Dream services for nightmare patrons 2012
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Dream services for nightmare patrons 2012

on

  • 2,306 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
2,306
Views on SlideShare
2,306
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
21
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • This section was originally titled “problem patrons” but I decided to change it because the problems I want to talk about aren’t really in the patron—but in the patron’s reaction to not getting something they want. Oftentimes (not always) the thwarting factor can be traced to poor or inappropriate customer service on the librarian’s end of the transaction. Usually a patron doesn’t become angry all at once: they go through a three stage progression. Disappointment: Patron wants something and is unable to get it. Frustration: Patron tries to make things right and is not successful; feels unappreciated. Anger: Dissatisfaction explodes in an inappropriate manner. Work to defuse angry situations; it’s the job of public services to make the patrons feel welcome and comfortable, remember! Don’t match their mood. Library Policies vs. Judgment Calls Know your policies, and apply them—but don’t let them stand in the way of good customer service!
  • Suggested tips for responding to swearing/bad language Address the patrons using formal names: Mr. Smith, Miss Roberts, Sir, etc. Confront them with their behavior Tell them how it makes you feel Let them know how their behavior is affecting the service that you know you’re capable of providing Ask for their cooperation Library Policies vs. Judgment Calls Know your policies!! Apply your policies BUT, DON’T LET THEM STAND IN THE WAY OF GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE!! Discussion of problem patrons
  • In Defusing the Angry Patron , Rhea Joyce Rubin lists twenty basic strategies for defusing anger. Set the tone for the exchange Breathe and count Treat the Patron with respect Listen Acknowledge and validate Focus on the problem Concede a minor point Avoid red flag words Don’t argue Disagree diplomatically
  • Don’t justify Don’t use one-upmanship Apologize Use bridge statements Define the problem Use the Salami Tactic (“When the patron’s problem is complex, try slicing it into manageable pieces…after listening and validating, say something like ‘It sounds as if there are a number of things we need to address. Let’s take them one at a time, ok?’”) Take your time Be assertive Don’t make idle promises Involve a colleague Every situation is different, every patron is different, but the best piece of advice that works in all situations is keep cool, and keep your wits about you.
  • Policies that relate to the big picture are policies that are well-thought out. In crafting policies or changing existing policies, start with specifics…get to the big picture later. Start with what happens in real life on the front lines of the library service desk when that policy has to be enforced. Does patron behavior really have to be corrected? It does if the behavior is threatening, disrespectful, abusive, disruptive, then of course. An important policy to have in place is a Library Code of Conduct.
  • A mention of the effect on a staff person's morale after dealing with a particularly difficult patron.  For managers/supervisors, remembering to check in with your staff member about it, just to ask "are you ok?" and sympathize a bit, can help a lot (LG)
  • Discussion Be “disarming” they are probably frustrated that something isn’t working right—sometimes something as simple as saving and rebooting can solve the problem. I would allow them to keep their dignity and finish bathing, but make them aware that bathing is not allowed in library bathrooms. Service points can work to provide a list of shelters and other organizations for referral It’s ok to exercise some authority here, or to be disarming through humor…remember, you can start out nice “Oh, do you want to help me shelve some books” or connect with them. Often times misbehaving children are in need of something to do—”I’ll go shelve a book, but are you interested in a book of your own, or maybe a game?” or offer to relocate them to an area where talking/discussion is allowed.
  • Never offer a ride to an unaccompanied minor. Contact the authorities and wait for them to arri Sometimes those that smell aren’t even aware of their odor. Again the “I don’t know if you’re aware, but….” approach can help them. They may react negatively, or they might be embarrassed. Make it “no big deal” offer them some possibilities for a place for a shower or bath (they might appreciate it) This one is more of a challenge in some sense…as long as the homeless/malodorous are at the library, not causing any major problems, they have just as much a right to use the space as anyone else. Sleeping, snoring, sweating, urinating—a big different situation in some sense too--when the situation is more problematic, it may be more appropriate to ask the patron to leave, or contact authorities. When someone is being not only disruptive, but is making inappropriate, even sexual advances, this has the potential to be a larger problem. Making the offending individual aware of the quiet space , and that others are trying to do research may solve the problem—sometimes the fact that someone recognizes what’s going on is embarrassment enough to stop the behavior. If not, certainly this is the kind of disruption where the authorities might intervene if it persists. I’ve always been hyper wary of “Flashers” this is more deviant behavior, and should be taken very seriously. Contact the authorities immediately to deal with anyone exposing themselves. A next step in this deviant behavior could be a sexual assault.
