Library customers come in many forms and flavours
Library customers come in many forms and flavours. For example there are the delighted, devoted, disappointed, disaffected, dormant, unrealistic and angry, to name just a few. Each type presents a variety of pluses, challenges and unique skills to handle.
1. The delighted customer is our favorite kind of customer and I suggest; (with no scientific backing) that 60% – 70% of all public library customers fall into this category. They love the library because the staff regularly exceed their expectations, usually with a comment, a smile or a thank you.
2. Devoted library customers, (again with no scientific backing) represent 20% – 30% of our customers. They are the folks that have high library expectations and consistently staff provide them with a great experience. The key to satisfying the devoted customer is don’t neglect them. Staff needs to consistently offer them exceptional, personal service. Just think of the Apple or Tim Horton’s customer experience.
3. The detached customer is the “neutral” customer that is basically satisfied with their library service, but doesn’t love us. These are the customers library staff need to focus on rebuilding the relationship by offering them additional services, information or resources. They are the customers most likely to evolve into devoted or delighted customers so, this is time well spent.
4. The disappointed Staff may have provided great library service to these customers in the past, but now, for whatever reason, the customer feels let down. The solution is having a staff process to quickly and on the spot, deal with their disappointment. Is it offering to add them to the library e newsletter or signing them up for early overdue notices? Staff need some options to return the disappointed customer back to their devoted or delighted status.
5. The disaffected customer is the disappointed customer that the library did not successfully deal with previously. They are now aggravated and ready to tell the whole world about the short comings of the library. This can be the most destructive customer and so every effort needs to be made to turn them into the delighted customers. But, it will take even more work to get them back than the detached customer.
6.The dormant customer is one that was delighted or devoted but has drifted away for a variety of reasons. The key to getting these folks back is staff opening a dialogue with them to rebuild the relationship.
7. The unrealistic customer is one that has expectations that far exceed the library’s capabilities to supply i.e. the customer who wants staff to write their resume, or waive all their overdue fines. The best way to deal with the unrealistic customer is provide staff with phrases that outline the library’s policy and if all fails, a Supervisor to try and satisfy the customer.
8. The angry customer is agitated and focusing their anger on the library. Rarely have even the most skilled customer service folks been able to turn around the angry customer, because usually the customer is angry for reasons that are totally unrelated to the library. The angry customer is raising their voice but more importantly their hand is above their shoulder. This is your cue to immediately call a Supervisor and step back, this is a no win situation. Luckily they represent perhaps less than .0005% of all library customers.
Library customers come in a wide variety of flavours, but it’s this variety that makes library work so interesting, challenging but more importantly so satisfying.
Have a great week.
Kitty Pope #35 September 2014