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Our customers are getting more and more diverse culturally and technologically, yet they share many of the same desires when it comes to being served. They are making greater demands and expecting faster turnaround times than ever before. Whether this is due to the web or just the fast pace of life, we need to think differently about how we serve our customers. Self-check, self-return, patron-placed holds, recommender services, paying fines online, vidcasts of storytime, roving staff, and rotating displays just scratch the surface of ways libraries are changing and offering new services to meet these new expectations.

Looking through the lens of studies that show us what customers want and how we can improve how we deliver services, we'll discuss questions such as:

  • How do you please customers who expect Netflix or Amazon-like selection and convenience?
  • What physical changes to the library should be made to account for new knowledge of how people shop?
  • Is giving directions to the bathroom an interruption or your job?
  • How do we take advantage of the OCLC study saying people associate the library with books and free-choice learning?
  • Surveys say customers want to be independent—what does this mean in a library?

This workshop will jumpstart your thinking through sharing of strategies of people in class and through examples of what libraries are doing all over the country. You'll end up with a list of customer service improvements to implement immediately and ideas for follow-up activities and conversations to have with staff back at your library to help get everyone on the bandwagon.

Workshop Description: This all-day workshop will provide ample opportunity to explore and discuss new knowledge about how people behave as "shoppers" and how people view the library. We'll discuss ways to use this knowledge to create customer service solutions. In addition, we'll look at what libraries are already doing to meet customer expectations through new staffing models, use of technology, and by taking advantage of Web 2.0 principles and technologies. Through individual and group exercises attendees will think about what changes can be made immediately at their libraries to improve service.

Preliminary Course Outline

  • New Customer Expectations
    • Who are your customers and how are they changing?
    • What's affecting their expectations?
    • The experience of the library
  • OCLC Perceptions Of Libraries Report
    • The new library brand
  • Empower Users to Self-Serve
    • Make the library a jargon-free zone
    • Teach not do
    • Merchandise
    • Benefits to the staff
    • Taking advantage of your website
  • What We Learn from Envirosell
    • California study of Northern California branches
    • The Science of Shopping
    • Why nobody reads our signs
    • Taking advantage of product placement and adjacencies
  • Technology and Customer Service
  • New Staffing Models
    • Roving or dispatched reference
    • Single service point
    • Zone staffing
  • What Can Be Changed Now

Workshop Instructor: Cheryl Gould