Monday, January 30, 2012

Episode 1: Capturing Customer Service

Harris County Public Library’s definition of Customer Service is outlined in our Mission Statement.    It is our job to provide our customers with access to knowledge, not to find a way to keep them from attaining it.  We have policies and procedures outlined for us.  We are strictly bound by some policies, but on others we can be more lenient.  As Harris County Public Library employees, we all have the privilege of using our own discretion to make informed decisions for each customer.  We all know that every situation and each customer is different, so it makes sense that we can use our own judgment when deciding the outcome of a situation.

When making the decision of whether or not to be strict with a policy, ask yourself these questions:
  • Is anything I am being asked to do violating this or another customer’s privacy?
  • Will my decision negatively impact another customer directly?
  • Does this customer have a history of abusing the system?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may not be able to give that customer exactly what they want.  You can however try to find options that will have them leaving as satisfied as possible.

On the other hand, if you answered “no” to each of those questions, you have one more question to ask yourself…   Will my decision make this customer happy and therefore more likely to be a repeat customer?  If you answered “yes” to this question, you should do what you can to make sure that customer leaves happy.

All of our libraries provide a great public service to our communities.  That being said, we do have competition out there and we need return business to stay relevant.  It is time for us to start thinking of our line of work as more Customer Service, less Public Service.

Please go over the PowerPoint below on Customer Service.  It offers some good suggestions on how each of us can create and nurture great relationships with our customers. When you are done, answer the questions that follow.
Capturing Customer Service
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...3,2,1 On to the Quest!

Submit your answers to the questions below using the form on Harriet. A good practice is to first type your answers into a Word document. When you are finished, Copy/Paste your answers into the form. This may save you from losing your work. Be sure to submit after you have entered all your answers into the form.

Answer the following questions.  Use the Policies tab on Harriet, the HCPL staff Intranet, to find your answers.
  1. What is the Harris County Public Library’s mission statement?
  2. What does C.A.R.E. stand for?>
Choose the best answers to the scenarios below.  Make sure you use the 3 questions listed above (in the second paragraph of this post) to help you choose your answers.  You may also use the Policies tab on Harriet as a guideline.
  1. In which of these situations would you say no to the customer?  There is only one correct answer.
    Situation 1-----A customer calls and wants to renew an item.  She tells you she has been busy with a family emergency and hasn’t had time to read the book.  She has not renewed the item before but it does have requests on it and is the only copy in the system.  Will you renew the item?
    Situation 2-----A customer calls and wants to renew an item.  She has renewed it twice but is out of town and can’t make it in to return the book.  There is one Hold Request on the item, but 2 copies checked in at other branches.  Will you renew the item?
  2. Remember, we can’t always say yes, but we can try to find a way to make the customer as happy as possible. From the situations above, what option(s) can you give the customer you just said no to?
  3. A customer comes in to return a lost book they paid for and get a refund.  They do not have their receipt.  You look up the patron’s account and find that they paid for the item at another HCPL branch and are due a refund.  How do you help this customer?  There is only one correct answer.
    1. Send the customer to the branch at which the item was paid for.  They will have a copy of the receipt there and will be able to get the refund at that branch.
    2. Call the branch that has the receipt and ask them to fax you over a copy.  Proceed to give the customer the refund.
    3. Inform the customer that they must have their receipt to get a refund
  4. A customer comes to the circulation desk to check out books.   Her children are with her and very excited about the books they have picked.  You scan the woman’s card and see she has fines and fees well above the $25.00 limit.  She informs you that she does not have the money to pay the fine or get it below the limit.  What is the best option you can offer this customer to make sure her and the children leave as happy as possible?  There is only one correct answer.
    1. Offer to hold the books for a few days until the customer can pay her fine.
    2. Tell the customer she won’t be able to check out until her fines are paid below the limit.
    3. Ask the customer if any of her children have library cards.  If not, inform the customer she can get a library card for any of her children and can check out the books using the child’s card.
If you have submitted all the correct answers to accomplish this mission, you will receive the Customer Service Space Vehicle to add to your command. This will let you dig through our cramped but coveted Cargo Hold for a chance to win a great prize. Complete The Fleet by earning all ten vehicles, and you will also receive ten Intergalactic Training Credits.

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