On a + note

Customer Service: what can we learn from corporate America?

Posted in on a + note by Admin on March 22, 2010

Customer Service:
What can we learn from corporate America?

Every year, my favorite magazine, BusinessWeek, publishes a list of the best customer service companies in America or “Customer Service Champs.” I love the list. Each year, I look for ideas and trends from which we in library land can learn and borrow.

This year’s winners include:

· L.L. Bean received top marks for their quality staff and efficiency, but it was their great return policy, which includes free shipping both ways, that made them number one.

· Apple also has great staff and is very efficient, but they are number three on the list because of their “Genius Bars” (awesome in-store tech support) and roving checkout clerks.

· Nordstrom was in the top 5 for integrating their store inventory systems so online shoppers can access stock in all stores. This sounds just like an integrated library catalog!

· Barnes & Noble put Wi-Fi in 700 stores in early 2009 to encourage longer stays by potential customers. Again, this situation sounds familiar…library as place!

· Amazon.com experienced a great 2009 by expanding their tech services and testing same-day delivery. It worked, as sales soared 10% over the previous year.

· American Express focused in 2009 on hiring staff with hospitality training and experience rather than call center experience. Again, their ingenuity paid off; they ranked eighteenth on the BusinessWeek list.

· Southwest Airlines is the only major carrier that does not charge customers to check two bags; revenue per seat was up 7% in December 2009.

So what can library land learn from the list?

· Good customer service pays off! Make the wise business decision to focus staff on the customers’ experience and not what is easier for the library! It’s not about us; it’s all about them!

· Little things, like free shipping or no-fee baggage, really count. A mystery shopper or very short, 2-3 question customer satisfaction survey will tell you a lot about what drives library customers away.

· Be like Apple! Be like L.L. Bean! Make it easy for folks to do business with you!

· Customers need to be recognized and greeted within five seconds of walking through the door! This action is no longer an option; it is a business necessity.

Kitty Pope
kpope #6 March 2010


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