  • Never offer a ride to an unaccompanied minor. Contact the authorities and wait for them to arri Sometimes those that smell aren’t even aware of their odor. Again the “I don’t know if you’re aware, but….” approach can help them. They may react negatively, or they might be embarrassed. Make it “no big deal” offer them some possibilities for a place for a shower or bath (they might appreciate it) This one is more of a challenge in some sense…as long as the homeless/malodorous are at the library, not causing any major problems, they have just as much a right to use the space as anyone else. Sleeping, snoring, sweating, urinating—a big different situation in some sense too--when the situation is more problematic, it may be more appropriate to ask the patron to leave, or contact authorities. When someone is being not only disruptive, but is making inappropriate, even sexual advances, this has the potential to be a larger problem. Making the offending individual aware of the quiet space , and that others are trying to do research may solve the problem—sometimes the fact that someone recognizes what’s going on is embarrassment enough to stop the behavior. If not, certainly this is the kind of disruption where the authorities might intervene if it persists. I’ve always been hyper wary of “Flashers” this is more deviant behavior, and should be taken very seriously. Contact the authorities immediately to deal with anyone exposing themselves. A next step in this deviant behavior could be a sexual assault.

Dream services for nightmare patrons 2012 Dream services for nightmare patrons 2012 Presentation Transcript

  • Dream Services for Nightmare Patrons
  • Using this software
    • Microphone
    • Raising your hand
    • Green  / Red X
    • Laughing / Clapping
    • Stepping out
    • Text chat
    • Audio
    • Full Screen
    • Exiting
  • Objectives
    • Understand difficult situations that may come about in the library environment
    • Apply excellent customer service principles when dealing with angry patrons
    • Be empowered to handle more serious issues that can affect overall comfort and safety in the library environment
  • Nightmares: a discussion
    • Take a few minutes to share some of your nightmares
    • Not every detail, but types of situations you have worked through
    • Example: “Group of patrons organized a game of tennis with real racquets/balls in the government documents area”
  • Nightmare patron types
    • “ You’ve got it, why won’t you let me have it???”
    • “ I was told….”
    • “ I KNOW I turned this in last week, it had a blue cover!”
    • “ You’re my captive audience, I’m going to make you my psychologist for the day” (psychologist might also be “personal researcher,” “confidante,” etc.)
    • So, um, where are your books?”
    • “ My son’s science project is due tomorrow, I’m here to do the research for him while he’s at soccer practice”
    • Infinitely more, including the procrastinator
  • Deeper nightmares
    • Bathing/shaving in library bathrooms
    • Body Odor
    • Drunk (Drugs) and disorderly
    • Mentally Ill, Off Medication
    • Stalking via the public service desk
    • Kids left alone/gone wild
    • Crime/weapons
  • Finding solutions
    • Irate Patrons
    • Deeper nightmares
    • Policies
    • Training with scenarios
  • Dealing with irate patrons
    • “ Problem patron” or “troubled librarian?”
    • Progression:
      • Disappointment
      • Frustration
      • Anger
    • Don’t let patron anger stand in the way of good customer service!
  • What did they just call me?
    • Address them formally
    • Call them on it – confront the behavior
    • Tell them how it makes you feel
    • Their behavior affects the service you could provide
    • Ask for cooperation
  • Defusing anger
    • Set the tone
    • Breathe and count
    • Treat patron with respect
    • Listen
    • Acknowledge and validate
    • Focus on problem
    • Concede a minor point
    • Avoid red flag words
    • Don’t argue
    • Disagree diplomatically
  • Defusing anger, cont’d
    • Don’t justify
    • Avoid one-upsmanship
    • Apologize
    • Use bridge statements
    • Define the problem
    • Use the Salami Tactic
    • Take your time
    • Be assertive
    • Don’t make idle promises
    • Involve a colleague
    Rubin, Rhea Joyce. Defusing the Angry Patron. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2000. p45.
  • All in all, needs are simple
    • Recognition
    • Understanding
    • Importance
    • Comfort
    • Complaint handling
  • Policies
    • Must be reasonable
    • Must be enforceable
    • Must relate to the big picture
  • Four tests of a legally enforceable policy
    • It must:
    • Comply with current statutes & court cases
    • Be reasonable
    • Be clear
    • Be applied without discrimination
  • Sample public policies
    • Boston Public Library
    • http://www.bpl.org/general/policies/
      • Well organized
      • Different policies well defined
    • Marriott Library, University of Utah
    • http://www.lib.utah.edu/info/policies.php
      • Well organized (LibGuides)
      • Love heading “Patron Responsibilities”
  • Policies vs. judgment calls
    • Know your policies
    • Apply your policies BUT
    • Don’t let your policies stand in the way of good customer service!
