude. Private or public? Frequency – individual supervisor meetings. Prepare for discussion, have examples and action items. Train and share skills and be confidential. Mentoring along with supervising and keep boundaries between the relationship. 

How often do you discuss goals and performance with those you supervise?  Monthly? Weekly? annual? 

How to Coach: 

Set goals at the annual review. meaningful goals that align with interests, strengths and goals.  Annual meeting means the goals are forgotten about. Coaching method delves deeper – why is learning about ebooks important? How are you going to do that? What are you going to do with that knowledge? Measure? know impact? 

Coaching a reminder and check-in on goals (quarterly). If you haven’t had the time, supervisor can help make the time or help them with skills or coaching/teaching. Grow method – goal, realities, options, will – realistic goal? applicable? options – how refine? will – is this something you really want to learn or care about and want to do? Will unlocks actions, accountabilities and roadblocks. What is causing you to struggle with this goal?  “Because I hate it and don’t know why I wrote it down.”

SMART goal – Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely goals. 

Develop a schedule – meet once a month or 5 minute check in – How are you doing, what are you challenges, do you need support from me. Quarterly meet in the office for an hour – no rules for how much or how often, as long as it’s more than once a year. 

Prepare with corrective and positive feedback. Prepare open ended questions. “What has been the best part of your week?”  

Coach – coaching worksheets with topics for discussion (handouts section). Look back at job description. Get updates on training quarterly to make sure training is appropriate and helpful. Updates on progress – Know what folks are working on and help create projects and give support. 

Discussion of ideas and challenges.  Updates on teamwork to get broader perspective as supervisor. Follow-up after coaching session. Supervisor notes throughout the quarter for each staff member. 

Talking individually with staff and supporting their development. Provide support and feedback necessary to keep staff actively engaged. 

Differences in who is supervised – Start with a self-reflection. How do you communicate and like to be communicated to? Talk along same channels. Director supervises upper level management – touch base and get out the way. 

Continuous Improvement – Learn from each other. Take 5 minutes to write down a paragraph of what you talked about (performance review done!) Library system talks about communications and communication plan. Douglas county presented on a communication plan. (PLA 2 years ago). Email sent out on Thursdays. Sharepoint, etc. Staff know who we will communicate with them and cuts down on gossip. Follow the chain of command to find the correct answer. preferred method of communication – in person or email? Make it known and use it. Community development program – facilitation training from university extension service. Rewarding – helps with coaching, teams, community conversations.  Public services team – 10 minutes for training at meeting and supervisor training through county (cohorts). 

Coaching methods improved leadership skills and improved communication and gained personal satisfaction and self-knowledge. 

Staff need to operate effectively and with integrity and coaching helps make that happen. 

Talk about what the staff member is passionate about – ex. art degree. Assist with displays, give ideas for design. Actively engaged by using her passion throughout the building. 

Bite-size management training – example? Opioid training on what it is, what’s going on in the county, and possibilities for library and then discussion. Sexual harassment in libraries – questions sent prior to the training! 

How have you changed appraisal process? Just added. Still once a year form completed and given to HR. Just more documentation and meetings. Work outcome statements included in document. 

ON PLA web site – handouts available.

  • How do you go from complaints to constructive?  Script out what you want to talk about and stop them and get back to the script. That happened, how can we make it better and what did you learn?  Get back to the open ended questions from the form to redirect the discussion. Acknowledge the problem what is our shared responsibility. (Growth mindset session – look into that).
  • Resources to help? training, coaching and developing training. strategic thinking and emotional intelligent. Drive by Daniel Pink. Leaders eat last by Sinek, Simon. 
  •  How do you coach managers? Open ended questions can go from the employee to the manager!  Push the manager to give you what you need as the employee. Have a conversation with managers about job descriptions. Coach managers on this process. This is what we are going to do, here is the training, and create this as an expectation of the managers. Why – I’ll provide training to make it happen. 
  • Diverse community coaching – Communication piece. Focus on the individual and their strengths and issues. 
  • What do you with the data from the sessions? Communication piece again, how does the supervisor prefer to be contacted – are you burying your request in their inbox because they hate email? Believe the person you are working with is not out to get you. Not intentional – how do they best respond and want you to communicate with them.  How you best want me to follow up with you? 
  • Challenge others to pay attention to community and libraries. What are you going to learn to drive our library forward!  Become an expert on something. Personal and professional goals. Do strategic thinking about what you want to do – personal, branch, system goals.  Brand new v. journeyman.  Different experience level = different flow = different coaching.  What can you teach or mentor to others, as a journeyman? Turn expertise into a benefit to the rest of staff. 
  • How do you pull back-end staff into this process and strategic plan. Increase access to information, ideas, and stories – Web site, new products, usability, MLA, metadata, RDA, align organization to new techniques.  Sit on committees statewide. 
  • confidence needed as a new managers – fake it till you make it. Build a strong relationship with your supervisor – always complain up, vent up. Find an accountability partner to bounce ideas off of. Confidentiality with and talk with them about the issue. When performance is lacking, the rest of the staff all know it and look to you to do something about it. Deal with it directly, so staff trusts you and maintain your integrity. Script it out, read through it, and stick with the script. Roll playing for hard conversations. Acknowledge that you don’t know it all. 
  •,us (call)
  • Stacey Hendren – (email)

