Liaison Customer Service and Feedback Tips
This article contains tips and advice shared in the 4/19/12 Customer service and feedback liaison discussion section led by Jess Isler.
Know your customer
"Everyone in LIS is a service provider. Service principles apply to all patrons.We can't check these rules at the door." - Mike Roy
Know who you are serving, and adjust your response accordingly:
- Students, Guests of the College, Community members
- Faculty, Staff, LIS colleagues
Confidence and poise in dealing with customer service
You may not be able to answer right away, but what you do know is:
- Your own work responsibilities
- The resources within LIS (including support and connections with colleagues)
- The basics of what we can offer (and what we can't, it's okay to say "no")
Basic elements of every interaction
- You are here to help
- Acknowledge the question and any frustration or confusion that may have been expressed
- Ask questions about the problem to determine the real need / the real story.
- Say what you will do (and whenever possible give an estimated timeframe; at least give a timeframe for when you'll check in), and offer to be in touch as needed if the problem isn't fixed
- (Afterward, as needed):
- Check in and see how things are going
Dealing with difficult situations and negative feedback
- Take responsibility. Don't blame the customer or colleagues.
- Even if the mistake isn't yours, it is worthwhile to take a self-reflective stance and say "we can do better" and "we'll try to do better next time".
- It's okay to make exceptions, but the exceptions have to be balanced with the likely impact of that exception upon the majority of users.
- Constructive criticism tips: give and receive behavior-based feedback
Themes from interviews with customer service veterans
(N.B.: These are all paraphrases.)
- Perspective is everything. Treat every interaction as if you were on a stage. - Joe D.
- We work as a team, knowing this, we all need to take responsibility for solving problems that come our way. - Mary B.
- Circles of influence and concern - Norm C. and Linda R.
- Managers should support various levels of expertise. Need to keep the lines of communication open throughout the process. - Mike R.
- The majority of our energy should be focused on doing what we do best, a majority of our feedback to our colleagues should be constructive. - Sheila A.
- Delivering Customer Value : it's everyone's job / Karl Albrecht
- The seven habits of highly effective people / Stephen Covey
- Customers for life : how to turn that one-time buyer into a lifetime customer / Carl Sewell
- Checklist (this Wiki): http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/Customer_Service
- Circulation Student training: http://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/Circulation_student_training_archive#Customer_Service
Other websites and blog posts:
- Jess' collection of Customer Service, Feedback and Listening websites in Delicious: http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/F3lyqK