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Parramatta questions


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This was presented by Michael Doran at Reference at the Metcalfe 9 May 2019

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Parramatta questions

  1. 1. Analysing customer enquiries as a pathway to service improvement Reference @ the Metcalfe Seminar State Library of New South Wales 9.5.2018
  2. 2. 2 Introductory remarks At Parramatta Library the call came from management for better information about the interactions between customers and staff. In particular the sorts of questions customers were asking. My team, Information & Customer Services, a recently formed amalgam of traditional reference and general customer service, was asked to design a tool to complement existing data sets such as ECR. In public libraries it can be difficult to prevent a distance developing between management - absorbed as they are in complex, long-term projects such as Council amalgamation, or a cutting edge new library at Wentworth Point - and the subtle evolutions of customer-staff relations. Hopefully this tool, known in-house as the Parramatta Questions spreadsheet, has gone some way to bridging the gap.
  3. 3. Management at Parramatta Libraries was looking to gather more information about the interactions between staff and customers​ A spreadsheet was designed to gather this data As a shared document, it is open simultaneously at all customer-facing service points of the Parramatta branch – 6 PCs in total To limit the impost on staff time, data is collected for 2 weeks only The process is repeated after an interval – such as 6 months - then the results compared 3
  4. 4. 4 the core of the spreadsheet is a list of common questions arranged in 16 colour-coded categories clicking anywhere in the cell containing the question text increments the counter for that question
  5. 5. 5 a little VBA code runs behind each worksheet code found by Google…
  6. 6. 6 separate worksheet for each day data is collected data collected is quite granular – 109 common customer questions are listed, arranged in categories navigating links are placed through the worksheet to speed up the process of getting from one question to another
  7. 7. 7 staff can type out uncommon questions in rows at the bottom of each worksheet uncommon questions that occur frequently enough graduate to the list of common questions in the next data period apart from widening the data net, this seemed to have a therapeutic value for staff
  8. 8. 8 all individual sheets for a survey period are added, and the results sorted to find the most common questions
  9. 9. 9 0 5 10 15 20 Question categories: August 2017 a bar graph can be produced within Excel to present the ranking of question categories…
  10. 10. 10 0 5 10 15 20 25 Question categories: May 2018 …and the results compared across different data periods
  11. 11. Document Title Section Title 00.00.2018 11 Interpreting the results: clientele Continuation of previously observed trends: shift in clientele towards those dependent on the library for: • internet access and digital services • clerical and office processes (certifying, scanning, copying) Dependence on the library for access to resources vital to modern life changes the mood of the library environment • government departments reducing practical assistance with forms etc. • instances of customers travelling from one branch to another hoping for another 90 minutes of internet access Clientele skewing towards lower socio-economic profiles; hollowing out of established, well- resourced cohorts (artist’s impression people) results are analysed and presented to senior staff
  12. 12. 12 3.How do I print? 1.Graphical fold-out instruction sheets, post card size or smaller / minimal or even no text (perhaps translated into major community languages) • Wall-mounted instructions involve customers reading / interpreting, and generally blocking other customers waiting to access the device (the amount of detailed information to be conveyed suits neither the location nor the format). 1. To simplify the printing process, investigate lowering frequency of pin requests in Monitor processes (Is this configurable in Monitor set-up?) team brain-storming sessions develop solutions for situations where customers require a lot of assistance
  13. 13. 13 Closing remarks In parting, I would offer that the Parramatta Questions spreadsheet, imperfect as it is, does transmit some fragments of the customers’ collective voice to decision makers. In that sense, it has a significance for an earlier theme of today’s seminar - the relation of justice and library work. Justice inevitably has its beginning in proper respect for a voice.