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Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times
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Designing A Customer Service Plan During Hard Times

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A description of the customer services plan developed by Mountain View Public Library during tough economic times. The circumstances, thought processes, decisions made, and plan are all provided.

A description of the customer services plan developed by Mountain View Public Library during tough economic times. The circumstances, thought processes, decisions made, and plan are all provided.

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  • Name, Job title, & Library
    Url for Campaign- longer than your arm. It’s on the handout as well.
    Going to talk about a defined campaign based on newly identified and/or growing needs of the community due to the economy.
  • We’re going to go over the first few slides pretty quickly.
    Background to give the plan context and also so you can see that we did this with very little staff time.
    Transportation an appropriate theme for my city.
    Of the 4.25 FTE most of the planning was done by a Library Asst III, our web person and myself.
    Other librarians contributed specific handouts or ideas within the campaign
  • It doesn’t matter what the politicians call it, the economy has been on a downslide.
    As citizens and librarians we know this by our experiences in our personal lives as well as what we see happening at work.
    Reported US unemployment for June was 9.5%
  • As you can see, California’s unemployment is higher than the national average, at 11.6% for June.
    For California this is the highest unemployment rate to at least 1985.
    By far the worst I’ve seen in my career as a librarian.
  • Narrowing it down to my City specifically you can see the rate is 8.8% for the same time period.
    At first this sounded like good news, not as bad as the rest of the state nor the country.
    But then you notice that for the City of Mountain View this is considerably higher than it has been back to 1985.
  • No surprise to anyone in this room- As the economy sinks, we just get busier.
    Double digit growth each year is the norm.
    19% increase in circulation and a 22% increase in visitors.
  • The downturn in the economy this year has been significant enough to affect our budgets this year.
    So far we have already instituted a 10% budget cut.
    This has translated into, among other things, a 5% overall reduction in materials & a librarian position frozen as a future reduction.
    These stats boil down to this- things are not going to get better in the near future.
    We can expect business to remain high, budgets low, and the needs of our customers feel more critical each day.
    Next fiscal year we are facing what appears to be another 6-8% cut in the City’s budget.
  • The call from our director is based on multiple concerns:
    We need to convince the City Manager that we are too valuable to cut. That cuts should be given to other depts.
    We need community support and City Council support as well. The library needs to become even more visible to them.
    We need to find efficiencies, identify work that we can give up, and find ways to support newly identified needs.
    All this needs to be done with less staff (hiring freeze or doing other work) and with no additional money available.
    This last comment- “Isn’t Reference Dead anyway” will become important as I describe our campaign.
    It’s one of what I would call our ‘sidetracks’ (keeping with the train theme). This campaign became an opportunity to revive my staff’s enthusiasm for what they felt was real reference work.
  • First thing we did was have a brainstorming session that focused on these questions.
    Thinking back on this with hindsight, I realize these are questions we should be asking ourselves every year regardless of the economy.
  • Some things were really obvious like resume books, job hunting, etc.
    Others were not as obvious- our customers are in budget saving mode too so they are not buying as many movies or books.
    People are taking jobs that may be further away or saving money by using public transportation.
    How-to books are suddenly very popular. Craft books, budget cooking, repairs, knitting, sewing, etc.
    Sister on eBay- Selling rubber stamps as fast as she can list them.
    Another area that wasn’t obvious at first- stress reduction, meditation, exercise, just general well being kind of stuff.
  • While the questions weren’t all that different the format of what our customers needed to do has changed.
    We found we had a lot of customers who needed to use the computer for a variety of purposes and they had no idea how to do that.
    Managers to bag boys.
    66% of all jobs have to be applied for online now.
    Holds on popular items were suddenly skyrocketing. Dvds that usually had 20-40 holds now had 80-100 holds.
  • Popular things that we were already doing were our computer classes including an intro class and an intermediate class that showed customers how to sign up for, and use, email.
    We had recently been focusing on doing more Reader’s Advisory which translated to more readings lists.
    Our director had asked us some time ago to beef up adult programming offerings.
    We talked about expanding all of these offerings.