PLA 2018: Beyond the turnstile…

Beyond the turnstile…

IMLS Research project – better ways to assess efforts, especially for people who prefer to talk. Program evaluation…
National stats gathered about library programs:
# of programs, # of programs for youth, # of library users who attend programs
Q 1. Describe a program or service (1) designed to meet the information needs of library users who prefer to talk when interacting with information and (2) involves your library working with partner.
Free Library of Philadelphia – ESL, interpersonal, in branch with greatest linguistic diversity.  Walked the street to gather interest.  Volunteer instruction while walking the business district – recommendation. 12 participants with 6 languages in the class!  Would hang out after class and formed a bond. 12 week class, then graduated to community college (followed instructor).
Find a cooperative partner willing to give 50/50 effort. Clear roles and responsibilities. Cross pollinate ideas, but also benefits business nonprofits in the neighborhood. Easier to work with ‘small fish.’
Outcomes: Wanted to expand class to evening and expand reach into another zip code. Process – teacher gave entrance assessment & exit to see improvement.  (Project Outcome)  Assessment?  Staff assessed comfort level of participants – brought children in, got to know others in community, employment on corridor, etc. Polling place, tell stories to staff of how they were empowered. “reach back into the community by connecting others with library.”
Seattle – 2018 Literacy collection outreach project. Don’t want to check out materials b/c of fear of fines, so purchased 500 items that were handed out at programs for home use. Somalia family safety task force as partner. Powerful director of the organization – expanded from computer classes to discussions and increasing literacy skills and dynamic partner helps spread the word. Took materials to computer classes and to local events. Required patience and grace to work with nontraditional organization (non-white). Cultural differences. Evals: Outcomes based eval. Determine outcomes built with cooperative organization. Some of the libraries outcomes had to come off the table to work with the group.  Assessment? What is the change in the lives of the people participating? Computer language classes were women only and they felt more confident in basic communication outside community. Talk with teachers as needed. Could talk more confidently with kids about schoolwork in English. Some felt ready to pursue work outside their community!  Airport, for example. Word of mouth and requests for new partnerships.
Cleveland – Collect in 45 languages at the library, but users felt uncomfortable. Who to ask, not sure what to do.  Videos in spanish/arabic, etc. More accessible – quick hits of information (library card, programs, etc.) Legal clinics asked about, so will make more videos to address need. Legal Aid Clinic partners – throwing money at a project was their an ROI? Did we really help our community? Took a slower approach. 1 clinic to start. 10-14 lawyers came to library (paid) and had people waiting outside the door. Mortgage/rental law issues. Built it. 5th year of program. 30 clients – 2.5 hours a piece. Successful for city and library.  Assessment? Neighborhoods keep score!  Other places were contacting outreach department to request the program. Lines waiting outside show value! Outcome measures: continued growth.
Best practices for serving populations in the margins. IMLS grant study. Assessment models used bubbled to the surface:
Interactions and relationships
Changes in lives
Other branches contacting us?
Numbers sometime still work
1. It takes a village – Partnering with other organizations – Are people bringing friends? Furthering education in area (community college)?
@. Safety-net model – Focus on objectives and leveraging resources.  Show how library helps others in community to hold the safety net. “Since we started, have you noticed change in your clientele?” Example: Legal aid saw smarter clientele attending library events
#. Changing the Conversation – If library needs to be held accountable for larger phenomena. Program on teen sex abuse – research showed a need and even though 0 attended first event, all brochures placed around library disappeared. Excited to offer program again. More reference inquiries about topic?
How did you follow-up with participants?
Christina – 6-month follow up and she’d go see them and ask how program impacted the person in the business district. Personal connection.
What outcomes? Did you use Project Outcome? No, designed out outcomes.