March Madness Month, Mon. 3/21/2011

** Note: If you didn’t receive this in the much more attractive email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org 

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!

March Madness Month 2011; Alachua County Library District Curious George

 



And the Winners are…

In Issue 6 of the March Madness Month series, we challenged you to take our Customer Service Question 2 Quiz – to tell us which option you’d choose in the below scenario and why. The scenario described highlights the uncertainty that can arise when users write things we’re not sure how to interpret, or if we’re unsure of the direction a so-far-harmless chat might be taking.

To refresh your memory, take a look at the original question and the 3 possible responses: 

 

 

 

While researching your user’s valid question, he or she has sent 2 or 3 statements that seem really off-topic or irrelevant. They’re not inappropriate, but you’re starting to wonder if they’re just wasting time. What do you do?

1. End the chat immediately… no use taking chances. If they have a real question, they will need to stick to the topic. 

2. Feel it out a bit… continue researching, but just be alert for any changes in direction.
 
3. Send the “Your IP has been captured” script to the user. Lets them know that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated, just in case that’s where they’re headed.

 

Which one would you choose?  If you selected option 1 or 3, you’ll definitely want to work on being more flexible and patient while in chat; just like in your libraries, it’s important to avoid no-context snap judgments as much as possible. We know that some moments are easier than others – for example, when staff are posting Inappropriate IP address warnings in the Agent Room, and the next chat you pick up is a middle-school student with a childlike screen name and an unclear question, it’s probably natural to fight off a tiny bit of hypervigilance… but fight it off anyway, because you could be way off base. 

Option 2 is the best one because you want to avoid ending a chat prematurely. When in doubt, wait it out a bit. There could be any number of reasons for it. For example, given the lack of some of the visual social cues (such as a smile when a patron approaches the desk) in virtual reference, a bit of idle chit-chat might be a user’s way of making “small talk” in a virtual environment. For those no-question/no-direction users, there is a “no question” script that asks them if they’re interested in learning more about the AaL service. Be alert, but patient! Either way, if you later decide that the user has negative intentions, scripts from the “Inappropriate” folder will help you out; those other options are still there. But at least you are not misjudging someone who is coming to you for help. 

And the Winning Responses are…

Cheryl Callavini, Jacksonville Public Library:  “Number 2. Feel it out a bit… continue researching, but just be alert for any changes in direction.  There could be several reasons for a customer sending off-topic statements. They could be chatty, filling in the time while you are researching their answer, or their mind could be thinking/writing on topics all over the spectrum.  I would redirect them to the question at hand.  I’ve had a lot of experience on redirecting someone to get them back on course, with an ADD husband and daughter.”
 

Christa Fowler, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee:  “Option 2.  I try to not to make snap judgements based on only one or two responses to my questions. The patron may not have had a chance to think through their research process.  (A bit like walking into a store looking for a gift for someone, but we haven’t a clue what we’re looking for!) Sometimes I slow down, back up and avoid looking at the clock.” 

Kira Smith, Ask a Librarian Intern:  “I would select answer 2. Feel it out a bit…continue researching but just be alert for any changes in direction. One of my favorite scripts for this type of situation is, “I really want to help you get this assignment started.  Let’s get back to ….”. This way the patron can still have the question answered and feel good about using Ask A Librarian, even if a friend or sibling has done something inappropriate. It is a way to refocus the chat without alienating the patron. Sometimes patrons, especially young ones, are just testing the limits and you can set them without being overly harsh.” 

Natasha Godwin, Santa Rosa County Library System:  “At this point, it would be premature to either end the chat immediately or send the IP capture script. It is very possible that the researcher has one or more questions but is not sure how to express or phrase them. A quality reference interview will aid in determining what information the person is seeking or whether he or she is, in fact, “wasting time.””

Renee Patterson, Alachua County Library District & AaL Intern:  “Depending on the comments, I’d call them on it.  “Are you still interested in resources for <original topic>?  <Their irrelevant statement> doesn’t seem to be related.”  Usually this is where they’ll tell me their brother/sister/friend/dog grabbed the keyboard….  : ).”

