Liaison Customer Service and Feedback Tips

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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

  1. You are here to help
  2. Acknowledge the question and any frustration or confusion that may have been expressed
  3. Ask questions about the problem to determine the real need / the real story.
  4. 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
    1. (Afterward, as needed):
  5. 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

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