Renate, Mary, Ellen, Heather and Mary Beth attended the LAMS workshop entitled “More than Service…How Libraries are Transforming the Customer Experience” in Burlington, NC on December 11, 2008. This all day workshop was meant to help us learn how to put the customer experience at the center of the library’s strategies, operations, training and development and procedures. One oft repeated catch phrase in the workshop was reminiscent of Lauren Pressley’s blogging from the NCLA Leadership Institute: “It starts with you, but it’s not about you.” Mark Livingston and Kem Ellis were the presenters, and they also presided over the NCLA Leadership Institute.
A few of the memorable moments of the workshop include:
- Sharing stories of excellent customer service and examples of those who went above and beyond to provide service.
- Recognizing that services designed appropriately to not impede the users experience is only the starting point. Truly excelling at customer service requires a willingness to go beyond what is expected.
- Nothing in our library can have a relationship with our customers except our staff, and therefore, the staff are at the heart of the success of any customer service experiences and their investment will allow the program to succeed or fail.
- You will have created a loyal customer base when they know that you will watch their back.
- What is the expectation of the experience that the libraries will provide. At the very least (they will be open) and at the very most (they will have helpful staff and the material I need.) What if every time we could go beyond what is expected? Then we will have achieved a loyal customer.
- Are policies and procedures engineered in such a way to produce negative or positive results?
The afternoon of the workshop introduced the “Customer Experience Touch-Point Mapping” tool which allows for us to look at the touchpoints of a customers’ experiences in the libraries, from parking, to restrooms, to services, to collections, to lighting to emails, and examine them in detail to see where the customer experience might fail. Then implement strategies to eliminate failure.
- Eliminate sacrifice
- Engage senses
- Ensure satisfaction
- Elicit surprise
- Evoke suspense
The goal is to build an “outside-in” service experience that starts with where the customer is, where their expectation is, and then provides service that meets them where they are, and exceeds what they expect.
We were given a 90 day challenge at the end of the workshop to have us “Step Up” and apply the tools we’d learned to the places where our patron’s (or the customer) connects with the facility, service, program or people related to the library. On the way home, we brainstormed a number of places that we could change our procedures to better meet the needs of our customers.