 

~~~

When speaking to users, please keep in mind these important talking points:

  • If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
  • Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
  • Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
  • You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
  • If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

March Madness Month – Mon., 3/14/2011

** Note: If you didn’t receive this in email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org


 

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!

 

March Madness Month 2011, Jaime Goldman, Nova Southeastern University and AaL intern. Big Mouth Billy Ask(s) a Librarian, too!

And the Winners are…

In Issue 4 of the March Madness Month series, we challenged you to take our Customer Service Question 1 Quiz – to tell us which option you’d choose in the below scenario and why. It’s an important scenario, because it highlights a common underlying issue in place when users experience the dreaded “login issue”.

Problem was, the top responses were so good, we had to award four winners instead of three. How’s that for customer service excellence? We’re so proud…

Here is the original question and the 3 possible responses:

A student trying to get into a database has incorrect login information. You look up login issues for that library, but cannot resolve the issue.  You give them contact information for their library (which is currently closed). Which of the following is the best response to send next?

1.   Good luck! Thank you for using Ask a Librarian; we hope you come again.

2.   In the meantime, I can try to help you using other resources. What information were you looking for?

3.   Well, if you would have started sooner, you could have contacted your library before they closed.

 

So which one would you choose?  If you selected option 2, give yourself a nice pat on the shoulder.  Option 1 is professional and friendly for a “Goodbye” script, but at this point in the chat, why would you want to say Goodbye?  Option 2 is the best answer because it’s important to remember that he or she needed to access that database for a reason. Always see if you can help them another way. Option 3 is… well, let’s just say that some things are always better left unsaid.

And the Winning Responses are…

Trudy Kelly, St. Petersburg College:

“The second response would be the best and only response, as I see it. The librarian can find something to help this student until he or she can contact their library to find out why he or she cannot get into the databases. The first response leaves the student without help and he or she will probably not use Ask a Librarian again. The third response is insulting. There may be a reason the student didn’t get to this assignment before this. It isn’t up to the librarian to make the student feel worse by pointing out the lateness in the request.  Again, the student will probably not use Ask a Librarian for help again. If the student doesn’t feel that the Ask a Librarian service was worth contacting it is possible that this may be shared with his or her friends.  This gives the Ask a Librarian service negative feedback which may turn people off using this wonderful, helpful service. The second response makes the student know that the librarian is there to help them and find information for the student to use.”

 

Renee Patterson, Alachua County Library District & AaL Intern:

“2. In the meantime, I can try to help you using other resources. What information were you looking for?”  They could still get a start on their research, even if they can’t log in to their library.  For general research, they may be able to access Academic OneFile and other resources from the Florida Electronic Library.  Government sites might also be helpful for some research – like the NIH or LOC. They could also do some initial research on Google scholar, to start building a list of articles to pull up from their library resources once they do have access.”

 

Susan Smith, Hodges University:

“Was that a trick question?  It is the most customer friendly option of the three…I would often go on to point out things that were freely available to this patron, such as the Florida Electronic Library, and internet sites that are authoritative and credible, such as government sites or known sites for whatever area they were trying to research.  I have even gone so far as to run searches inside our databases to find an article to get them started.”

 

Jackie Spiritas, Jacksonville Public Library:

“#2 is the best response in outlined situation: “In the meantime, I can try to help you using other resources. What information were you looking for?” This response introduces the student to other resources he or she may not know about. It is also likely to result in the student using Ask A Librarian again. Finally, the student will most likely tell other people about the positive experience. Word of Mouth Marketing is one of the essential components to maintaining awareness and increasing usage of AAL.”

 

Want a new Ask a Librarian bag? Take the Question 2 Quiz – the deadline is this Thursday.  Remember to tell us which option you’d choose and why!!!

~~~

When speaking to users, please keep in mind these important talking points:

  • If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
  • Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
  • Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
  • You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
  • If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

March Madness Month – Fri, 3/11/2011

** Note: If you didn’t receive this in email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org

  

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!

 
 

 
 

Shakespeare Asks a Librarian, too, during March Madness Month at Brevard County Library
Shakespeare Asks a Librarian, too, during March Madness Month at Brevard County Library

 

 

WOMM FUN FACT:

Timeline of Ask a Librarian Hours

You probably already know that Ask a Librarian debuted in 2003, and that our service provisions and member libraries have increased significantly over the years.  You may even know that the Academic Desk didn’t come along until 2007.  But did you know that when Ask a Librarian first started out, the Collaborative Desk opened at noon?  Or that, at one point, Ask a Librarian stayed open until 10 pm every single Friday?  Here are a few snapshots-in-time for you to check out how Ask a Librarian has changed over time in finding the perfect hours for staying open to help your users.  Take a look at our charts and see the timeline in which our hours of service eventually found the perfect home, and don’t forget to take our newest Customer Service Quiz below.

