Changing the Story - Using Social Media in Library Customer Services
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Changing the Story - Using Social Media in Library Customer Services

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A short presentation on the ways Brunel University Library is using social media channels in delivering customer service and CRM, including Pinterest & Storify. ...

A short presentation on the ways Brunel University Library is using social media channels in delivering customer service and CRM, including Pinterest & Storify.

Presented at "Professionalism & Engagement in Customer Service: M25 Customer Service Group Conference, November 7th 2013", Kings College, London.

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  • For this presentation I was given the brief of talking about innovative forms of feedback. I was a bit cagey about that, as I&apos;m not sure we&apos;re doing anything especially innovative, and am a firm believer that there are few new ideas. <br /> When I thought a bit more about feedback I realised my reaction was also about the word itself and the connotations it comes with. <br />
  • To me, it makes me think of feedback forms. When I first arrived at Brunel there was a box mounted on the wall with a supply of tickbox forms and a return slot. I was given a large folder full of print outs of submitted forms, along with printed email trails going back a long time. I think it was this folder that caused most problems. When I think about feedback in this sense, I think of a formal process whereby students (mostly) are expected to submit something, then wait for us to consider it, then respond. It sets a formal tone, and in a setting which can have a tendency towards making rules and policies about everything, that can embed existing unhelpful dynamics... <br />
  • So overall my feelings were that we had a system which was pretty slow at handling feedback, was very much procedural, and rules based. <br /> To my mind, the problem with forms and systems like this are that they are used by a tiny minority, and generally to report problems or complaints. We need this, but there are many many ways top report this type of thing, and its the sort of thing that will generally find a way anyway. The trouble is, it only captures the bad stuff, and sets up a negative bias which runs a risk of embedding a tone that doesn&apos;t work for me. <br />
  • A side story. Recently I&apos;ve been made aware of the work of Jan Gunnarsson, and the concept of hostmanship. He argues that in crowded marketplaces, the art of making people feel welcome is what distinguishes customer services, and the basis of this is equality and respect. <br /> In CS we talk a lot about relationship building, and we need to be aware that we can&apos;t go into this relationship as a superior, or the one with power - everything we do should be rooted in a spirit of all working towards the same aim, and of making people feel we have time. <br /> Retrospect is a marvellous thing. <br />
  • So, back to when I arrived. The discussion at this stage was finding new ways of communicating, making more of our customers aware of the services available, and building new relationships. <br /> After going through lengthy discussions about not wanting to invade student space, or to look like saddos trying to be down with the kids, we finally got the go ahead to move onto Twitter in 2009, with an expectation that we’d use it as a way of getting emergency messages out. <br /> Soon after we were able to launch ourselves onto Facebook, and we also launched a blog with a monthly mailing to all students as a way of getting our messages out. <br />
  • We also started different ways of getting the university community involved in decisions about what was happening around them. As well as asking them afterwards in surveys, we went out there and asked for views on things we wanted to do. About anything. <br />
  • I&apos;ve chosen some example of recent conversations that illustrate some of the discussions we&apos;ve gone through to get the stage we&apos;re at now. Firstly, when to intervene. We have searches set up to look for when we&apos;re mentioned on twitter. At first looked at people asking for friends to let them in etc, and realised intervening there was counterproductive. But what we do is klook for times where people need some help, the same way as we would if we&apos;re walking round the library. We&apos;re up front about what we&apos;re doing, and I think part of our role is making sure people know twitter is a public medium. <br />
  • We&apos;ve had discussions now more people are using the main account about initialling. We tend not to, because it takes up characters, but will always be up front if people ask. Most of the time they don&apos;t care, some as this one have latched onto individuals. It can make for some interesting statements. <br />
  • Here&apos;s another one from Christina - in advance of our open day I asked twitter what they thought we should be selling ourselves on to people considering the university. She highlighted something that pleased me a lot - we have so many ways of people getting in touch now, and aspire towards being available to help wherever they are and in their preferred medium. <br />
  • Another example here of some of the conversations we get into as a result of intervening on things that people may well not expect a response to - we can surprise them, hopefully in a good way, and set up different expectations from the start. <br />
  • So, lots of things have been happening. Alongside this, we&apos;ve been working to get more of our staff involved in social media, and have also been dabbling in new formats, expanding our role in a University setting and using them to start adding more depth. I&apos;ll give you a quick overview of these now, and can answer any questions later on if you&apos;d like to know more - we&apos;re starting at the same point as many of you, so I&apos;d like tips on what yopu&apos;re up to as well. <br />
  • Instagram is something we&apos;ve been watching individually for some time. It&apos;s interesting that we still have a rule about needing permission for photography in the Library, when the general rule of life nowadays seems to be unless it&apos;s photographed and tagged, it didn&apos;t happen. What we&apos;re realising is that conversations nowadays are as much about the visual as the verbal. So we&apos;re in there, posting our own content but also joining and starting conversations. <br />
  • We use a service called pinstagram to search tags and locations on Instagram, so we see what&apos;s being photographed around the campus and the Library, and then we like it. Pinstagram also means we can add it to boards on Pinterest, and we&apos;re starting to use Pinterest boards to gather stories as well as to back up physical displays and events in the real world. <br />
  • We&apos;re also dabbling in storify, using it at key stages of the year to bring together conversations to build a wider narrative - it helps us to build a better awareness of what&apos;s going on outside the Library as well as how things we&apos;re up to are being received, and I think it&apos;s going to be helpful to give staff a better feel for what&apos;s going on in student&apos;s lives and understand more about their needs. <br />
  • I&apos;ve used a clip here from a recent blog post by one of our team to show the directions we can now go in with a wider range of contributors - it taps into some of the discussions this morning about staff engagement and involvement, and I like the image that he came up with in this context. <br />
  • If you&apos;d like to take part in some of our conversations, these are the tags that we promote, but mention us somewhere and hopefully we&apos;ll notice it anyway. <br />