    And of course there was the usual work we were doing as reference librarians such as collection development and answering questions.
  • Job hunting and resume work was the biggest unfilled need that we identified.
    There was also a decided increase in employment related questions such as medical insurance, unemployment insurance.
    A significant interest, often a personal one, about money and financial information was also growing.
    Some were people just trying to understand how the banking and car industries got into so much trouble so quickly, but for others (and I would say the majority) it was about personal finance.
    So many of us have invested in the stock market through our employers and we haven’t a clue about how it really works or how to invest smartly in anything.
    When things were good we were able to ignore these questions for the most part, this had changed radically now.
    And of course there was the housing market. Mortgage information has become very hot as well as refinancing.
    Most of these questions had some kind of legal tie-in with them which make them difficult to answer since traditionally we don’t answer legal questions ourselves.
  • Once we had drilled down into what was really needed we realized that it wasn’t really all that different from what we were doing already.
    During our discussions we realized that mostly we needed to expand our offerings and make them more specific.
    We needed more classes, more handouts, more titles, more programming, and more training.
    Outside of all this discussion was a significant amount of interest in getting into social networking tools on behalf of the library.
    We weren’t getting much traction on this with the powers that be due to a number of reasons.
    We realized that here was an opportunity to move into this field using the campaign we were designing.
    You could sense interest and excitement building as we were coming up with ideas of things to do. Much of what we were planning was professional work.
    The most important thing we realized that all of this needed to be unified in some sense. We were doing a lot of the work already and we were about to do more of the same. Our problem wasn’t really the work, it was this need to be unified and identifiable.
  • We realized that we needed to focus on branding. Branding would allow us to not only identify ourselves as provider of this particular service and/or goods to our customers, but just as importantly, it gave our director something to take to the City Manager and the City Council. By branding everything we did we could create a specific list of activities that we would provide now. And as time went on and we continued to use the brand we would be able to expand that list throughout the year. We were going to sell our product both internally and externally by branding it.
    If anyone else is considering the idea of branding then you might want to check out these top 5 books recommended by about.com. They are on the handout.
  • Our brand needed to consist of three things: a theme, a log, and a tagline.
    The actual logo and it’s accompanying tagline is what you’ve been seeing in the upper right corner of all of these slides.
    I’m proud to say that I get to take credit for coming up with the train theme myself. I don’t remember why or how it came to me. I worked in the History Center of the library for a long time so maybe the idea of trains was already there. Even today trains are still important to MV with the existence of stops for Caltrain, LightRail and hopefully BART as well.
    The actual design of the logo, the tag line, and all the art work was not mine. This was a collaborative effort with other staff members although all the art work is the product of our web master, Peggy Gaugy.
  • As we worked to design our brand we had three goals in mind: flexibility, memorability, and we wanted it to be fun in spite of the serious subject.
    We quickly came up with broad subjects that became the train lines or routes. These were: Leisure, Money, Housing & Legal, Jobs, and Health & Wellness.
    As you can see we then took each line (or subject) and created stops that were named based on specific topics in the broader subject.
    This is the Money Line which has stops such as Money Saving Tips, Investment Info, and Personal Finance.
    Staff was soon referring to the campaign as our hard times train.
  • Once we had the branding sorted out we went back to our list of potential topics and started working on them.
    We knew we wanted to put out several products/services at once in order to launch the campaign.
    Some tasks were assigned and others volunteered to work on topics that they were interested in or related to their selection areas.
    We needed to pull this together quickly so deadlines were essential.
  • We were in the process of preparing the materials budget for the new fiscal year so we had the opportunity to move some money around to specific areas that we had identified as essential to the campaign. This included job information, careers, investment, real estate, crafts, and stress management materials. We added more money to the audio budget so that we could purchase more meditation and stress reduction cds.
    About this time we also started our Friends of the Library DVD collection. We already had a collection of books that were bestsellers available on a first come, first serve basis. We had wanted to expand into dvds for some time. We were able to convince the director to ask for the money by making it part of the hard times campaign.
