New Hot Topics Webinar: The not-so secret tools, tips and tricks of the Ask a Librarian interns. How to provide assistance to statewide customers with grace and ease

I am excited to announce a new hot topics workshop on July 20th from 1:30pm-3:30pm ET:

The not-so secret tools, tips and tricks of the Ask a Librarian interns. How to provide assistance to statewide customers with grace and ease

One of the most difficult tasks on Ask a Librarian is assisting users from institutions other than your own with “local” questions. Learn from the Ask a Librarian Interns Kira Smith and Renee Patterson, how to answer questions you didn’t think you could with relative ease. The interns will be joined by Traci Avet, the AAL Virtual Reference Coordinator and together they will take you through the resources, tips and tricks on helping users from institutions other than your own.

Register today at:

March Madness Customer Service Tips

We received great customer service tips and they mentioned – SCRIPTS and COMMUNICATION and utilizing the user’s library resources as the key to a successful session!

Renee Patterson, Alachua County Library District says:

My favorite tip is already in the FAQ, but it’s the one I find most helpful.
Use scripts!! I find them incredibly helpful in keeping the patron engaged while I’m off searching – and in helping me refine my searches as well.

From the FAQ:
Pre-scripted replies, or scripts, serve several purposes:
1. they promote consistency in customer service
2. they save you more time for up-front researching
3. they increase the patron’s view of staff interest and staff/patron interactivity – all of which make for a more patient patron.

Using scripts is easy – just click on the Text tab in the upper left corner of the Agent Console, click on a category to view available scripts for that topic, and double-click to insert the desired script into the text box below the transcript. From here, you can modify the wording, or just hit “Send”.
Answers to some common questions can be found in the scripts as well. For instance, if you have an Orange County patron wondering why a book is checked out to them, when they haven’t received it in the mail yet; there is already a script in the OCLS folder addressing this very question. J There’s no need to lose time searching through an unfamiliar library website when the answer is a simple click away. Or perhaps the patron wants to know how to save or print the chat – there’s a script with the answer!

So take a bit of time while you’re on the desk to familiarize yourself with the available scripts – and perhaps even add a few of your own.

Susan Smith, Hodges University says:

Don’t forget all your reference interview skills. Engage the patron, establish a connection, ask for clarification about his or her question. Follow up to see if the answer you’ve provided is what they were looking for, remind them they can come back later if they need more help or have other questions.

Use the script libraries—better yet, create your own personalized scripts.

Tell people what you are doing either as you do it or even before you do it—it helps in several ways—first, they know that you are interested and engaged, second they know you didn’t abandon them, and third, it can help teach them what to do in the future.

Tina Peak, Lake Wales says:

I give them guidance on getting to their home library’s database list. If they haven’t listed their home library on their entry question I always ask. There are a lot of Florida libraries who spend their precious dollars on good databases and their patrons don’t know how to use them. I refer customers to Florida Electronic Library, but I also encourage them to seek information on their own library’s website.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH RENEE, SUSAN AND TINA, they have won the March Madness Customer Service Tip Award!! Prizes are on the way!