Excellence comes from focus. #27: 2013
In Library Land we talk a lot about excellence:
●excellence in customer service
●excellence in library science education
and of course
●excellence in Board development
But, how do you put the desire for excellence into practice?
I’ve been thinking about how to actually achieve excellence and not just use it as a battle cry. So, how do you really put excellent into practice?
►Clearly define what you actually mean by excellence. At GPL our Customer Service Pledge (at the very bottom of the page), puts into words exactly how we define and measure excellence in customer service. We “teach” our Customer Service Pledge to all new staff, regularly review it with staff and it’s proudly displayed in all our branches. Quantifying how the organization defines excellent, needs to be an ongoing activity.
►Listen to your customers. Often they will tell us how they define excellence. This is great information and a practical way to keep focused on excellence. For example, if customers define excellent service as fast and taking 2 minutes to check out each book, you know what needs to happen.
►Keep excellence “front of mind” with emails to staff about great service experiences and stories. I am constantly amazed at the stories customers and staff have about excellent customer service they have experienced. Collect them and use them…they are powerful!
►Create a ‘Staff Award of Excellence’, an honour presented to a staff member in recognition of their excellent customer service. Nominated by their peers, recognition is a powerful and effective training tool, plus a day off with pay is an excellence motivator!!
►Keep your eyes wide open. Excellence can be found everywhere. If you received excellent customer service at your local Tim Horton’s yesterday, what made it so great? More importantly, how can you recreate that experience in the library? We can learn much from the business world and their attention to excellence.
►As a library leader, you need to put your money where your mouth is and model excellence. If the boss can’t walk the walk and talk the talk, it’s highly unlikely that staff will. Modeling excellent customer service and leadership is how you keep the library focused on excellence and moving forward.
Ultimately, putting excellence into practice comes from focusing on defining excellent at every opportunity; listening to how others define excellent; personally embracing excellence in everything you do; and then constantly test the boundaries of excellence.
Kitty Pope #27 July 2013