I signed up for this one in 2012…and finally watched the archive today.
What Would Walt Do? Quality customer service for libraries with Elena Rosenfeld (High Plains Library District), Crystal Schimpf (Community Tech Network), and Suzanne McGowan (Anythink)
At ALA in Anaheim in 2012, these three participated in a pre-conference with the Disney Institute on Disney Quality Service – or how Disney does customer service.
A guiding principle from Walt Disney (my Dec. 5 birthday buddy):
We have always tried to be guided by the basic idea that, in the discover of knowledge, there is great entertainment–as, conversely in all good entertainment there is always some grain of wisdom, humanity or enlightenment to be gained.
Using a story of a jazz band entertaining young listeners and encouraging them to dance along at New Orlean’s Square in Disneyland, the speaker posed the question, “Why didn’t each musician just play his part and be done with it? Why did their energy transform the crowd from music listeners to active participants?” The cast members were allowed to “infuse their work with their own personal purpose” and give the role their own, individual interpretation. They had the freedom to express themselves. So, how do WE empower library staff and define their purpose and support them as they contribute their unique value to the organization? Staff aren’t robots – to excel, they need to have genuine, authentic interactions.
At Disney everyone is responsible for quality service (and picking up trash…even the CEO). The right infrastructure (values, rules, and training) has to be in place to support taking responsibility. What are tasks that EVERYONE at the library can or should take responsibility for?
- shelving books
- straightening shelves,
- picking up trash
- pushing in chairs
- answering tech questions
We need to Understand Our Guests – know how visitors use the Library and understand their:
Needs | Wants | Stereotypes | Emotions
Needs – what brings them in? storytime, a book, an information need, the newspaper
Wants – but what do they ask for – what do they “really” want? A “Good” book, FAST internet, information about programs they were unaware of – Exceed what they need by fulfilling their wants.
Stereotypes – What are they? Shushing and quiet when in reality libraries are loud and active. How can we ensure visitors leave with NEW stereotypes?
Emotions – How do we create new emotional feelings (positive) about the Library and make the Library one of their favorite places?
Service Priorities – what are Disney’s?
- Safety | 2. Courtesy | 3. Show | 4. Efficiency
High Plains Library District operating principles – Guidelines of service used internally:
- Anticipate and meet community needs on a daily basis
- Serve every community
- Service delivery aligns with individual patron’s preference
- Patrons find what they need at first contact
- We continuously innovate
- We never say No
Staff are empowered to explore options, under these guidelines, to find “WINS” for everyone.
High Plains Decision Making Tools – based on the Disney Service Priorities:
- People leave on a good note – visitors leave having had a slightly better day. If someone is asked to leave the library because safety was jeopardized, then it falls within this model. Safety comes first.
- Minimize hand-offs – I took this to mean encourage cross training, so everyone from the Page to the Reference librarian can help with commonly asked questions and requests.
Supporting Service Priorities through People, Place and Process.
- Safety involves the place – dangers shelves? loose tiles? and it involves people – walkthroughs, awareness, and process – customer conduct policies, money handling procedures, incident reports, collaboration with the police.
- We discussed the conflict between having Happy Patrons and Policy Enforcement –
- Evaluate the policy
- Find when you have to say NO and see if the policy OR the procedure need to be changed.
- Eliminate “I don’t know.”
- Focus on what staff CAN DO for patrons – if it’s policy, work with it and explain it…if it’s procedure, is there the flex and empowerment to negotiate?
- Find Shared Wins
Part 3: When is the 7 pm light show?
What are the commonly asked questions – the “when is the 7 pm light show?” questions – that are more complex than they first appear.
The speaker shared a story about when she asked that exact question herself at Disney and that what she really wanted to know was: where should I stand to watch the show? what time should we come to get a good spot? and what else do I need to know to have a good experience?
Who was the staff person at Disney who answered her question, and all the other questions she didn’t ask? A custodian…
So, what obvious questions do we get at the library?
Hours | restrooms | events | kids room | do I need a library card to check out books
When the answer to any question is ‘no’ – even if you don’t use the word…does your body language convey “you just asked a really stupid question”?? The Answer must NOT be obvious to the customer of they wouldn’t have asked.
Respond with authenticity, not scripts. The speaker shared her story about waiting in line at California adventure to get a special handshake from a character and how the experience was genuine, authentic, and meaningful to her and her daughter…even though the cast member had done this 1,000 times a day. As a mom, she learned patience. As a librarian, she thought about how to ensure authenticity and ‘freshness’ at the library.
- Every customer is new to the library – treat them each as a special guest
- Add authenticity with new displays, moving furniture, merchandising the collection – shake things up!
- Be positive and give praise
- Use humor
- Be present
- Smile and, if appropriate, make eye contact
Provide SIMPLE GUIDELINES for staff to ensure success of the team – simple and consistent.
Start with a smile, end with a Thank You
Can you teach customer service or is it impossible to train? May come naturally or be instinctual to some, but many argued it can be taught. Provide staff with the Values, then they can learn skills that support those values. Make sure the staff understand the “why” behind the values.
- Active listening
- Share ownership of the effort – cultivate mini-relationships
- Be in the moment with that person
Management’s Role: Set example, set expectations – practice positive internal customer service.
Follow the Golden Rule and be Positive
How do we manage so-so employees? Disney has an intensive interview process where the expectations for positive customer service are laid out…and candidates are given time to think about them and decide if they are willing to uphold them. The Team as a whole needs to work together for a positive experience. For some people, the library may not be the best place for them to work…
Internal Customer Service – (Found this great post related to the topic). Encourage risk taking – understand that we can’t always be perfect and encourage humor in the workplace. Make other people look good (and hire people who like to mentor).
Combat Compassion Fatigue – (Found this Webinar on it in WebJunction on Understanding Compassion Fatigue in Libraries)
- Support one another
- laugh and have fun
- Rotate responsibilities
- Shift flexibility – work with the types/lengths of shifts
- Roving staff at Anythink – spend time in many areas, helping many different kinds of patrons
- Avoid ‘blaming’ culture
- Focus on the positive to prevent the negative