  • Deeper nightmares
    • Bathing/shaving in library bathrooms
    • Body Odor
    • Drunk (Drugs) and disorderly
    • Mentally Ill, Off Medication
    • Stalking via the public service desk
    • Kids left alone/gone wild
    • Crime/weapons
  • Recognize potential threats
    • Problem patrons
      • Vandalism
      • Noise
      • Theft
      • Violence
    • Weapons
    • Sexual predators
  • Potential threats
    • Family issues
      • Divorce/break up
      • Domestic situations
    • Hold up
    • Bomb threat
    • Terror
    • Stalking
  • Handle with care
    • Know when to call police/security
      • Moreover, feel empowered, as a staff member, to do so without negative repercussions
    • Become familiar with agencies in the community that can help
      • Maintain a list of these agencies at service areas
      • Create partnerships that work
        • PLCMC—Social workers visit the library once a week
  • Employ sensitivity and understanding
    • Bathing in the restroom?
      • Address it, but let her finish—she’s preparing for the job interview that could get her back on her feet
    • Going crazy and cursing everyone out?
      • A perfectly normal, gentle man with a blood sugar issue
  • Training with scenarios: what would you do?
  • Scenarios
    • A patron slams the mouse and keyboard around on a public computer and mutters something about “…poor library service.”
    • You find a patron bathing in the restroom
    • After asking a teenager to be quiet, she tells you to “like…go shelve a book or something”
  • Scenarios
    • It is time to close the building, and an unaccompanied 8 year old child asks for a ride home
    • A homeless patron’s personal odor is offensive to everyone in the building
    • A man in the building approaches women trying to do research to “chat them up;” there have been several complaints
  • Thank You for Attending!
    • Questions?
    • Professional Development
    • 1.800.999.8558
    • Web: lyrasis.org
    • e-mail: russell.palmer@lyrasis.org
  • Welcome Back!
    • Day 2
    • Let’s get situational!
  • Opening
    • Prior to opening, only authorized library staff should be allowed in the building
    • Never count money in the open, in front of patrons (get that done before opening!)
    • Make sure that all exterior doors are locked after entering
    • Lock “staff only” areas at all times
    • General announcement after doors are open--avoid surprises at service desks!
  • Closing
    • Double check all stacks, bathrooms, public areas before locking the building
    • Make periodic announcements that the library is closing; or walk around and let people know
    • If you had a problem patron (potentially refusing to leave at closing) phone the Police before initiating closing procedures
    • Security in numbers, leave in groups if possible or call an officer if you cannot
    • Never make bank deposits in the evenings/after hours
  • Working Alone (or with minimal staff)
    • Avoid this situation if at all possible
    • Keep your duties to a minimum
    • Increase your awareness
    • Never admit to being alone
  • Enforcing policies
  • General guidelines
    • Surface to air missiles—last resort
    • Identify yourself as staff member
    • Firmly point out observed behavior
    • Explain/show policy, policy documentation
    • Introduce consequences
    • Speak assertively, not argumentatively
  • Remember!
    • Well established, well documented policies back us up in these situations
  • The homeless
    • For many, the library is a warm, welcoming environment
    • Difficult situations, however, do arise:
      • Mental health
      • Body odor
      • Conflict
  • Things that help
    • Mental health—many libraries have partnered with local mental health agencies
    • Occasional on site presence from mental health professionals to offer preemptive assistance
  • Odor
    • Trend in libraries is to ask those with extreme odor to leave
    • “ I don’t know if you’re aware, but your odor is distracting others who are trying to read or study.”
    • “ We welcome you to use our library any time, however, we have to ask you to leave until you resolve the problem”
    • Additionally, recommend local agencies that might help—a place for a meal and a shower?
        • Legal precedent—Morristown, NJ passed an ordinance to keep a homeless man who smelled out of the library. The man sued and won, but the verdict was overturned in federal court on the premise that a library has a right to keep away patrons who constitute a nuisance (1992).
  • Odor
    • here are some great places to go to get a shower, come back after you’ve done that, we’re happy to have you, but right now you need to go and clean up.”
          • This policy can be about odor broadly. It’s just as much about strong perfume as body odor!
  • Tone
    • Non-judgmental
    • Factual
    • Even tone of voice, friendly
    • Make eye contact
    • Avoid negative body language
  • Drugs/Alcohol
    • “ Under the influence”
      • Observe (if possible, alert other staff members)
      • If person is erratic, harmful, or disruptive notify authorities
      • Complete incident report, monitor future behavior
  • Dealing
    • If suspects are in building, contact authorities immediately
    • Wait for police presence
    • Take note of actions/appearance of suspects
    • Complete incident report so others are informed
  • Suspicious behavior/drug paraphernalia found
    • Do not touch it
    • Contact authorities
    • If substance is not connected to an individual or crime, look to authorities for disposal instructions
  • Firearms
    • If illegally in building, alert other staff
    • Do not approach the person
    • Call authorities
    • If threat seems imminent, get people to safety/evacuate
  • Cell phones
    • Changing landscape
    • People access library services/research on mobile device
    • Decide on library policy—silence? Ban?
