Sometimes we receive extraordinary service – when we least expect it – and that’s what makes it so memorable.
Here is a story of just such an experience.
Customer service is no longer about telling people how great you are. It’s about producing amazing moments in time, and letting those moments become the focal point of how amazing you are, told not by you, but by the customer who you thrilled. They tell their friends, and the trust level goes up at a factor of a thousand. Think about it: Who do you trust more? An advertisement, or a friend telling you how awesome something is?
I came across this quote that comes from a leading organization in the field of customer experience excellence:
At Zappos they state that, “Customer service isn’t just a department. We’ve been asked by a lot of people how we’ve grown so quickly, and the answer is actually really simple… We’ve aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible.”
To me this speaks to the importance of having the entire organization, regardless of where one works or what one’s specific responsibilities are, focused on the design of and delivery of a great customer experience.
From: “The Changing Role of Marketing“
I received several responses to my call for Idea Book entries. I was happy to receive responses from a variety of library staff, including a student worker, part-time Reference and Instruction Librarian and an Administrator.
Below are some suggestions from a part-time Reference and Instruction Librarian, who spends a great deal of time answering reference questions either in person at the Reference Desk or online via chat reference.
1. Make ebooks easier to find and access in the catalog. Right now, it is not obvious at all in the catalog record where one needs to go in order to open the ebook.
2. Create a clearer distinction for patrons between Reference and Circulation Desks. Maybe replacing the “Ask Here” signs with signs that say “Research Help.” Carnegie Public Libraries label their circulation desks as “Customer Service” desks. This needs to be addressed on virtual chat as well.
3. Guest users need to be able to receive cash refunds from printers and copiers. Business Office only issues refunds to ID cards (obvious problem for guests). Maybe we should have a petty cash fund for this.
Do you have an idea? You probably do, because coming up with ideas is easy. Ideas happen all the time. Anyone can have an idea. And when you have one, you don’t need to worry about whether or not it’s a good idea or a bad idea, if it’s important or valuable, if it’s smart or idiotic, if it’s practical or unrealistic. All you have to do is make sure you capture it. You never know when you’re going to have an idea, need an idea or what kind of idea might work for which situation, so you want to have a log of ideas to refer to whenever an idea depleted situation arises.
What is an idea? Ideas are solutions to problems. Ideas are thoughts of inspiration. Ideas are deal makers, and, of course, deal breakers. Ideas are catalysts, questions, improvements, complaints, intentions and observations. Ideas are also easily forgotten and often thrown away. Therefore, since ideas are so valuable, yet so easily tossed aside or forgotten, keeping track of them is important.
How do you capture an idea? The easiest way to capture an idea is to write it down. It’s pretty simple. Whenever you think of something, observe something or hear something, you just pull out a writing utensil and jot it down. At the Public Services Retreat Follow-up Meeting held in January, Steven Bell introduced the ‘Idea Book’ to Temple Libraries. The intention of the Idea Book is to provide a place for staff and students at Temple Libraries to capture their ideas about enhancing the service and experience of the libraries. The important concept to remember about using the Idea Book is that everything is acceptable. Remember that all ideas are valuable and that one idea can lead to another; and, it’s not until you see your idea in writing – think it out loud – and share it with others that you can then assess which idea is usable for the moment.
- Things you get ideas from when you listen to library users (e.g., complaints, questions, etc.)
- Things you observe by watching library users, particularly things they are doing in the library that are unexpected
- Things that are broken
- Anything library related
Here are some ideas I had recently. While I was sitting at the reference desk the other day, I thought about the types of questions we get regularly and the kinds of issues that arise at the desk. I decided to jot down some ideas about “Reminders” we could post at or near the reference desk to help patrons navigate the library or better acquaint themselves with the library. The first two ideas were more for the staff’s benefit and piece of mind, but helpful tips for patrons, nonetheless.
A great way to learn more about user experience and how to apply it in practical settings is to delve into the abundant literature that is available on the Internet. There are many essays and blog posts on the subject – as there are lots of “experts” sharing their perspectives. In this post I would like to suggest two such readings – and a bonus reading for those who want to go a little farther.
A good starting point is the “User Experience White Paper“. It’s somewhat generic and broad, but it should provide a broad overview of what we mean by user experience, both as a phenomenon and a practice. The authors write that “the term user experience is widely used but understood in many different ways…There is no one definition that suits all perspectives.” So true. Even the list of what UX is not is helpful especially that “UX is not technology driven, but focuses on humans.” Even more true.
While it’s a bit heavy on the business orientation, it is worth taking a look at “7 Principles of Extraordinary Customer Experiences.” I think there may be something to principle number 5: Make it easy for your customers to strike up conversations, communicate with one another, and share information. It’s a challenge but are there ways we could get our community members to talk with each other about their research projects and their challenges. And how would we incorporate principle number 7 into our practice?: The key to delivering an extraordinary customer experience is placing the customer at the center your marketing strategy—through content that educates, inspires and connects in whatever medium and through whatever channels your customers live. That seems to be close to what we try to accomplish.
If you want to go beyond these two readings, a longer and more involved discussion of user experience can be found at “User Experience and Experience Design” by Marc Hassenzahl. It’s billed as a chapter in an encyclopedia, but I’m not sure which one that is. If you decide to take this one on be sure to look at the comments as well.