Ask a Librarian sees a lot of action in September. Whether users are settling into their homework or just setting into routines, it’s a fun month to field questions from a dynamic and diverse group, our awesome Florida residents. It can get a little hectic in there, though, if the patrons start rolling in faster than you can help them, so we wanted to give you a few tips on keeping cool when things start to get busy.
1) Remember that staff only see queues they are logged in for. You can only see those patrons for the desk(s) you’re logged into. Staff who logged into Collaborative will not be able to see any patrons that are entering or waiting in the Academic queue. Staff who logged into the Academic Desk will not be able to see any patrons in the Collaborative Desk queue. [This is also how Local Desk works in the first place – why you only receive your own patrons when logged into your Local Desk.] They will not know there are waiters unless you tell them. Which leads us to…
2) Send a shout-out to the Agent Room. You know, it’s that large white area on the lower-left. Some days it’s stark, white, silent. Other days, it’s chock-full of questions, answers, resource discussions, in-library analogies, chocolate hoarding tips. Lots of – er, colorful commentary. Use this space whenever you need help, because everyone signed into the software can view it. Just make sure you check the Alert box (above the “Send” button) which puts the text in red. Tell everyone at once that “Desk X needs help now – is anyone available?” Some may respond in private rather than on the agent room board, but you will get responses. Use the private instant-messaging as well, which you can do just by double-clicking on someone’s name, to ask directly for help.
3) Use the AskRef email listserv. Sending an email to email@example.com gets everyone involved and lets everyone participate in the solution. It’s also important because Ask a Librarian staff is not always available hop on the desk, so this ensures that the waiting customers are more likely to get help from staff who see the emergency help needed message. The Help Desk email address is also important (since it goes to 4 of us), firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Know how to transfer a chat to someone else. If you haven’t needed this before (or it’s been awhile), remember it’s always better to know how to use something before you actually need it. To transfer a chat:
1. Find an individual person who can accept the user. You can contact other staff separately through private messaging or you can use the Agent Room to send a group chat message, such as “I have to leave – can anyone take over this chat?” Remember that whoever you transfer to needs to be set to “Available” so the software will allow the transfer.
2. Tactfully inform the user that you aretransferring the chat to another librarian who will help them.
3. With the chat still open, click on “Transfer”, located above the Customer Details pane in the Agent Console (next to “Dismiss” and “End”).
4. On the resulting pop-up, click the “Agent” tab to view the list of available staff.
5. Select the individual you will be transferring the patron to and click “Transfer”. The librarian you are transferring to will see a pop-up requesting permission for the transfer.
Once he or she accepts (clicks Yes), the chat display/transcript area will show the following message: “Librarian X has entered the session.” Both librarians are now in the chat, similar to a three-way phone call.
6. Click on “Leave” to exit the chat.