Happy Friday!

Think you have what it takes to get raving comments like these from Ask a Librarian users?  Take the “Customer Service Quiz, Question 1” below for your chance to win an Ask a Librarian book pack. Don’t forget last week’s promotional photo contest for another chance to win!

Ask a Librarian Hours 2002-2005

 

 

 

 

 

Ask a Librarian Hours 2005-Present

 

 

 

 

 

~~~~

Who wants to win one of our cool new Ask a Librarian book packs? Our nifty new drawstring bags are red with a blue Ask a Librarian logo. Promote us with style, and hold your book or sandwich at the same time. 

Customer Service Quiz, Question 2: 

While researching your user’s valid question, he or she has sent 2 or 3 statements that seem really off-topic or irrelevant. They’re not inappropriate, but you’re starting to wonder if they’re just wasting time. What do you do? 

1.     End the chat immediately… no use taking chances. If they have a real question, they will need to stick to the topic.

2.     Feel it out a bit… continue researching, but just be alert for any changes in direction. 

3.     Send the “Your IP has been captured” script to the user. Lets them know that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated, just in case that’s where they’re headed.

Tell us which option you’d choose and why.  The best 3 responses will receive a cool new Ask a Librarian book pack!  Email your response to Traci at avett@tblc.org by Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Last week’s winners will be announced soon!

~~~ 

 When speaking to users, remember these important talking points:
• If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
•  Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
•  Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
•  You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
•  If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

March Madness Month, Monday 3/7/2011

** Note: If you didn’t receive this in email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!

AaL Day 2011, Everglades University

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE: 

In Word-of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), the focus is on generating a “buzz” for your users. This includes making sure everyone in your library knows how Ask a Librarian helps real people every day. WOMM’s goal is to create a viral effect, both within and between users.  This is important because every customer has a barrage of family, friends, and coworkers who witness that user’s needs being met pleasantly and efficiently. That’s where customer service comes into play – the better your customer service, the more likely the person you helped will not only return to use Ask a Librarian again, but also to share his or her positive experiences with countless future visitors.

Want to see some real results of that excellent customer service you provide to statewide users?  These are actual user comments taken from our most recent 2011 user survey. There were many more compliments where these come from, but here are just a few to highlight the impact that you have on users in Ask a Librarian, and the reason it’s so important to maintain high customer service standards every time you staff. 

•  Please keep this service because it was a tremendous help for me. I am a teen with a right hemi paresis and am learning disabled. My mom helps me as best as she can but I would like to do this myself independently. 

•  I love Ask a Librarian!

•  Oh it is just AWESOME!!! I like all your effort to make our lives easier as student.

•  Kay was very kind and helpful! She helped me even though I was not sure how to explain the question. She was great!! Thank you!

•  The librarian was very helpful and nice. Thank you very much for this service.

•  you guys are doing great

•  Marcia was very helpful and patient, keep up the great work!

•  Quick and Easy!

•  a great resource that can be accessed from home 

•  i always go to ask a librarian. u rock!

•  I think this is a very valuable service, especially for researching students who hit the proverbial wall and don’t know where to go. I’m sure this would’ve made things a lot easier for me if I had this available during my childhood. Kirsty was the librarian who helped me tonight. She was very helpful and quick.

•  Both times my questions were answered very quickly and with polite service!!

•  My first time using and it work great!

•  I love this service. Even though I check things on the internet, I like to have a HUMAN as my double check. THANK YOU!!!!

