Basic Customer Service Skills


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Basic customer service skills training and refresher session for circulation staff.

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Basic Customer Service Skills

  1. 1. Customer Service Skills Granby Public Library System, Fall 2013 Granby, CT 06035 860.844.5275
  2. 2. Consider the Mission  A public library is here to serve the public. We do not have a ‘hidden agenda’ to sell or make a profit. Our mission is to serve the public and to meet their needs for free access to materials and information.  As a public library, we do not discriminate against age, race, gender, religion or socio-economic status.  Essentially, we work for our patrons, the taxpayers.
  3. 3. Basic Meet & Greet Behavior:   A simple Good morning or Good Day is often sufficient, especially if busy with other patrons. If busy, try to make eye contact as a patron comes near the Desk and acknowledge by a simple I’ll be with you in a moment. Thanks for waiting.  Some patrons don’t want to appear clueless (especially Teens), so you need to be the first to offer help. A friendly “Can I help you?” often breaks the ice. If they decline help, then leave them be – but keep an eye out, just in case!
  4. 4. The Telephone Welcome * Listen * Refer * Closing        Answer as quickly as you can. Salutation and identification--“Good morning, Granby Public Library. May I help you?” Speak with a smile in your voice - a smile can be heard over the phone. Always ask if you can put the call on hold, if it’s necessary; and let the caller know if you’ll be transferring the call and to who, if possible. Offer a time frame for a return call or follow-up action. If you don’t know the answer – “Let me find out for you” or “I’ll have xxx call you back.” When ending the call, remember to thank them.
  5. 5. Customer Service: Children’s Department  Children are the reason we’re here. Ask them if they need help, offer them a sticker, make them feel special! Remember that a child who enjoys reading will grow up to be an adult who enjoys reading – and uses the Library.  The customer comes first – even kids and teens! It means we stop whatever we are doing – shelving, inventory, chatting with a co-worker, checking our email – and help our younger patrons.  That child deserves your complete attention. If possible, be at the child’s physical level to establish rapport.
  6. 6. More customer service for kids  It’s not polite to point! Take the time to bring the child to the item they are looking for. Don’t just point them in the general direction.  If you are absolutely swamped at the Desk and cannot do so, check back with that child when you are free to make sure they found what they needed.  Don’t ignore a child at the Desk in favor of an adult who is waiting their turn. If the adult becomes impatient, acknowledge them with a smile and tell them you will be happy to help them in just a moment. You can also direct them to the Adult Desk if they cannot wait.
  7. 7. Customer Service: the Extras When you’re on duty, you’re working.  Keep conversations brief. If there’s enough time to chat extensively, then a patron is not being helped, a fellow staff member is being over-burdened, or a project is not being completed.  Come up with a simple explanation that would help end the conversation without offending the patron but that allows you to extricate yourself gracefully.
  8. 8. Customer Service: Extras The Voice of Discretion  Be mindful of discussing patrons or anything personal while working at the Desks – sound carries throughout the various Library spaces.  If something pertaining to a patron’s history needs to be discussed with another staff member, do so quietly or in the Staff Room or Kitchen.  Do not gossip about patrons – adult, teen or child.
  9. 9. Customer Service: Part II Difficult Situations
  10. 10. Problem-Solving: The Good . . .   If the patron appears to have a problem (fines, lost items), try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible in a manner that allows the patron to retain their dignity. Do not be condescending nor punitive in your manner. If we lose that $2 fine, so be it. Good will travels far! We think this is Good Will --
  11. 11. Problem-solving: the Bad . . .       Don’t take it personally Keep your tone modulated; remain calm Body Language - maintain eye contact and nod to show that you are listening Write notes or paraphrase to assure that you are listening to the patron Ask them how they want the situation resolved, then suggest options for resolution – use your best judgement! Confirm the agreement and thank the patron for their time and patience “Here’s what I can do for you . . .”
  12. 12. . . . and the UGLY! You’ve tried your best but the patron is still frustrated, perhaps even rude. Don’t continue on your own.  Explain that you will get a supervisor to assist  Don’t show your frustration  Thank them for their patience And into the sunset you ride knowing you did your best . . .
  13. 13. Final Thoughts:     Communication is not give and take -- it is give and seek Don’t get angry -- get interested Stay relaxed and good-humored If you don’t know what to do -- do polite.