Changing the Story - Using Social Media in Library Customer Services Changing the Story - Using Social Media in Library Customer Services Presentation Transcript

  • Changing the Story Rob Wannerton Brunel University Library
  • Feedback: For this presentation I was given the brief of talking about innovative forms of feedback. I was a bit cagey about that, as I'm not sure we're doing anything especially innovative, and am a firm believer that there are few new ideas. ! When I thought a bit more about feedback I realised my reaction was also about the word itself and the connotations it comes with.
  • Submit Wait Consider Respond To me, it makes me think of feedback forms. When I first arrived at Brunel there was a box mounted on the wall with a supply of tick-box forms and a return slot. I was given a large folder full of print outs of submitted forms, along with printed email trails going back a long time. I think it was this folder that caused most problems. When I think about feedback in this sense, I think of a formal process whereby students (mostly) are expected to submit something, then wait for us to consider it, then respond. It sets a formal tone, and in a setting which can have a tendency towards making rules and policies about everything, that can embed existing unhelpful dynamics...
  • Slow Procedural Rules based Negative bias So overall my feelings were that we had a system which was pretty slow at handling feedback, was very much procedural, and rules based. ! To my mind, the problem with forms and systems like this are that they are used by a tiny minority, and generally to report problems or complaints. We need this, but there are many many ways to report this type of thing, and its the sort of thing that will generally find a way anyway. The trouble is, it only captures the bad stuff, and sets up a negative bias which runs a risk of embedding a tone that doesn't work for me.
  • Dialogue: Take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem A side story. Recently I've been made aware of the work of Jan Gunnarsson, and the concept of hostmanship. He argues that in crowded marketplaces, the art of making people feel welcome is what distinguishes customer services, and the basis of this is equality and respect. ! In CS we talk a lot about relationship building, and we need to be aware that we can't go into this relationship as a superior, or the one with power everything we do should be rooted in a spirit of all working towards the same aim, and of making people feel we have time. ! Retrospect is a marvellous thing.
  • 2009 Facebook Twitter Bookmark Daily So, back to when I arrived. The discussion at this stage was finding new ways of communicating, making more of our customers aware of the services available, and building new relationships. ! After going through lengthy discussions about not wanting to invade student space, or to look like saddos trying to be down with the kids, we finally got the go ahead to move onto Twitter in 2009, with an expectation that we’d use it as a way of getting emergency messages out. ! Soon after we were able to launch ourselves onto Facebook, and we also launched a blog with a monthly mailing to all students as a way of getting our messages out.
  • Choose our carpets ! Choose bag slogans ! Suggest names for spaces We also started different ways of getting the university community involved in decisions about what was happening around them. As well as asking them afterwards in surveys, we went out there and asked for views on things we wanted to do. About anything.
  • I've chosen some example of recent conversations that illustrate some of the discussions we've gone through to get the stage we're at now. Firstly, when to intervene. We have searches set up to look for when we're mentioned on twitter. At first looked at people asking for friends to let them in etc, and realised intervening there was counterproductive. But what we do is klook for times where people need some help, the same way as we would if we're walking round the library. We're up front about what we're doing, and I think part of our role is making sure people know twitter is a public medium.
  • We've had discussions now more people are using the main account about initialling. We tend not to, because it takes up characters, but will always be up front if people ask. Most of the time they don't care, some as this one have latched onto individuals. It can make for some interesting statements.
  • Here's another one from Christina - in advance of our open day I asked twitter what they thought we should be selling ourselves on to people considering the university. She highlighted something that pleased me a lot - we have so many ways of people getting in touch now, and aspire towards being available to help wherever they are and in their preferred medium.
  • Another example here of some of the conversations we get into as a result of intervening on things that people may well not expect a response to - we can surprise them, hopefully in a good way, and set up different expectations from the start.
  • 2013 Pinterest Storify Instagram So, lots of things have been happening. Alongside this, we've been working to get more of our staff involved in social media, and have also been dabbling in new formats, expanding our role in a University setting and using them to start adding more depth. I'll give you a quick overview of these now, and can answer any questions later on if you'd like to know more - we're starting at the same point as many of you, so I'd like tips on what yopu're up to as well.
  • Instagram is something we've been watching individually for some time. It's interesting that we still have a rule about needing permission for photography in the Library, when the general rule of life nowadays seems to be unless it's photographed and tagged, it didn't happen. What we're realising is that conversations nowadays are as much about the visual as the verbal. So we're in there, posting our own content but also joining and starting conversations.
  • We use a service called pinstagram to search tags and locations on Instagram, so we see what's being photographed around the campus and the Library, and then we like it. Pinstagram also means we can add it to boards on Pinterest, and we're starting to use Pinterest boards to gather stories as well as to back up physical displays and events in the real world.
  • We're also dabbling in storify, using it at key stages of the year to bring together conversations to build a wider narrative - it helps us to build a better awareness of what's going on outside the Library as well as how things we're up to are being received, and I think it's going to be helpful to give staff a better feel for what's going on in student's lives and understand more about their needs.
  • I've used a clip here from a recent blog post by one of our team to show the directions we can now go in with a wider range of contributors - it taps into some of the discussions this morning about staff engagement and involvement, and I like the image that he came up with in this context.
  • #Brunel #BrunelLibrary If you'd like to take part in some of our conversations, these are the tags that we promote, but mention us somewhere and hopefully we'll notice it anyway.