Good Customer Service

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you’ve had a lovely week and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Today I just want to talk a bit about customer service and then leave you with the wonderful Idea Channel Video from this week. So let’s get to it.

I was thinking about customer service as I was sitting in a bank earlier this week. My husband and I needed to speak to someone about our accounts, so I dutifully made an appointment online for after work thinking this would make it a short, easy trip. Unfortunately, when we got to the bank, we saw a goodly number of people waiting for appointments and a sign-in sheet. So we signed in and noted we had an appointment where asked on the sheet and took a seat. About twenty minutes after our appointment time and after about a handful of people went before us, I was able to get the attention of one of the bank employees and ask about when we would be seen because we had an appointment, had signed in, and noted our appointment time as asked on the sheet. He looked at my appointment form that I had printed out, at the sign in sheet, and said we were next so it would be whenever they got to us and that next time we should say we have an appointment to be moved up. Then he walked away. He wasn’t unpleasant or rude, but it was an unsatisfying customer service interaction. Happily when we were seen by another employee, she was very helpful and nice and apologized for us not being seen sooner when she saw the alert on my account that I had an appointment. Apparently their systems don’t line up so she and the other employee helping people with their accounts never see the appointment alerts until they actually sit down with a customer, which is less than ideal.

All this gets me to the point that customer service and clear signage and directions are really important. We really appreciated the employee who helped us with our accounts, but the first instance of interaction left me a bit annoyed and thinking how much more impressed I would have been had the employee acknowledged we had an appointment and then helped us himself as there were open workstations at that time. In 10 minutes he would have taken care of our accounts, we would have left on time and with a very positive customer service interaction that would likely have us recommend them to other people.

It all ended on a very positive interaction, so all is well that ends well, but it got me to thinking about libraries and how much I appreciate that in my library we always try to help people. I often stop as I’m walking around the library to help any students that look lost or if I see that there is a line at the reference desk. I love that people who work in libraries seem programmed to always help and make sure that our patrons get what they need when they need it and we don’t make them wait. I love that we try to make directions and signage as clear as possible and work to decrease the number of hoops and red tape it takes for people to get access to information and sources that they need. To me that is not just good customer service, but what we should be doing. And caring about the people that we help is what makes libraries such wonderful places to work at and be in. And that’s what I’ll be remembering when I’m on the reference desk in the coming weeks, that everyone wants a great customer service interaction and that means being present, being mindful, and being willing to help out, even if your shift is over.

Finally, I want to leave you with this great Idea Channel video, The Experience of Being Trolled. I think I’m going to use this in my information literacy class as it may create an interesting discussion about privilege and experience:

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back next week. Allons-y!