Customer service….or not.

DBF and I chatted this morning about her frustrating experience this weekend at a local car dealership.  She takes cars very seriously.  She had done her research, culled through the possibilities, and had chosen The Car.  She ended up so frustrated by what was going on at the car dealership that she walked out.

This woman was going to write a check for the car, and she walked out.  And the dealer will probably never know what happened.

This brings to mind the story passed on during one of the programs offered by MPOW geared to seniors.  One woman attended the classes, dragging her husband with her.  Turns out, he hadn’t been in a library since 1954.

What happened to that man in a library that was so awful that it took him over 50 years to return?

What customer service are we offering to our patrons?  Are we greeting them with a smile?  Are we being as helpful as we can?  Are we making patrons feel like coming back? Or are people walking out after having an awful experience….and never coming back?

Recently I visited a library – whose name and location will remain cloaked for obvious reasons.  Another librarian and I had walked in to present a program for the library.  We were standing there,  bags and laptops in hand, rather obviously looking lost.  To our right was the main circulation desk, at which were seated two librarians.  They were chatting with each other.  They would occasionally look at us, give a faint moue of distaste, and then go back to chatting.  No greeting at all.  Finally, I asked for some help with directions to the room, which was reluctantly given.

Gosh, what a warm welcome.  Made us all warm and fuzzy inside.  </sarcasm> I am assuming most patrons are greeted this way in this particular library.

This.  Is.  Not.  Acceptable.

We work for the public.  We seem to lose sight of this, but the fact remains….we work for the public.  And if the public finds that we’re superfluous and they haven’t darkened our door in 50 years because  of some cranky-pants librarian…..well, that bond issue just may not pass.

If you are a library manager and have staff like this in your library, they are hurting youDo something.  Before it’s too late.

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1 Comment

Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

One response to “Customer service….or not.

  1. I am sorry you had that experience.

    Just to follow up. Did you tell anyone they were rude or unhelpful? Often times when managers have employees that are like this, not enough people will actively complain to make it an issue. Incidents are recorded and will work against bad employees.

    I have a customer survey card at the front desk where patrons can leave their comments and I respond to each personally. (Obviously this has been an issue in my library). Internal and external customer complaints were the best way to justify corrective action.

    I always move in and out of the circulation desk, working it myself and working the reference desk which is adjacent. I would hate to know anyone had a bad experience. Customer service is something my library prides itself on.

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