Epic fail on the #libday8 front as I only managed to blog about two of my days. My bad!
So moving swiftly on, I thought I’d share an insight into some recent training we organised with the staff of the English Faculty Library.
Andy and Libby are the editors of a forthcoming book that examines a boutique approach to libraries. During the writing process they realised that their own libraries could be better at providing a tailored service so decided to do something about it. Cue a ‘personalised customer service’ workshop organised by Andy and yours truly.
We started the morning off with a Would I lie to you? icebreaker. As all good icebreakers should, this gave us a chance to loosen up, have a laugh and learn a bit about each other. I learned that we’re mostly a good bunch of liars – I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing to admit publicly!
Once our screws were duly loosened, we watched some videos to help get our conversational juices flowing. One of which is…
(Ignore the poor quality – it’s worth it)
Obviously this is tongue-in-cheek, but the videos helped us to brainstorm what we feel constitutes excellent (and therefore also poor) customer service:
So, for us at any rate, excellent customer service is…
- Showing a genuine interest in helping our users find the information/data they need.
- Knowing our users – listening to what they want, when and how they want it.
- Being empathetic – realising that different people have different needs AND understanding these needs.
- Providing relevant and timely responses.
- Being flexible – it’s not all about the black and white. Sometimes it’s okay to be grey.
- Going the extra mile – providing that little extra when it’s possible.
- Providing alternative options – when you initially have to say no.
- Being personable – smiling, making eye contact, passing the time of day etc.
In contrast poor customer service happens when…
- Our responses/services are irrelevant.
- We don’t live up to the advertising – i.e. we don’t do what it says on the tin.
- We make assumptions about our users.
- We stick rigidly to the rules and act as ‘jobsworths’.
- Only saying “No!”
- We don’t pay attention – the ‘don’t ask me a question I’m way too busy’ pretence.
(I’m sure all of us are guilty of at least one of the above at one point in our careers!)
After individually scoring ourselves for the current level of customer service we provide (I gave us 7.5/10 – there’s always room for improvement and none for complacency ;0) we discussed what we could better and what we could implement immediately. Our team felt that we could be more approachable (and personable) so, from now on, we’re making a concerted effort to:
- Smile more.
- Make more eye contact with our students.
- Greet people as they enter the Information Centre.
- Walk about the Information Centre more (Andy reliably informs me this is known as doing a ‘sweep’ but I’d like to do more of a ‘sue’).
- Wear our name badges at all times (at work – there’s no need at home my husband knows who I am and my daughter can’t read yet).
I’m hoping that these small changes are seen positively and that we don’t come across as Stepford Librarians and freak everyone out. Although that could be fun.
The workshop was a great opportunity for us to reflect on our current practice and also to get an outsiders’ perspective. Having a discussion with colleagues from another library felt really refreshing and I, for one, would like to think that more workshops and training could be shared across Cambridge (and Oxford!) libraries. After all, we all face the same issues don’t we?