    • Most libraries have room for quiet space and talking space
    • Phone conversations/noises call still be annoying!
  • Cell phone…conversations
    • “ You may not be aware that the sound of your voice carries and is disturbing others”
    • “ Loud phone conversations may be disturbing those who are reading or studying—keep your voice down while on the phone”
    • Loud rings/ringtones can be disturbing, please silence your ringer while in the library”
  • Noise
    • Patrons patrol themselves…a little bit
    • However, they do like to rely on us to maintain quiet space as quiet
    • “ You may not be aware that the sound carries in here, and it is disturbing others”
    • “ I have had a complaint…”
    • “ Loud noise may intefere with those who are reading or studying. If you continue to disturb others, you’ll be asked to leave”
    • Limit table size when large groups cause noise
  • If noise continues…
    • “ You were asked to be quieter earlier, and the noise level is still too high”
    • “ Perhaps you could break into smaller groups, or continue the conversation outside”
    • “ You need to be quieter, or you will be asked to leave”
  • Breakin’ the law…just generally
    • Remain calm
    • Observe suspect carefully
    • Continuously assess the situation
    • If necessary, evacuate the building
    • Do not interfere or attempt to detain
    • Observe details—clothes, appearance, direction of travel, if in car, license plate
  • Property damage
    • Library property—approach the person
    • Confront carefully
    • General property--“Excuse me, but you are damaging library property”
    • Books/items— “This book is library property. I will now have to repair the item before it is checked out.”
    • Use judgment in assessing damage/contacting authorities—get patron’s information
  • Theft/Security gates
    • Sometimes people forget—
      • “ Did you forget to check something out today?”
      • “ You’ll need to leave that here if you’re exiting the building”
  • Theft/Security gates
    • Sometimes things don’t work properly
      • “ The system may have missed one of your items; let me check those again”
      • Check out receipts help “Do you have receipt for items you checked out earlier? Some of them may not have been properly scanned”
      • “ It seems you may have placed an items in your (bag, stroller, brief case), may we check to see that all the library items you have are checked out?”
      • Rules of thumb
        • Never force
        • Never chase
  • Fighting
    • Clearly must be addressed immediately
    • Ideally, security personnel or police
    • Do not get in the middle of a physical altercation!
    • If situation is critical, and you must approach, do so with multiple staff
    • Engage verbally- “Stop immediately and leave the building!—the police are coming!”
  • Unsupervised children
    • Attempt to locate parent/guardian
    • Contact/Inform the parent
    • If parent/guardian can’t be located, call police/security
    • Do NOT offer children a ride home
    • “ Library staff cannot be responsible for your child’s safety, please control his/her behavior”
  • When children cause problems
    • Juvenile
      • “ (Behavior) is not allowed—is mom or dad with you today?”
    • Teen
      • “ You’re creating a disruption; if you can’t respect my request to stop, I’ll have to ask you to leave the library”
      • “ May I have your name?”
  • Unsupervised adults
    • Some children’s areas have employed “no unaccompanied adults” policies
    • Reasonable to enforce
    • Parents are of course allowed without children to get materials (i.e., sick child)
  • Threats
    • If you are threatened, keep calm
    • Do not try to overpower anyone
    • Create a physical barrier (doors are great, chairs work!) between you and the individual
    • Immediately call authorities
    • “ Threatening behavior is not allowed in the library. You need to leave now or you will be escorted by police”
    • “ Whatever your argument is, we cannot solve it this way. Please leave the building now”
  • Sexual misconduct
    • Stay vigilant
    • Be aware of incidents or patterns
    • Maintain obvious staff presence
      • Example—if someone is leering or staring or seems suspicious, work in that area. Ask that person or someone nearby if they need any help
    • If specific incident occurs, note details, call police
  • Rolling on through the stacks-skateboards, etc.
    • “ <Rolling things> are prohibited in the library. There are designated parking areas outside”
  • Getting tough…
    • It is always a sad challenge when we have to ask patrons to leave the building…
    • “ Excuse me, but you’ve been asked to leave the library. I am asking you to do so immediately, or you will be escorted by police”
  • Getting tough…
    • “ Your behavior has caused a disruption in services for other customers, and I must ask you to leave. If you need assistance in following this direction, the police will escort you.”
  • If something happens--dealing with the media
    • Focus on the solution
    • Apologize when appropriate
    • Wait until all the facts are in
    • Prepare materials
    • Seek legal advice before issuing any statement
    • Take the high road
  • Thank you for attending!
    • Questions?
    • Professional Development
    • 1.800.999.8558
    • http://www.lyrasis.org
    • Russell Palmer
    • [email_address]
  • Thank You for Attending!
    • Questions?
    • Professional Development
    • 1.800.999.8558
    • Web: lyrasis.org
    • e-mail: russell.palmer@lyrasis.org