The customer comes first: implementing a customer service program at the university of minnesota twin cities
By jerrie Bauer and (someone) Llewellyn.
Why customer service, easily stages of the project initiated in 2006, customer service training from report, classes, measuring outcomes of good customer service. Process improvements and what they learned along the way, tips and tricks for implementing program.
Jerrie: why customer service? Folks have a good conept of customer service and what it is. They wanted a statement of service philosophy for access services why they think it is important. People ask why the staff? We compete for user attention with any other methods of delivery, and they believed that if they don’t get good customer service users will seek out alternatives. Pele will just leave and find it somewhere else that they can get help. Front line interaction, and they wanted high and consistenn level of service to sets. Prior, no unified service expectations. They are an urban campus with fourteen different library buildings, around fifty thousand students. Individual libraries different service desks provided differing levels of service. They are heavily reliant on student employees, and are finding many students coming in don’t have a good job background or prior experience, and don’t knoW what customer service means. Early stages: worked on web based training for student employees. Module of twenty slides, basic knife. Instructions, tips, video, charts, examples of good and bad. In new updated version, focus on what they want people to do and development outcomes. What. You learn through your job, skills that move beyond service desk and shelving books. Demo of module.
Project was well received with good feedback. Ddecided to take next step and do at all service locations for all front line employees. Part of charge was also to develop system for measuring level. Of quality of service to users. Ddeveloped project report focusing on three topics. Critical practices, observable behaviors as examples like eye intact, greeting,. Acknowledge customer service into library background (overview of library Nd how they fit into overall library picture). Supervisory environment, unit culture. Front line interaction, where rubber meets the road. Good customer service begins with the job description. For library background, depth of knowledge about library services. Tours, training in unit policies and procedures, and resource guides that are system wide information Bout services beyond the unit. Who you call, what do you do? If ils goes down, if need ILL help, routing, macros, reserves, etc. Maintain contact lists for efficient referrals, and emergency contact lists maintained and kept up to date.
Supervisory environment. If culture changes, need supervisors behind it. Communication for keeping everyone aware of most current info. Performance standards. All position descriptions added customer service, now included in performance reviews. Culture of service. They do licit user feedback. Customer survey for user feedback, and focus on staff motivation of appreciation to create a welcoming work environment. Reading paper and not viewAble, slouchy isn’t approachable, etc.
Prpoject report: front line interactions. Excellent cutover service equites approachability, a greeting, approach users. (physical but also verbal, do you need help, etc.). Photo examples taken by library staff. By having staff work on the project, get buy in so. Its not a top down demand. Post standards to assure users of quality and hold units accountable. Do you post something your users can see? Anticipating user needs: ensure users don’t leave confused or frustrated by providing explanations of policies and procedures as well as providing alternative options to met user needs when mpossible. Help happens even off the service desk. All shelving carts direct users to ask shelvers for help if ey need it. Red emergency phones to a walkie talked staff. Someone in audience has student rovers directed via cell phone. Pagers dropped too many calls, so the presenters moved to walkie-talkies.
For many students, first job om front line, so they need training. Phone protocol, transferring calls give them number, email protocol to be professional, timely, standards for response time, etc. Some units staff were using personal email accounts and users responding to personal accounts, not trackable or folks went on vacation. Now, unit email accounts are monitored by multiple staff so none are dropped or delayed, a d conversation is threaded. Beware signature lines etc for individual personal accounts. User priority management, dealing with lines, keeping commitments to users, keeping signage accurate and up to date. Wayfinding is important. There is such thing as too much signage, though.
Diffusing difficult situations training on how to remain calm, dealing with complaints. Remove from desk, seated, mirroring, lowering voice, etc. This is very popular and has actually moved broader thann the library into the safety office for staff and students.
Referrals: detailed information on referral and followup.
Training implementation: group settings, vLue in interaction so in person. Trainers were university HR depRtment offered a train the trainer session to deal with adult learning and content delivery session. Brand new staff, long term staff, etc. Worked to figure out what staff felt was already working. Surveyed users to develop a baseline measure of service perception. Trainers paired into four pairs of two. Trainers developed course content. Three hour training sessions, each session limited to fifteen people/attendees of students and staff. 26 initial sessions over mix of day times Nd night sessions.221 full time and student employees participated. After each class, attendees gave feedback, and trainers held debrief sessions on what worked, what didn’t, how to. Improve. Sessions chAnged quite a lot due to those practices. Continuous improvement: content revised, activities reworked, routine info by handout instead of lecture, more visual content through slides. Simple things important, like if doiglibrary. Business use the unit and not personal email. Didn’t want just lecture, so. Had to plan activities.
Users are surveyed yearly, simple eight question survey with pain scale smileys with room for free form questions, done at point fo interaction with users. Surveys shared yearly. Signage is consistently rated low, referrals also need work. Secret shopper program instituted and there is a checklist and sample script. Started using student employees at locations where were unknowns. They report out the secret shopper results. Had to change the scripts more because if they were too similar, and the library was a small location, they could tell a secret shopper. Reported in the aggregate, doesn’t point out individuals. if got nine out of ten, got sent a certificate to supervisor to give to employee. Acknowledgement was important, certificate or gift cards, etc.
Process improvements: what did we learn. Maintaining a program of three hour classes with trainers and sending students away was not. Sustainable, but it s a great place to start. Clasroom sessions were important for class developers and trainers. Scheduling everyone was hard due to staffing and rolling hires. Three hours away from desk significant for students. Now the training is online. Three interactive online presos. Self paced and can be taken independently. Each presentation is fifteen minutes. Live demo. After each press, viewers asked to submit evaluations, take quizzes, viewer participation recorded and sent to supervisors.
Tips for implementing: determine level of institutional support. Buy in fro front line staff is important. Expectations of participation made clear, no opt out, for everyone. Take advantage of available resources beyond organization in developing content and skills like with HR training office. Begin with baseline and expectation and continue to grow. Continuously seek improvements. Consider scalability when creating and implementing. Resources listed on handout and in slides.
On wiki, was it across the whole system? No, for entire library system all branches. Is it searchable? No, need to know the path. 221 people trained, what was student v staff breakdown? About fifty fifty. How open were the staff to this training? Very open. In having the staff help develop the training, got a lot of buy in from early on in the project. Students working the desk and trainers and everyone recognize places that have good and bad service. There are folks who don’t want to wear a name tag, etc. Eventually it becomes part of the culture. Also need to explain why name tags. Folks lik eto ask for people by name, lr at least identify yourself as staff. From audience, some staff didn’t want to give out names due to stalkers. How do you deal? Just something that says “library staff” is also useful identifier. One audience member mNdates name use. “I don’t work at walmart” but nametages are everywhere now.