    Writing all of this into our strategic plan and goals was crucial because this is what our city manager was going to see at the end of the fiscal year. This is where the list of accomplishments would appear in the director’s year end report to him, the report to the City Council, and in the overall report that all City staff would see.
  • Then there was the programming.
    We did some research and found out that there was a nonprofit investment club that was meeting in a library at the other end of the county. I contacted them and they were thrilled to have a new venue at our end.
    Our computer class trainer was given the goal of designing a new class on job hunting.
    She was also began working on handouts for computer and resume help that was available locally or online tutorials.
    Our program person began to work on ideas for craft nights, free movie nights, and anything similar she could come up with.
  • All of us do handouts and we know that the best kind of handouts are the ones that are annotated. Lists are nice but annotations give the list valuable context for the customer.
    We wanted our handouts not only to be useful but timely.
    I like to spend a lot of my personal time looking at different blogs. I had found quite a number of really good blogs that offered money saving tips, financial information, and generally had good posts about currently available information.
    I went to places like LifeHacker, The Simple Dollar, and MakeUseOf.com. The sites I use on a frequent basis on the handout.
    I would find a blog entry on something like Foreclosures: Getting Help and Avoiding Scams and copy the entire article. I’d spend about ten minutes cleaning up the formatting, finding a couple of graphics, and putting in the proper citations to give the blog their copyright due. I would then send the electronic version to our web master and she would spend about ten minutes fixing it for the web pages.
    I don’t expect these handouts to live forever due to the nature of the topics and ongoing events in the financial world. We’ll keep them out for the public for a bit and then swap in new ones as we find them.
    We created an area for these handouts and hopefully our customers have come to realize this is a place to go to see what new handouts come available with time.
  • We already had a blog and as we came up with new events, handouts, etc we would get them featured there.
    As I said earlier, there were a few of us who really interested in getting into social networking tools.
    The director wanted us to spread the word of our hard times campaign everywhere we could.
    We connected the two and got her to agree to letting us start Twitter and Facebook accounts.
    Once we had our foot in the social networking door we were able to move onto other tools as well.
  • Now, nothing new is ever started without hitting some bumps in the road and having other issues arise, good or bad.
    In keeping with the train theme, I call these “Sidetracks.”
    You’ll be happy to know that there aren’t any slides called “Train Wrecks” in this presentation.
  • This was by far the biggest bump in the road when we began to expand our services.
    We had recognized that we had a lot of customers who needed some pretty specific help with computers.
    What we then realized is that we had quite a lot of staff who were not necessarily all that comfortable with the computers either.
    Most of us have time management software as well as security software on our public computers.
    They don’t function the way our home and work computers do. This was a problem for the staff as well as the public.
    We have Tech Aides but they are only in the building about 2/3 of the time we are open.
    I ended up creating a staff computer competency assessment survey that identified which of six key areas each staff member needed training.
    We included any staff person who worked at the Adult Services Reference Desk including Library Assistants, hourly librarians, and Support Services librarians who work weekends for us.
    Designing and teaching these classes probably took more time than the rest of the hard times campaign put together.
    But now we know that any given time day, evenings or weekend, we have staff on the desk who can help customers with any of these issues.
  • The success of combining our hard times campaign with our interest in social networking has created a whole new field of activities for us. This was the positive issue that came up for us, one that we took on by choice. The social networking that we do now has expanded well beyond the campaign and has taken on a life of its own.
    And I’m pleased to say that we now have a social networking link prominently displayed on our library home page.
  • After our campaign had launched we were informed of more upcoming budget cuts.
    Some of our plans such as programming, computer classes, and more intensive resume and computer help has had to be placed on hold for now.
    But if the money comes available we have a clear idea of where we want to go with these ideas and we will be ready to implement them quickly.
  • Measuring success has been pretty straightforward. We continue to count stats at the desk, of course. But we can also count the number of people who are attending programs and classes. We have a general idea of how many handouts we have printed and seen go out the door. The social networking has allowed us to add up new followers, fans, and friends. And, of course, there is always customer feedback. We’ll be able to hand our director some fairly specific numbers when it comes time for her to write her report.
