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The Most Important Visitor:

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Presentation on theme: "The Most Important Visitor:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Most Important Visitor:
Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction in an Environment of Change Derek Wolfgram & Ann Awakuni The correct answer is never “I don’t know” unless you add to it, “but I can find out for you.” Always give customers a way to save face-- Santa Clara County Library 2012

2 Active Listening

3 Licensed for reproduction from

4 Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

5 From http://www. faculty. londondeanery. ac

6 “ Being heard is so close to being loved that for the
average person they are almost indistinguishable.” - David Augsburger

7 SCCL Circ: Building a long-term relationship with our customers
Each of us has our own personal customer service philosophy, but as an organization, we need to have a unified vision of what constitutes great service. And since our services are constantly evolving, it's particularly important for us to share the same core values and speak a common service language. The purpose of this session is to reinforce our ongoing commitment to excellent service. If you already do all of the things I talk about then consider it a confirmation that you are doing things right. I want to mention that I will be using the words customer and patron interchangeably, Notes: What is our customer service philosophy? Excellent service means that you’re continuously assessing and trying to improve. Make positive customer experience a priority.

8 Our coworkers are our customers too!
If you know a better way of doing something, share it. If your coworker knows a better way, learn it. Recognize good work. Treat your employees the way you want your customers to be treated. and when I say customer, I’m referring to both internal and external customers. The same great service we give to customers at the desk, we should also be giving to each other. And as I’m going through the slides, if any of you have examples, stories you’d like to share, please do because we’re here to learn from each other. I use not only all the brains I have, but all I can borrow. Woodrow Wilson.

9 First impressions = lasting impressions
How customers feel when they interact with an employee determines how they feel about the company itself. -Daniel Goleman, author, Emotional Intelligence Circulation is the highest impact service. You are often the first/last/most frequent and possibly the only staff person with whom a customer interacts. We represent not only our own community libraries, we represent the whole SCCL system, and if you help a patron who has never been in a public library, then you’re also representing the library as an institution. They could walk away saying wow I never knew the library was so cool, or they might leave thinking now I remember why I don’t go to the library. Daniel Goleman who has written a lot on emotional intelligence writes that how customers feel when they interact with an employee determines how they feel about the company itself. So true right? So in every single transaction that we have with a patron, their loyalty to us can be lost or strengthened. So to create a good first impression and maintain a positive relationship with patrons, we need to…. notes: Many of our customers would continue to use us even if we didn’t provide stellar service because they believe in our value. I call them the true-blue customers. And then there are what I call “trial” people--Someone told them to come here. They're here, they're unsure, they're uncomfortable. The way that you treat them, the information that you give them, whether or not they feel welcome and comfortable is largely going to determine whether they come back and whether or not they recommend us to their friends, family and neighbors.

10 Take personal responsibility to create a welcoming environment
Saying “Good morning!”  makes the morning good. Really. “5 Foot Rule” - anytime someone is within 5 feet of you, you should acknowledge them. Immediately look up when customers or co-workers approach and let them know you’re available to help. We each need to take personal responsibility to create a welcoming environment for both customers and coworkers. Most of us do make a point to greet staff members and volunteers when we arrive and throughout our shift. When we look up, smile and say good morning or good night to one another, it not only creates a friendlier work atmosphere, but it’s also just good to let people know that you’re in the building or have left the building. Similarly, the 5 foot rule comes from the retail world, and it is not only good customer service but good security. (Customers who believe they are being noticed are less likely to cause trouble.) So when customers walk in the door, you should look up and smile. The more approachable you appear, the more likely that people will feel comfortable asking you a question. And we want to encourage people to ask us questions, because otherwise, they might decide to make up their own answers. For example, I once saw a woman pull the hold slip out of a DVDand she was about to shelve it on the DvD shelves, and she told me that the clerk looked really busy and she didn’t want to bother them so she thought she’d help by putting it back. If A librarian or substitute librarian comes into the sort room or cki alley to look for an item for a patron, ask them if they need help.

11 Focus on the Don’t wait to be approached.
Be proactive and ask how you may be of service. Our goal is a successful customer experience, not just the completion of our specific task. Focus on the And you don’t have to wait for patrons to come to you. Be proactive and ask how you may be of service. And remember, in everything that we do, our goal is always a successful customer experience.

12 Notice customers’ body language; Look for visual cues that people need help.
So it’s important that we keep an eye out for people who may not be having a positive experience or who need a little help. Channel your inner prairie dog and make a habit of doing a quick visual scan of your surroundings on a regular basis, so that you have a chance to find the confused and frustrated faces.

