"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of
taste, swim with the current.”
Thomas Jefferson
The unwavering principle of public libraries is to offer
information and civic space freely to help people become
good citizens, reach their goals, or pursue their interests.
But the techniques we use to guarantee that this principle
lives on will have to change to match the predispositions of
this new generation.
Customer Service in a SelfCheck World
Summer-Fall 2007
Instructor: Cheryl Gould
[email protected]
Overview
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New customer expectations
OCLC perceptions of libraries report
Support self-sufficient users
What we learn from Envirosell
Technology and customer service
What can you change now?
All Customers
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Want to feel welcomed and respected
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Want to be successful
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Want what they want when they want it
People These Days Are…
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Time-challenged
On information overload
Always learning
Have expectations of 24/7 service
Suffer from compassion fatigue
Format agnostic
Who’s Your Customer?
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More ends of the spectrum
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tech-savvy users
low-literacy users
Older adults
Spanish speakers
Those who need access to government
Those new to your area
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16.7% of population move each year
You Only Get One Chance to Make a
Good First Impression!
8 seconds for first impression
4 minutes to decide if they like you
15 minutes to confirm or deny their decision
The New Customer
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Self-directed
 navigates independently
 wants to do straightforward tasks without assistance
Want help:
 at the point of need
 with complex tasks
Culturally-linguistically-generationally diverse
Expect convenience
Tech-savvy customers expect
 to have Internet options
 to get recommendations from peers
 to participate
Solutions to Meet Needs of New
Customer Expectations
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Empower users to self serve
Prepare before people come in
Teach
Merchandise
Use your website
OCLC Perceptions of Libraries
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www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm
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3,300 responses from information consumers
in US, Australia, Canada, India, Singapore,
and UK
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Figure out what the libraries “brand” is in the
eyes of civilians
Libraries Are Valued
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75% have library privileges
55% use public libraries several times a year or
more
Adult use of libraries slight decline last few years
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expect slight adult increase in the next few years
Increased usage by 14- to 24-year-olds
40% of college students use public library
regularly
People Prefer to Try On Their Own
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All users combined
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65% never ask for help at the library
35% ask for help at the library
Those who do ask value the librarian
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76% who seek help go to the reference desk
77% who get help believe librarians add value to
the research process
Where Do They Go for Info?
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Most trusted source of info for people is a
trusted friend or colleague
Search engines are preferred sources of
information
The library never ranks higher then fifth in
surveys of where to go for info
What Do We Learn From
OCLC Report?
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65% of library users borrow books
Reference desk not most important
People unaware of electronic resources
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58% not aware of online databases
33% don’t know about library website
Find ways to get material to people
People prefer to self-serve
The Library Brand
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70% say “books”
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It’s not the librarian
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Free choice learning
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No one else does this well, we need to own it
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A place to participate with the community
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Friendly and competent service
Service Can Be One of the
Libraries Competitive Advantages
Americans say that the way they are treated by
business and customer service employees is
frequently exasperating, and sometimes even
insulting. Too many workers, they complain, are
careless, apathetic, and unhelpful. Almost half of those
surveyed say that they have walked out of a business
specifically because of bad service, and the number is
even higher among affluent Americans.
 from Publicagenda.org website
Accentuate the Positive?
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No cell phones
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Out of Order
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Closed
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No food or drink
Quiet Please
Children only
Please do not reshelve
Donation vs Fine
Extended use vs overdue
Express check
Others?
Creating Self-Sufficient
Customers
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Set up the physical environment
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Teach for future visits
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Use your website
Prepare to Serve
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Observe current behavior
Set up the environment so basic questions are
answered
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signage, architecture
pathways with rugs, location of shelves, color
self-serve options identified
most used product/service easy to find
Make routine transactions independent
Cross train staff
Routine Transactions
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Self-checkout
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Self-return
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must be located near help
there is some evidence that controversial topics circulate
more with self-check
get immediate receipt for return
get more items faster
Place and pick-up holds
Self-service library card registration
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user keys in info for new library card
at one Contra Costa branch 70% of library cards at new
library issued this way
Success of Self-check Depends
on…
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Staffing
New, flexible roles for ref and circ staff
Location of machines and available staff
Training
Self-check works when it’s clearly
the best option for the customer.
Self-Serve Gives Staff Time to…
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Greet
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Merchandise
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Reshelve books
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Help new or confused users
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Spend more time on individual solutions
Makes your work more
interesting and less repetitive!
Empower for Future Needs
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Do not magically find and give an answer
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Offer to help them learn
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Tell them about other resources
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don’t overwhelm
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Teach them to search the catalog
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Promote remote access via website
Teach, Not Do
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Share your “expert” strategy
Explain what you’re doing
Let them see what you’re doing
Let them “drive”
No jargon
What Complicated Services Do You Offer That
People Commonly Ask For Help With?