  • This is part of a letter we received that really knocked our socks off when we got it. The director was thrilled to get it and forwarded it everyone she could think of including the City Manager, the Library Board, etc. As someone who spearheaded the Hard Times campaign I can tell you I was almost brought to tears at the idea that something we did could have this much impact on someone’s life. Our director’s email had the perfect subject line when she sent this out. It said: In case you wonder why you do what you do.
  • This pretty much wraps up my presentation. The last couple of slides just give you an idea of some of the resources I use on a regular basis. These are on the handout. As you can see many of the blogs I follow and use for our campaign are not necessarily library based.
  • And these are some of the topics that we have come up through those blogs. When you start to think about saving money you quickly begin to realize that almost any topic can be used. A good example is the list of free foreign languages online handout. I expect as the holidays approach that we will start to offer a lot of consumer information and crafting info as well. You can really go in any direction you want with this.
  • Ok, you all have almost survived the entire afternoon. Congratuations. Thanks for listening.
  • Transcript

    • 1. LOGO Designing a Customer Service Plan for Hard Times Loretta Micheals City of Mountain View Public Library http://preview.tinyurl.com/nmz3be
    • 2. LOGO City of Mountain View • 74,000 Residents • 50,000+ Card Holders • 1.6 Million Circulation • 4.25 FTE in Adult Services
    • 3. LOGO Recession? Depression? United States Unemployment Rate 9.5 % for June 2009
    • 4. LOGO California Unemployment Rate 11.6 % for June 2009 Recession? Depression?
    • 5. LOGO Recession? Depression? City of Mountain View Unemployment Rate 8.8 % for June 2009
    • 6. LOGO Library Statistics for Mountain View Fiscal Year 2008-2009 19% Increase in Circulation 22% Increase in Visitors Economy goes down, our business goes up!
    • 7. LOGO Economy goes down, our budgets go down too! 10% Budget Cut= 5% Reduction in Materials Adult Librarian Position Held What about next year???
    • 8. LOGO •What More Can We Do? •Less Staff •No Money •Isn’t Reference Dead Anyway? Prove how valuable the Library is to the Community! A Call from our Director
    • 9. LOGO Brainstorm Session at an Adult Services Meeting What is in high demand? What kinds of questions are we getting? What are we doing now that we can do better? What needs aren’t we filling?
    • 10. LOGO Results of Session High Demand Information on resumes, job hunting, etc DVDs, Books on CD How-to Books on everything Stress reduction, meditation, exercise
    • 11. LOGOResults of Session High Demand Information on resumes, job hunting, etc DVDs, Books on CD How-to Books on everything Stress reduction, meditation, exercise Questions How do I find a job online? Can someone tutor me on how to use the computer? How do I find an apartment or home? There are how many holds on that???
    • 12. LOGOResults of Session High Demand Information on resumes, job hunting, etc DVDs, Books on CD How-to Books on everything Stress reduction, meditation, exercise Questions How do I find a job online? Can someone tutor me on how to use the computer? How do I find an apartment or home? There are how many holds on that??? Doing Now How-to Computer Classes Fiction Reading Lists Entertainment Type Programming Routine Reference Work
    • 13. LOGOResults of Session High Demand Information on resumes, job hunting, etc DVDs, Books on CD How-to Books on everything Stress reduction, meditation, exercise Questions How do I find a job online? Can someone tutor me on how to use the computer? How do I find an apartment or home? There are how many holds on that??? Doing Now How-to Computer Classes Fiction Reading Lists Entertainment Type Programming Routine Reference Work Unfilled Needs Job Hunting Classes Medical & Insurance Info Money & Finance Education Housing, Legal, more!
    • 14. LOGO A Pleasant Surprise! •We were doing better than we thought. •We mostly needed to expand on familiar tasks we do •We found an opportunity to use social networking tools •Best of all- It was professional work!