13 Body language Be aware of non-verbal cues—your own and customers’. 7%
55% In addition to being aware of our customers’ body language, we need to be aware of our own. our tone of voice and body language communicate our feelings and attitudes much more clearly than our words do. For example, if I say, Oh wow that’s great, but I’m rolling my eyes and I sound sarcastic, then obviously you know I don’t mean it. Now if a patron brings a problem to our attention, we wouldn’t dream of scowling, sighing or looking put out. Yet I have seen staff members treating other staff members this way. 38%

14 Attitude/tone of voice:
People respond to tone. Example: Daniel Pink’s emotionally intelligent signs. Regardless of the content of your message, it’s your tone that conveys to someone how you feel about what you are saying. People respond to tone. I had an opportunity to hear Daniel Pink speak at CLA some years ago and I wanted to share with you his examples of emotionally intelligent sigs to convey the importance of tone. With a little bit of friendly humor, the teacher has created a message that her students are much more apt to remember than “No texting in class!”. Montessori training-- Children are acutely sensitive to the world around them and are much more apt to pick up on how words are said rather than the words themselves. They hate to be shouted at and even if the words are well intended, it is the volume of the message that they hear.

15 Smile Mimicry – Studies show that when we are exposed to happy faces, our facial muscles maneuver into a smile. Studies show that clerks who smile are deemed more competent. If you’re not a “smiley” person, practice. Smile. So this is Robyn, one of our awesome clerks at Campbell, and Robyn and was nice enough to let me snap photos of her—thank you Robyn. So which Robyn would you rather have help you? Smiling Robyn or unsmiling Robyn? Smiling robyn right? Well there’s a physiological reason for that, when we see a smiling face, our own faces have a tendency to mimic it, and studies show that people deem smiling clerks more competent than unsmiling ones, so if you greet patrons with a smile you’re more likely to get a better response from them. Now if you’re not a smiley person, practice. There are companies like Disneyland and the W hotels that call their employees castmembers, because they’re hiring you to play a role.

16 Smile…on the phone Smiling adds warmth to your voice.
Put an image by the phone that makes you smile. Smiling does a lot to add warmth to your voice. When you smile, the vocal cords are pulled differently and the voice automatically sounds friendlier. To monitor what is going on in your face, it is always a good idea to place a mirror by the phone. Find an image that makes you laugh or smile and put this by the phone--then when you answer the phone, you sound a little happier. When people are on the phone, the largest element of verbal comprehension – one’s facial expressions and body language – is missing. This requires the caller to rely only on the words that are spoken and the way in which they are spoken to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion of our library.

17 Apologize. It’s easy and people like it.
Thank you… for waiting for calling for asking for bringing that to my attention for telling me for reminding me for thinking of us for your help Say thank you at every opportunity. When people call to ask if they can donate their books, I always thank them for thinking of us. When people complain to you, you should always thank them for bringing the issue to your attention. Over the years I’ve encountered staff members who say they’ve been taught that they shouldn’t use the words “I’m sorry” with the public because from a legal standpoint apologizing is the equivalent of admitting responsibility. You can always apologize for an inconvenient or frustrating experience. Say for example you’re standing in line, and someone bumps into you. If they immediately say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, “ then you’re like, “oh that’s ok” but if they don’t say anything, then you’re annoyed right? And if you get to the front of the line and the clerk smiles and says, thank you for being patient. That is infinitely better than being helped by a clerk that just screams “Next!” and doesn’t acknowledge how long you’ve been waiting. Apologize. It’s easy and people like it. I’m sorry. Apologize. It’s easy and people like it.

18 Do you know who your customers are?
Do you know the names of your regular patrons or just your problem patrons? “Oh, there’s Frowny-Dude” Do you know the names of your regulars? And do you actually greet them by name? If you don’t, then I’m going to challenge you to start. And I’ll confess to you that I was not trained to do this. I think there’s a feeling out there that we’re protecting people’s privacy by not using this name, and we do have people who are very sensitive about their account information, so take your cue from the customer—if you call someone by name and they dislike it then you don’t do it for that person, but I would like all of us to start addressing our regulars by name, and see if you don’t have more positive interactions. You may be the only interaction or the most meaningful interaction a person has all day. “Hey, Jim!”

19 Call patrons by name Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” My inspiration for this is one of the Campbell clerks Dennis—as soon as he was hired he started learning patrons’ names and he greets people by name when they walk in and people love him—you’ll come out and say can I help you to a patron and they’ll say, oh, no I’m waiting for Dennis.

