Library Customer Service: Why It’s Critical and How People Counters Can Help

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  2. 2016
  3. June

library customer serviceLibraries are invaluable community resources, providing essential tools and services for the public and other groups they serve. And “serve” is precisely what a library is designed to do: address the informational needs of those who patronize the library facility. As funding becomes increasingly difficult to secure, it’s important that institutions focus on providing top-notch library customer service and utilize people counting technology to achieve this goal.

Customer Service: Don’t Forget the Basics

Library staff can get caught up in the rigors of their daily jobs — sorting returned books, restocking shelves, leading classes. So it’s understandable if employees overlook the basics of library customer service from time to time. Get your staff in shape by reminding them of the little courtesies that can improve the patron’s library experience.

Remember always to greet each entering visitor with a friendly smile and “Have a nice day” as patrons depart. Make “please” and “thank you” a reflexive part of the staff’s vocabulary, and address visitors as “sir,” “ma’am,” or “miss.” These pleasantries create a welcoming, inclusive, and respectful library atmosphere.

Your Programs: Failing or Flourishing?

Programming is one of the things that libraries do best. Whether it’s a series of children’s activities or events around the holidays, programs often attract and engage participants from a wide swath of the community.

However, how do you actually determine the effectiveness of your programming lineup? In order to ensure that your library customer service is the best it can be, leverage your people counter to measure attendance for each individual program. These traffic numbers will reveal how much patron support each of your program yields and can be useful evidence when requesting continued funding.

What’s more, by using concrete traffic data to identify your most successful programs, you can springboard off this knowledge to create similar programs in the future. With a better understanding of the programs that resonate with your patrons, it will be easier to secure those scarce funding dollars when budgeting time rolls around.

Right-Size Staffing

Consider the Goldilocks principle when it comes to scheduling your employees and providing excellent library customer service. You want to be sure you don’t have too many or too few staff on hand — it’s critical that your staffing level is “just right.”

If there aren’t enough librarians around, queues may form at checkout, potentially leading some patrons to abandon their books, videos, and other material if the line and wait are too long. Conversely, when too many staff members are scheduled, some may find themselves without sufficient work.

Use your people counter to determine the times when your library is busiest and which times are slow. This way, you can use hard data to justify your scheduling instead of simply guessing at how shifts should be staffed, reducing or right-sizing the amount you’re spending on payroll.

Library customer service matters more than ever today. Take advantage of the tools such as people counters at your disposal that can provide the critical insights needed to elevate the library experience.

The Truths Your Retail Foot Traffic Can Tell

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  2. 2016
  3. June

detective looking for truths retail foot traffic can tell

In retail, a people counting system is one of the best ways to uncover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about where people are most commonly walking through your store. Instead of guessing when it comes to staffing, sales conversions, and other aspects of your business, retail foot traffic data provided by people counters gives you the cold, hard facts to right-size your retail strategy.

Truth #1: Staffing

You may think you have the right number of sales associates on the floor at any given time, but by examining your retail foot traffic you can gain insights to better align staffing with traffic volume. It can help you understand the times of day, days of the week, and period of the year when you need to increase or decrease staffing levels.

Maybe you’ve always hired more seasonal workers to handle the holiday crush only to reduce staffing back to “normal” levels at the start of the New Year. But perhaps your people counting system indicates that volume remains high through mid-January as shoppers rush to return or exchange holiday gifts. With insights like these, you can ensure you always have sufficient employees on hand to provide excellent customer service.

Data from a people counting system helps you not only focus on adding employees during busy times, but also making sure you’re not spending more on labor than is absolutely necessary when traffic is slower.

Truth #2: Sales Conversions

Is your sales conversion rate where it should be? Or a better question might be: Do you even know what your conversion rate should be? Investigating retail foot traffic can give you a better sense of how many shoppers who enter your store make a purchase.

For example, a conversion rate that remains flat when foot traffic rises may be cause for concern, as it could indicate that shoppers are either simply browsing instead of buying, or they cannot find the products they’re seeking. On the other hand, perhaps shoppers aren’t converting into buyers because they’re deterred by long lines at the cash wrap. Understanding why conversion doesn’t mirror foot traffic can help you to adjust your operations accordingly.

Truth #3: Promotional Displays

Are your promotional displays actually driving results? Look to your retail foot traffic and POS data to find out. If your promotional display isn’t resulting in more sales of the promoted product, you may need to reposition or rethink the display.

In addition, use A/B testing of your promotional displays to determine which is more effective at drawing shoppers and driving sales. You can adjust display design, location, or time of day/day of the week that it’s promoted to your customers.

Truth #4:  Finding Your Slow Periods

In reviewing retail foot traffic data, you can identify when your store is busy versus when business is slow. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about how to attract shoppers to your store when traffic and sales are lagging. Perhaps you can create a promotion that rewards customers for making a purchase on a sleepy mid-week afternoon or advertise an in-store event to generate interest at a time when shoppers otherwise would stay away.

Retail foot traffic data reveals the hard truths — good and bad — about what’s really going on inside your store. Armed with this knowledge, you can make data-driven decisions about how to improve operations and conversion rates to provide a better experience for your customers.