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The Power of Naming

Almost all of us of a certain age retain some vestige of memory about how we thought and felt about the cultural shift from the tripartate choice among Mr./Mrs./Miss to a slate in which Mr.'s female correlative of "Ms."  Whether it was immediately agreeable, or the answer to a personal and even long held political belief, or vaguely uncomfortable, or even disagreeable in its break with tradition, we learned that a simple change in moniker could--and did and still does--provide for allowances of perceptions unavailable when the term didn't exist or existed only "out there somewhere else unre

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Embed 'Em Where the Action Is: Watering Holes

Every week, I have the opportunity--often the opportunities--to provide on-the-spot reference services at a local coffee shop. Among other morning caffeine inhalers on hand as I make use of my own most portable electronics, some shyly ask about the rudiments of choosing and/or using specific creation-enabled tools (iPad, smartphone) . Others ask for help altering the settings on their ereaders. Another kind of query relies on my ability to connect them to online resources when they've been stumped by their own efforts to find the very specific information they'd like to uncover.

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Just Do It

Keeping your community on the move and engaged can't happen if you stick to the planning stages of whatever strategic changes you know are necessary to keep development a reality. Yes, careful planning is important; but there comes a point when "careful" gives way to a kind of scrupulosity that means "stalling." You and/or the library staff may simply be stalled out by fear, rather than by a need for more helpful information or insights.

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Don’t Let Them Take Away Your Self-Esteem

On an evaluation from a Fully Engaged Customer Service workshop I taught,  someone made this comment:  “I would like to see some techniques for dealing with unreasonable people that don’t require us to sacrifice our self-esteem”     I wish I could talk to the person who wrote it.  As much as it might feel like it, nobody can “require you to sacrifice your self-esteem.”

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Which Kind of Customer Service Do You Mean

Today I attended Laurie Brown’s ALA webinar on customer service.  I do a lot of customer service training, and I wanted to hear how others approach the topic.  And here’s what occurred to me:

Almost 300 people paid to attend the webinar, which tells me there’s a lot of interest in “customer service.”  But what is it people really want to know?  What happened in the webinar parallels my experience with clients who want in-person customer service training: there seem to be two distinct areas where people want help.

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Customer Service is a Team Sport

When somebody says “customer service” what comes to mind?

Is it a smiling person using open gestures and asking how they can help?  That’s where most people’s minds go.  What’s missing is all the things that happen behind the scenes.  Customer service starts long before and far away from the public service desk and involves almost everyone on staff.

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