20 Customize service to meet individual needs
Flexibility is key in providing great service Take care of your customer—Rely on judgment over rules. Be aware that cultural differences may impact how people prefer to experience the library. So people wait in line for Dennis because he provides them with personalized service, and that’s something that we should be doing for all of our patrons. When you help someone you need to understand what their needs are and provide the right level of service for that person. If you’re helping this gentleman and he’s in a big hurry, try to accommodate him as best you can. Now this woman here might want the opposite experience—you might be the only interaction or the most meaningful interaction that she has all day. Be flexible. Part of flexibility is understanding that things aren’t black and white, they are many shades of gray. And with the exception of our privacy policy and the $80 fee I would say that most of our policies are negotiable, so while it’s important for all of us to know our policies, it’s equally important for us to recognize when an exception to the rule may be appropriate. . And we are aware that cultural differences may impact how people prefer to experience the library. Individualist cultures like the U.S. and western europe place a much higher value on self-service than do collectivist cultures like those found in Japan, korea and china. Take your cue from the customer and adapt your style accordingly.

21 Anticipate & Follow-Up
Anticipate customer’s needs. (SJPL hours.) Explain what you’re doing and explain what is going to happen. (Ex. Transworld) Own a customer’s complaint. How do I get from here… to here? A hallmark of good service is anticipating a customer’s needs. If you’re registering a patron for a new card, and he says it’s his first time here and he wants to use the internet then you should tell him exactly what he needs to do to get on the computer or use our wifi. Or if you’re sending a patron to a SJ branch, they are going to drive there now. Look up the hours for them—the SJPL has a handy webpage that lists all of their locations and hours—at Campbell we’ve saved that page to Favorites on every circ desk terminal. Always explain to people what you’re doing—if you need to type a message in their account or fill out a form or check the Thomas Guide – you should be explaining to them what you’re doing or what you’re about to do. And always explain to patrons what they can expect—if a patron has been sent to letter service and they come to pay off their balance, you would tell them that no further action is needed on their part, they do not need to contact transworld because transworld will receive their updated balance, and it’s important you let them know that transworld does a cycle of 5 letters, so if they receive another letter because one is already enroute they can just disregard it because their balance is zero. And transworld will send them a thank you letter. Own a customers complaint: If you can resolve a problem on first contact, that’s great. If you need to hand off a problem, follow up and find out what the solution was. In the event staff members are unable to help a customer immediately, they will always research the question, follow-up and/or make an appropriate referral.

22 Check in with your customer
Ask questions to confirm patrons are having a positive experience: “Did I answer your question?” “Did you find what you were looking for?” Did these DVDs play okay for you? Don’t assume that things are okay just because no one has complained. Some people need prompting. “I won’t complain. I just won’t come back.”

23 Understand your products and services
Library calendar of events – what’s happening in the library today, this week. Are you familiar with Bibliocommons? Do you regularly check our website & your ? We need to place a high value on product knowledge. All of you should know how to navigate the My Account functions in Bibliocommons. You can’t build a good relationship with customers if you don’t understand your own product. Circulation desk is the primary point of human contact, circ can be ambassadors for other services.

24 Is the customer always right?
Question: Is the customer always right?

25 “The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer.”
Always give patrons the benefit of the doubt. Proving to him why he’s wrong and you’re right isn’t worth losing a customer over. Try to find ways to say “yes”.

26 How to give bad news Show empathy. Listen to what the other person has to say, and express your sincere condolences. Be patient while they absorb the news. Save the details for later. In many instances it’s unnecessary to relate every last detail all at once, and may in fact be better to let the person absorb the brunt of the news before you drown them with the details. Expect the unexpected. Upon hearing the news, the other person may lash out at you. They may burst into tears. They may be speechless. And any one of these reactions is OK. Accept whatever reaction the person has. Let go of any dread or expectation as to how the person will react and be open to however they do react to the news. Trouble is inevitable, misery is optional.”

27 Make prompt service to customers a priority over other work.
My fries are burning. Keep smiling. Make prompt service to customers a priority over other work. So to recap….

28 Take personal responsibility to understand and meet our customers’ needs.

29 Be a problem-solver

30 Be Patient Be patient.

31 Be positive.

32 Summary: Building a long-term customer service relationship:
Patrons first. Make prompt service to patrons a priority over other work. Take personal responsibility to understand & positively meet patrons’ needs. Be proactive. Be a problem-solver. Be patient. Be positive. Are you really actively listening, or are you just waiting your turn to speak? Take responsibility for making each customer’s call or visit to the Library a high quality experience

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