Libraries 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.
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.