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Search your catalog for books on CD
Downloadable audio
E-books
Find and use a popular database
What is Readers Advisory and how to get it
Better results with Google
How to print from the web with YOUR print
management system
What Do You Do to Make New
Users Comfortable?
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New user pamphlet
Audio tour downloadable to IPOD
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for physical building
for website
Map of library
Color code signs or parts of library
New user scavenger hunt
What Role Can Technology and your
Website Play in Customer Service?
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Wireless Internet access
Remote reference
RSS feeds
Catalogs with
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book images
tagging
public recommendations
Offer Wireless Internet Access
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Saves the library money – don’t need as
many PC’s
Shouldn’t require a login
Know where and how it works
Want to attract this audience
Remote Reference
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Instant messaging
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stay-at-home moms are biggest growth area
Email reference
Text messaging
Chat
Use RSS Feeds for Instant
Notification
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New books
News at the library
New content in subscription databases
New podcasts or vidcasts
www.hclibrary.org/services/rss.php for good
FAQ and list of feeds
Self Serve via Your Website
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Remote access to customer account
Remote access to databases
Ability to search the catalog and place holds
E-books
E-card that you can apply for online that allows
access to e-resources
Email notices of books due soon or reserves
available
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www.libraryelf.com/Demo.aspx
Readers Advisory
Each generation of library users has changed
the library in one way or another:
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50 years ago, there were no romance novels in
the library
20 years ago, there were no movies in the library
10 years ago, there was no email in the library
The Millennial’s have contributed “gaming”
Jenny Levine
Patron 2.0 is not just a content
consumer but is a content creator
Use Web 2.0 to Serve Customers
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Create recommender services
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Be on myspace,flickr, youtube, and wikipedia
Podcasts
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like Amazon or Netflix
staff to public
public to public
use blogs and wikis
Audio book reviews, library tour
Vidcast
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Storytime, author visits
Examples of Good Customer
Service via a Library Website
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www.queenslibrary.org/
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Aquabrowser
User centric tabs
Personalize with “My Queens Library”
Multiple languages available from top left
Moving image
Lots of graphics/photos
Events
Books
 Queens Library Recommends and Most Popular
Examples of Library Websites
Using 2.0
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www.aadl.org/catalog
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Tagging
Customer reviews
Blogs w/option to comment
Rss feeds
Fines payment history
Patron-initiated ILL
Offering New Services
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Technology needs to…
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be easy to use
be reliable
have consistent procedures
Staff needs to:
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be trained to use the technology
have time to use it
be able to train the public
Pierce County Institutes SelfCheck
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Five remodeled branches
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Average circulation is about 70% ExpressCheck
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Customer surveys show a 90% approval rating of the new service
model
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Staff have fewer health-related problems caused by repetitive tasks
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At any given time, one to two additional staff people are available
on the floor
www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6400918.html
New Roles for Staff
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Empower users to self-serve
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Cross train staff to answer routine questions
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common catalog questions
directional questions
Keep learning
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“you can do it, we can help”
participate in blogs/wikis
All staff teach
The Science of Shopping
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The decompression zone
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People go right
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Signs
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Product placement
The Decompression Zone
When you enter the building
 Change in light
 Moving quickly
 No decisions for 10-15 feet
 I’m on a mission, wait until I’m finished
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People Tend to Look and
Go to the Right
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Use space accordingly
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customer service
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important information
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welcoming first impression
Signs
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Before you place a sign ask: what will
shoppers be doing here?
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moving fast?
waiting?
browsing?
Use consistency, color, and placement
Each zone is right for one kind of message
and wrong for another
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type size and design relate to audience
Product Placement
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Merchandise for intended audience
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shelf height
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what is their eye level?
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what is their reach?
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do they need better lighting?
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are they likely to ask for help ?
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Space to move around
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If people stop, will it create a traffic jam?
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Use adjacencies
What Do We Mean By
Merchandise?
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Face out
Make stuff people want easy to get
 popular parts of collection
 parts of collection not known but related to local community
or current event or time of year
Use book trucks
 leave out the returns on book trucks?
 Moveable collections
Staff picks
Rotate for time of day
Like a physical pathfinder or a form of
pro-active readers advisory
The Science of Shopping
Teaches Us
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Change the Decompression Zone
Make connections between spaces
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Make each zone serve its customer
Use places where people stop
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use adjacency, color, signs
promote services on bathroom wall or where people wait
Add pushcarts or baskets
Change windows regularly
Envirosell/San Jose/Hayward PL
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Research objectives:
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to explore dynamics of visitor behavior
to measure visitor actions at touch points
to generate information on how urban public
libraries in California can better serve and
educate their visitors, thereby creating a more
satisfying library visit
Envirosell at San jose and
Hayward
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3 libraries studied – 2 weekdays each
350 hours of videotape
269 patrons tracked and timed
240 patrons were talked to as they exited the
library
About Library Visitors
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70% were frequent visitors
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37% stayed for 21-30 minutes
People visited 3 sections of the library
Avg # of items checked out was 5
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Slightly more books than other media
15% noticed signs
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more then once a week)
directional, collateral and book covers viewed most
15% were assisted by staff
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avg of 3:44 minutes
satisfaction with assistance was exceptionally high!