    • 15. LOGO Branding • The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. Top 5 Branding Books Recommended by About.com
    • 16. LOGO 1.Theme 2.Logo 3.Tagline Our Brand Consists of a: MVPL Brand
    • 17. LOGO Our goal was: Flexibility, Memorability, & FUN
    • 18. LOGO Planning the Campaign – All Aboard! Staff- Involving staff at all levels, brainstorming related ideas, assigning tasks, provide a deadline. Collection Development- Programming- Handouts- Social Networking-
    • 19. LOGO Staff- Involving staff at all levels, brainstorming related ideas, assigning tasks, provide a deadline. Collection Development- Recognizing key areas, adding funds, writing it into strategic plan and goals for the year. Programming- Handouts- Social Networking- Planning the Campaign – All Aboard!
    • 20. LOGO Planning the Campaign – All Aboard! Staff- Involving staff at all levels, brainstorming related ideas, assigning tasks, provide a deadline. Collection Development- Recognizing key areas, adding funds, writing it into strategic plan and goals for the year. Programming- Investment Club, craft programs, movie nights, job hunting computer class, resume help. Handouts- Social Networking-
    • 21. LOGO Staff- Involving staff at all levels, brainstorming related ideas, assigning tasks, provide a deadline. Collection Development- Recognizing key areas, adding funds, writing it into strategic plan and goals for the year. Programming- Investment Club, craft programs, movie nights, job hunting computer class, resume help. Handouts- Topics, design, location, web editions, timeliness, fast turnaround. Social Networking- Planning the Campaign – All Aboard!
    • 22. LOGO Planning the Campaign – All Aboard! Staff- Involving staff at all levels, brainstorming related ideas, assigning tasks, provide a deadline. Collection Development- Recognizing key areas, adding funds, writing it into strategic plan and goals for the year. Programming- Investment Club, craft programs, movie nights, job hunting computer class, resume help. Handouts- Topics, design, location, web editions, timeliness, fast turnaround. Social Networking- Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and more.
    • 23. LOGO Sidetracks • Basic Computer Competency • Expanding Social Networking • More Budget Cuts
    • 24. LOGO Basic Computer Competency • Basic Time Management Training • Advanced Time Management Training • Basic Web email • Advanced Web email • MS Word & Templates • Using Drives- Floppy & USB
    • 25. LOGO Blogspot Twitter Yelp Flickr Delicious Facebook Social Media
    • 26. LOGO •Fewer Programs •Fewer Computer Classes •Resume Help on Hold •One-on-one Computer Help on Hold More Budget Cuts
    • 27. LOGO •Program Attendance •Computer Class Attendance •Handouts Used •Followers, Fans, Friends •Customer Feedback Measuring Success
    • 28. LOGOCustomer Feedback "I wanted to share with you that my little sister (52 years old) has found a job in Mountain View thanks to the Library's Hard Times Train Program. After losing her job, a home of 15 years foreclosed, battling alcoholism and homelessness for 9 months, she came to Mountain View to live with me. The next day I took her to the Library and pursued a library card so that she could begin her journey home through education and community resources. I had learned about the Hard Times Train program and found it innovative and unique. She found the library to be a friendly, non-threatening environment in which to do research and therefore attended daily. Within 5 days she had a job interview with a local construction firm for an office assistant. I want to thank you and the Library staff for helping my sister find her way home again. Now she can move out of my house! So, she'll be back to the Library taking the next Hard Times Train to the housing line. Thanks."
    • 29. LOGO Resources Used Web Sites: • BetterInvesting Club- http://www.betterinvesting.org/ • iLibrarian- http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/ • LifeHacker- http://lifehacker.com/ • MakeUseof.com- http://www.makeuseof.com/ • Mashable- http://mashable.com/ • Red Tape Chronicles- http://redtape.msnbc.com/ • Simple Dollar- http://www.thesimpledollar.com/
    • 30. LOGO Examples of Topics Online Computer Practice Personal Finance & Budgeting Foreclosures: Getting Help & Avoiding Scams Opening Bell: Investment Education Best Apartment Search Tools 10 Useful Comparison Sites To Bookmark 10 Resources for Finding Free and Cheap Things to Do This Summer Free Foreign Lessons Online
    • 31. LOGO Mountain View Public Library 585 Franklin Street Mountain View, CA 94041 http://library.mountainview.gov/ The End

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