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Designing Better Libraries by steven j bell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Good Library Customer Service

Pointing to good examples of well-designed library user experience is something we’ll always want to do here at DBL. This post is not exactly one of those, but it does point you to a good article that shares some useful thoughts and observations about customer service in the library – and as DBL has stated previously, customer service is an important component of any library UX strategy.

The September 1 issue of Library Journal includes an article (the Backtalk Column) titled “Lessons of Good Customer Service” by Amy Fry. What makes this a worthwhile read is that Fry shares her experiences as a member of the Barnes & Noble retail sales force, and how that has influenced her thinking about customer service in her library. One of the observations that caught my attention (and something I’ve commented on previously) was that front-line librarians do indeed have something to sell – so having some qualities of a talented salesperson can contribute to better customer service and library outreach.

Fry also shares some lessons learned from working on the front line in a public library (something I’ve experienced myself quite a few years ago). One of the important ones for delivering good customer service in libraries is understanding how to say no to users. It’s vitally important to have policies, but not when the policies are rigidly followed in order to deny patrons services because it may be inconvenient for staff. Libraries are often too focused on a rules-based culture. Retail organizations like Barnes & Nobles know they wouldn’t stay in business long if they couldn’t do everything possible to say “yes” to customers who need special accommodations.

So while customer service is not in and of itself a user experience, without good customer service at every touchpoint in the library, there is no hope for a better library experience.


Pingback from Designing Better Libraries » Getting Beyond Good Customer Service
Posted: December 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm

[…] it is to offer good customer service at your library. Here at DBL I’ve stressed that a great library user experience is hardly achievable without paying attention to customer service. Do an Internet search on “customer service library” and see how many library-based […]

Pingback from Minor musings « Venn Librarian
Posted: December 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

[…] and devote ourselves to good customer service We may just win over the Luddites. […]

Pingback from Minor musings « Venn Librarian
Posted: March 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

[…] but maybe we should talk about “customers“,  and devote ourselves to good customer service We may just win over the […]

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