Top Level Conclusions
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The needs of library patrons are evolving.
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Libraries are local.
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Different “shopping” interests emerged among ethnic groups, demonstrating
that services and fixtures can not be uniform, even across libraries in a
single region.
Hispanic visitors need help using the libraries.
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Highlight community members’ achievements
Tie programming into this effort
Future library designs should take ethnicity into account, rather
than age or gender.
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Internet usage, media browsing, customers prefer to navigate independently
for less complex tasks
Socializing in groups, especially at computers
Teach these visitors how to use the library.
Encourage outgoing behaviors among librarians and library staff.
Enivorosell Recommends
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Encourage library staff and librarians to proactively approach patrons.
Try to get staff out from behind desks.
Encourage librarians to be more inquisitive with patrons about their
needs.
Offer new users an informal introduction to the library or formal tours.
After ensuring that basic needs of newer users are met, teach these
patrons, especially Hispanics, about what other services are offered by
the library.
Services that are familiar to long-time library users might not be known
to new users.
Create suggested Reading Lists with excerpts or brief descriptions of
each book
Provide copies of all services in multiple languages
A take-home manual or welcome booklet in multiple languages might
alleviate confusion or assist patrons who are reluctant to ask for help
while in the library. This could be something sent out in the mail to
community members as a way of promoting the libraries.
New Customer Service Models
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Oxnard – dispatched reference
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Contra Costa
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peer libraries (instead of main and branches)
Sacramento and Contra Costa
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come out from the back as needed
single service desk (merge circ and ref)
Livermore – roving staff
San Jose Public - zone staffing
What….No Reference Desk?
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Librarians can spend more time on
professional level activities
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Selection
Design displays
Programming
Outreach
Readers advisory
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Yorba Linda Goodreads program
Single Service Point
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Located to see as much as possible of library
Desk is always staffed
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Staff are cross trained
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usually with a librarian and a non-librarian
librarian help with checkout, library cards
other staff can answer catalog questions
staff can leave desk to help customers
Use voice communication technology
to access other staff (Vocera)
Roving staff
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Many more customer interactions
Train how to approach customers
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Must be easily identified
Need to be in communication
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respect privacy
know when to help, when to refer
pager, full voice, text message, headsets, radio, phones
Not all hours
Must write guidelines and train rovers
Roving at Livermore PL
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All of their information service staff rove
(library assistants, librarians, etc.)
All of their rovers wear a branded apron,
making them easily identifiable to the public
The apron’s pockets contain papers, writing
implements, and phones
They found that roving any more than two
hours was very difficult and hard on staff
What Can Roving Staff Do?
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Offer assistance to those who appear to need help
Straighten up
Shelve misc items
Do displays
Restock flyers
Shelf-read
Pull paging lists
Shelve holds
Help with self-check
Weed
Zone Staffing
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Assign staff to cover a section of the library during a particular
hour instead of a desk.
The type and number of staff assigned are appropriate to the
types of questions that might be asked there and to the time of
day and number of people in the library
 a librarian in the adult stacks section
 a clerical person near the checkout machines
The zones often overlap at the single service point
 all staff often end up there with a customer
People aren't assigned to cover the service point
(ie sit at the desk and wait for customers)
The Library Experience
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Think of the library as a destination that offers
an experience
Library as third place
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Not home, not work
Place to learn and connect with others
Feel a part of the community
Create sense of place in different parts of the
library that appeal to the right clientele
Create the Experience
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Friendly, cross-trained staff
Comfortable furniture
Positive signs
Simplify wayfinding
Community place
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games, contests, social events and activities
Tech-friendly
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Free wireless
Enough computers
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Not locked down!
Hot Picks Project at
Oakland Public Library
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Created new area with inviting furniture
Books, magazines, and DVD‘s
7-day circ with no holds, no renewals
Limit of 4 DVDs and 4 books/magazines
Increased circulation
Drew new customers
Items in collection no more than four months
Staff Discussions:
Know Your Purpose/Values
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How important is it to help the public on the
Internet?
How can you find time to learn new technology?
Is it more important to help someone immediately
or spend time creating a tool to help many?
Redefine Customer Service
from San Jose
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Put yourself in their shoes
 not reactive or proactive but interactive
Attitude is everything - customer is not an interruption
Everyone teaches
Everyone serves youth
 need to understand youth and teen behavior
Flexible – the customer doesn’t know your roles!!!
 need to be cross trained
 role is defined by the needs of the work, not by a job description
"Don't get angry, get interested!" - you can't be angry and
curious at the same time
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Visioning for Your New Library New Customer Service