Think you have what it takes to get raving comments like these from Ask a Librarian users?  Take the “Customer Service Quiz, Question 1” below for your chance to win an Ask a Librarian book pack. Don’t forget last week’s promotional photo contest for another chance to win!

 ~~~~

Who wants to win one of our cool new Ask a Librarian book packs? Our nifty new drawstring bags are red with a blue Ask a Librarian logo. Promote us with style, and hold your book or sandwich at the same time. 

Customer Service Quiz, Question 1:  A student trying to get into a database has incorrect login information. You look up login issues for that library, but cannot resolve the issue.  You give them contact information for their library (which is currently closed). Which of the following is the best response to send next? 

1.  Good luck! Thank you for using Ask a Librarian; we hope you come again. 

2.  In the meantime, I can try to help you using other resources. What information were you looking for? 

3.  Well, if you would have started sooner, you could have contacted your library before they closed.

Tell us which option you’d choose and why.  The best 3 responses will receive a cool new Ask a Librarian book pack!  Email your response to Traci at avett@tblc.org by Friday, March 11, 2011. 

~~~ 

 When speaking to users, remember these important talking points:
• If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
•  Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
•  Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
•  You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
•  If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

March Madness Month 3/2/2011

 

** Note: If you didn’t receive this in email format earlier today, please email Traci at avett@tblc.org

March Madness Month

A month of surprising facts, informative highlights, and fun activities
… all for the chance to brag about our incredible services!

 

It’s day 2 of the 2nd annual March Madness Month, and we’re gearing up for an exciting month of continuing to promote Ask a Librarian through Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Please be sure to share your thoughts, suggestions, and experiences with us!   
 
WOMM Tip: Using Ask a Librarian print promotional materials for marketing in your local library. 
 
Most of us have some pretty good tricks up our sleeves for engaging the user, whether that involves engaging them in conversation, in your research process, or finding some connection to the library so that they’ll return – but catching their attention or interest can be an initial barrier. Having print items readily displayed and accessible helps tremendously, of course – for example, keeping bookmarks near tables or desks, on reference & check-out counters, and in your library’s study rooms. Such placement is essential to making sure users know about Ask a Librarian.
 
In most cases, the key is to figure out where all the action currently is in your library, and to look for the best ways to reach your particular group of patrons. Check out hot spots and cool spaces to see if your library visitors might be invisibly “restructuring” the purpose the library intended or assumed for them. Step back and look at things not from a perspective of employee but of user. You might notice, for instance, that parents waiting while their children attend programming tend to gather together in the magazine section. Or maybe your library’s teens tend to hang out near the ephemerals because it’s near the bookshop, or less crowded, or the space seems more suitable for conversation. In both cases, use that knowledge and rethink those areas in terms of marketing.
 
And you could do this in interesting ways. How cool is that above photo from St. Petersburg College Library?  Attach a 8×11 poster on your coffee or vending machine, or place larger ones on the end caps of your library’s higher-traffic aisles. Just remember that your mission may not necessarily be a short-term one. For example, glancing at your poster may not cause Coffee Guy to have a reference question today, but have him see it 3 days a week for 3 weeks, and it will seep into his memory in some form. And the next time he contemplates something, Ask a Librarian (or your library, or your databases, or asking someone at the Reference Desk, or…) will be an option that he just might not have thought of before.
 
Finally, keep an open mind, and think outside of the box. What about your coworkers? You could tape a QR code onto the butter dish compartment of your library’s break room refrigerator or someone’s favorite don’t-touch-this coffee mug. WOMM markets to everyone, and works in all directions. You can’t get it wrong, so just have fun!

 
Who wants to win one of our cool new Ask a Librarian book packs? Our nifty new drawstring bags are red with a blue Ask a Librarian logo. Promote us with style, and hold your book or sandwich at the same time. 
 
 TODAY’S CHALLENGE:
• Select one of our promotional print posters or bookmarks;
• Find an untapped resource, audience, or target location;
• Send us a photo of the item in its strange, new habitat. 
 
You can either use something currently on hand in your library, download them from here, or create your own poster or bookmark design.
Email photos to Traci, avett@tblc.org by March 11, 2011. 

The top 3 photo winners will receive an Ask a Librarian book pack!   

 

When speaking to users, remember these important talking points:
• If you ever need help when you’re not in our library, visit www.askalibrarian.org (or find the link on our library’s website).
•  Ask a Librarian is a website where you can go to get your questions answered by a real librarian.
•  Ask a Librarian is open for live chat and texting until midnight ET Sunday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. ET Friday and Saturday.
•  You can use Ask a Librarian for free.
•  If Ask a Librarian isn’t open for chat or texting, you can always email your question, and your library’s staff will get back to you within 24 hours.