You are here

Bookmark and Share

Although the popular perception of the library is as a quiet sanctuary for study, those who work in today’s libraries know that this peaceful vision is often not the reality.

  • Do you have to deal with difficult situations that involve customers who are angry, rude, unreasonable, out of control, threatening – or just plain impossible to please?
  • Are you finding it difficult to live up to the high standards of customer service expected in libraries when you have limited computers and unlimited public demand for them?
  • Would it be useful to learn some skills for handling the “stress” of problem situations that develop with a customer who won’t listen, is emotionally upset, and demands that you make exceptions or call the library director?

This workshop will allow you to share what is going on in your libraries and will teach you skills to help you “master” these problem interactions.

Workshop Description: This all-day workshop teaches you a set of active listening skills that can be used in any situation and have you applying those skills to a variety of typical “difficult” library situations. The workshop is designed from the point of view of both the library staff member, who wants to be successful and enjoy work, and the patron, who comes to the library with a need for service.

Highlights: Through discussion, exercises, and supporting handouts, this workshop will cover the following:

  • Essentials of customer service
    • The library as a public place
    • Why interactions go wrong
    • Categories of customer interactions
  • Improving communications with your customers
    • Identifying sources of pressure
    • Communication principles
    • Active listening skills
  • Techniques for mastering difficult situations
    • Handling your own stress
    • Keeping the customer happy while saying “no”
    • The right way to make exceptions
    • Strategies for dealing with people who won’t be satisfied
    • Technological “time-out” solutions
  • Planning, procedures, and policies
    • Incident reports, manuals, etc.
    • How teamwork can help
    • How cross-training can help
    • Recognizing a dangerous situation (and what to do)

Workshop Instructor: Cheryl Gould