Posts in category: customer experience

OCLC Wise: Designed around people, driven by data

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It’s difficult to define just one role that public libraries play in the US, as they are incredibly unique depending on the communities they serve. What is certain is that they are always key players in filling community needs, such as access to healthcare information or immigration services. Wonderful examples include programs like The American Place at Hartford Public Library in Connecticut, which helps immigrants not only prepare for citizenship but also adjust to life in the local community. Or the library nurse program at Pima County Public library in Arizona that brings basic healthcare checks to anyone who needs it.

It’s this diversity that makes public libraries special and demonstrates why the roles they play are so critical. So, while each library is unique, they share a common commitment—to put their community at the center of everything they do.

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Get closer to “customer first” in seven days

Cathy King

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Over the past year or so, I’ve started to see new ‘customer experience’ job titles (like Chief Customer Experience Officer and Deputy Director of Customer Experience) pop up in libraries that have been present in the consumer space for some time. Makes sense. Having someone focus on how people use your products and services across the entire range of your organization and throughout their life with you is such an important part of doing business today.

And while developing a truly user-centric strategy may sound like a big, strategic move, you can start to plan small changes that inspire broader transformation in just a week.

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Make the first move: three ways to initiate relationship-building conversations

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Over the past few years, I’ve seen discussions of customer service shift from measurements of individual interactions to programs that track and analyze all of a customer’s activities. That is, rather than focusing on what makes for a good sale or a good complaint follow-up, the trend is toward examining the entire “customer experience.” I’ve seen dozens of programs and hundreds of articles that aim to help us capture every tweet, post, like, click, thumbs-up, visit, and phone call in an attempt to “know the whole picture” for a customer.

That’s a good step forward. No one interaction happens in a vacuum. But I think it also misses the mark when it comes to library services. What we do is still incredibly hands-on and, for many library users, very personal and creates an experience that’s more than the sum of our analytics.

A recent conversation with Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Chief Executive Officer Gina Millsap brought that message home to me. For her library, they’ve moved beyond customer service and customer experience into a relationship-focused strategy.

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Customer Service Week: three opportunities to build, maintain, or break trust

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Trust is emotional, and is built transactionally

Customer Service Week is being celebrated around the world this week, and the theme is “Building Trust.” And while trust is certainly an emotional concept, it isn’t completely immune to training, practice, review, and reward.

How do you measure and improve in a nebulous area like trust? I’d like to go through three opportunities that are typical “trust points” for most service-oriented organizations. In each case, I’ll suggest how this moment can either build, maintain, or break down trust between you and the people you serve.

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Build joy into your library’s website

What libraries can learn from eCommerce

I’m passionate about Web analytics. This passion ignited before I came to OCLC as I’ve spent most of my career working on eCommerce teams for brands like American Eagle Outfitters and DSW. eCommerce teams use web analytics to optimize experiences for shoppers to ensure that they can find what they are looking for and ultimately click that purchase button.

Honestly, we often pushed past passion to complete obsession. We used to get our key metrics emailed to us every hour on the hour before one VP requested that the emails stop coming out after midnight so the team could get some sleep. Since I’ve been here at OCLC, I’ve found that a lot of what we do in eCommerce can be leveraged for improving library websites as well.

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Visitors and residents: different roads, different maps

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“The map is not the territory.”

That phrase is probably the best-known quote of Alfred Korzybski, the famous Polish-American semantic scholar. He was making the seemingly obvious point that the words we use to describe something are not the thing itself. Nor does a description change the thing itself. Why does this matter? Well, the more layers of abstraction we put between ourselves and actual things, the harder it becomes to relate them back to the “nonverbal domain” as he called it. We can fall down a rabbit hole of concepts and constructs that, while interesting, may not be, well…useful.

That’s why, as we’ve spread the word about our “Digital Visitors and Residents” work, I’ve been gratified to see librarians and institutions look at our tools not as clever metaphors or abstractions. Instead, they are using them in a variety of ways to make real, valuable changes in how they interact with their library users and potential users at the point-of-need.

In short, as long as you look up from the map often to take in your surroundings, it can function as a useful guide rather than

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Happy Customer Service Week: Hitting the mark

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What’s the best customer service you’ve ever helped provide?

The first week of October is Customer Service Week, an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. Librarians understand customer service as well as anyone. They wear their customer service hats every day in addition to all of the others they wear. So to celebrate Customer Service Week, we asked some of the folks at OCLC to share the service they’re most proud of having provided.

It was a hard question to get answers to because, like most good support staff, they want every interaction to be the best from the customer’s standpoint. But I think it’s important to share the stories we’re proud of. They inspire us to do more every day in hopes of hitting that mark again and again.

I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do. If you have any suggestions or ideas for how your experience as an OCLC member could be improved, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at bordasd@oclc.org.

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Happy Customer Service Week: Wow Moments!

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What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received?

At OCLC, the goal of our customer service team—and all of our staff—is to support libraries better than anyone in the world. One way we do this is by focusing on “Wow!” support moments. Not every support interaction is going to be a “Wow!” moment, but when you have one, you remember it for a long time. We know that many librarians wear the “Customer Service Representative” hat in addition to all the others they wear, and that it’s a challenging and rewarding role. So to celebrate Customer Service Week here at OCLC, we thought it would be fun to ask our own staff around the world for their “Wow!” moments on the receiving end of customer service.

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From branches to roots

genealogy-computerFor a very, very long time, the success of genealogy enthusiasts depended on one key attribute: the ability to travel. If you wanted to get your hands on passenger manifests, family histories, local church records, death certificates, marriage licenses and all other manner of ancestral data, you had to travel to the source—to city halls, churches, local newspaper archives and libraries.

Obviously, that’s not the case today. As a novice genealogist, I was able to trace my family history back to France in the late 15th century, but I certainly didn’t do it via planes, trains and automobiles. Like so many others, I did most of my research online. That’s a fundamental change in how both amateurs and professional historians approach the subject.

What has stayed the same, however, is the importance of libraries in genealogical research. Because libraries, more than many other institutions, have been the ones to put all that great, local, historical content online.

All your users need is a library card, an internet connection and a few lessons. Let me share some of what I’ve found out with you, and with them.

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The needs of one

2016-07-05 DisneyAt ALA in Orlando, we heard a great talk from Amy Rossi from the Disney Institute about Disney’s approach to customer service. I’m glad we’ve had a chance to share some notes from her presentation and some thoughts from a few of the librarians who attended. I’d like, though, to take one final look at some of the insights she shared, this time from the point of view of customer service here at OCLC. As head of our customer operations team, it’s not just a subject that I find fascinating, it’s also my passion and my responsibility.

Star Trek’s Mr. Spock famously tells us that, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or, as interjected by Captain Kirk, “the one.” That may hold true philosophically, but not when it comes to customer service. While new products or features may be developed to meet the needs of the many, service questions and concerns are almost always about the needs of “the one.” And that’s where we get into the SPOC Paradox.

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