Posts Tagged ‘procedures’

Customer Service Series

A month or so ago I posted a blurt on customer service and asked everyone to give their definition of good customer service. The comments posted had some good content but the lack of comments left were disappointing. As a public library we thrive on good customer service, or at least we should. In light of this priority, I wanted to begin a small series focused on customer service. I will highlight a few articles I have found and hopefully good discussion will ensue.

The first installment comes from a book I discovered while conducting some research for a research class. My topic deals with public access computers and their correlation to library use. I found a book that dealt with managing public access computers and hit the jackpot. One section that caught my attention, for us and not the paper, dealt with handling complaints. We all know that having public access computers in our buildings makes us highly susceptible to patron complaints. These complaints can sometimes have a completely negative effect on us and our work and also how we deal with the next patron. So when I found the section quoted below I knew everyone needed to read it. The section may be a little lengthy but well worth the time.

Handling Complaints (for working with the public and public-access computers)
1. Listen
a. “Start by letting the person with the complaint state their case with little or no interruption from you.”
2. Repeat what the other person says
a. “Starting with the phrase like “Let me see if I understand this…,” restate in your own words your understanding of what the other person said. If the other person agrees that you understand the situation, you say something like, “I sympathize with your frustration” (which is not the same thing as saying you think their complaint is justified).
3. Explain the library’s position
a. “While it should not be your purpose to win a debate with the other person, as an employee of the library it is your job to explain the library’s position—even if you do not happen to agree with it 100%.”
4. Make promises carefully
a. “Make a promise only if you are absolutely sure you can keep it. Never makes promises you cannot keep and avoid making promises in the heat of the moment.”
5. Admit the person is right (when appropriate)
a. “Sometimes complaints are justified, and there is nothing wrong with admitting the other person is right.”
6. Offer alternatives
a. “Alternatives that may seem obvious to you are not necessarily obvious to your users, so offering an alternative or two is always a good idea.”
7. Know when to quit
a. “Discussions can reach the point where they become pointless. At such times, it is necessary to break off and send the complaint up the organizational ladder.”
8. Close on a positive note
a. “If you have not done so already, wind up by asking the person with the complaint for ideas on how to improve the situation. Be sure to thank the other person for their feedback and to take down the information you need to contact them later.”

Barclay, Donald A. Managing Public-Access Computers. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 2000. (pp. 199 – 200)

I know that every situation will not play out in exactly this manner but some good pointers are given. Hopefully this will help you the next time you have to handle a complaint.

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Changes

If you have not noticed, the check ins no longer appear on patron receipts. Seymour has had problems with receipt printing that stemmed from the check in portion of the receipt. So the decision was made to eliminate check ins from the receipt. If you have any questions or concerns let your manager know. Thanks.

Reserves

I wanted to put another reminder on here concerning reserves. Please remember that reserves take precedence over someone wanting to renew material. If a patron brings in, or calls, to renew material but the item is on the the reserve they cannot renew. Please do not override the renewal for any reason. Speak with your manager if you have any questions regarding a particular transaction.

Email Conduct

Just as a reminder, the emails we send are not confidential. All emails go through the county server therefore making them open to anyone who has access to the aforementioned server. They are also never erased and therefore can be forever accessed. With this said, be careful with what you say in an email. What you say can always come back to bite you, well you know where. It is always a good practice to not say something in an email that you would not say to that person face-to-face.

Vacation Policy

KC wanted me to pass along a reminder concerning the vacation policy. All vacation/personal days need to be approved one month in advance. So, when you are making your schedule for the following month, vacation/personal days have to be put in your schedule and approved by your manager and Robin (through the time-off request database on the website). Any day taken off that is not approved a month in advance will be considered a sick day. If you have any questions concerning this policy feel free to speak with your manager, Robin or KC. Thanks.

Patron Card Issues

In the manager’s meeting yesterday, two new policies were set into place, well one was restated. First, it was assumed that parents could not sign-up their children for library cards if the children were not present. This is not the case. Parents can sign-up their children for library cards even if the children are not present, no questions asked. Second, there is a policy change for new patron card costs. We have all experienced patrons who have the old white cards and would like to acquire one of our new cards but do not want to pay the $3.00 fee that accompanies it. If a patron will turn in their old card, we will drop the price to $2.00 for the card. (Make sure the information is changed in Atriuum to reflect the new barcode.) This does not apply to lost cards. They are still $3.00 for a replacement. If you have any questions regarding either one of these changes, do not hesitate to speak with your manager.

Word of Caution

At the main branch, and probably at all the branches, we have a box full of recycled paper. I was going through it the other day and noticed some items that should not have been in there so I wanted to make a post about what not to put in these boxes. Blank paper should never be placed in these boxes. Put it back into the copier to be used for actual printing. Prints that a patron has rejected but still has any of their personal information on it, even an email address, should not be placed in the box. Lastly, anything we print off from Atriuum that has patron’s information on it should not be placed in the box. This is true of reserve lists too because they still have the patron’s name on it. So, just be careful about what is put into these boxes. Thanks.