Monday, June 02, 2008

Thoughts About Library Customer Service

Sometimes you have a really bad day. Sometimes you have a bad day and you have a person with really poor social skills demanding your attention.

Sometimes you want to take your fist and deliver a therapeutic one-two punch to help that person come to their senses. I can't do that. For one thing I can't throw a proper punch. The second reason is that I suspect it is against the rules and quite possibly the law.

I repeat, don't hit the doofus. This does not mean that you can't protect yourself from the hostile, the hoity or the clueless.

Good customer service skills can help you gain control over ourself so that you don't allow yourself to get amped by professionally rude people. So this is just a brief survey of some of the resources you can use to build up your customer service muscles.

This is a video that demonstrates a problem library customer and the techniques on how to handle the situation. At the end of the video there are four written tips on the skills used to handle the patron.

Here is my real world example.

I was in a recently in situation trying to help a person. The client felt that I was not helping fast enough. "Why can't you just do it!" she barked. "Why are you asking these questions. I don't have time for this, just get me what I want."

Kinda hard to do when you don't know what she wants and she barely has a clue. I finally get it out of her and hand her the correct document to sign. The woman snatches it out of my hands, signs it and flung the pen across the desk.

I wish I could tell you I did a good job of delivering what she asked for. I didn't I was more focused on getting her out of my face. Intellectually I understood it was not about me, the women walked in with a foul mood. But I could have done a better job of dealing with the situation.

Other Resources

I wish I would have seen the video on how to handle Abusive Customers from Pam at Expert Village on YouTube. There was a segment of how to deal with verbally or physically abusive customers.

Steve over at has a nice 20 item list on some of the things to think about when trying to keep customers happy.

And finally Jim from All gives a concise, easy to understand video outline on how to listen and provide services to an irate customer.

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