Three requests I asked of our library lead team

My maxim for customer service is that you give customers what they want, and then you give them something that they didn't know they wanted. I'd like to think that this is how I deal with every customer I come across, whether it's in person, online or by phone. But for some reason, this isn't how I expect to be treated when I'm the customer in question. Whether I'm in an electronics store, shopping for shoes, stocking up on groceries as a part of our household weekly shop, or online shopping for donut rolls for my hair (which aren't real donuts, I want to add), I choose not to hold store staff accountable for the kind of service I receive.

I'm not sure why I make this concession or compromise. I feel that I *should* expect the same high standard of others in customer service that I strive to provide as consistently as possible. This was a thought that I kept in the back of my mind when, recently, I asked to appear at a Lead Team meeting. (You can view the 'who' and 'what they do' of our Lead Team here). I wanted to ask for their support with three seemingly small requests that I felt would help the organisation, and not just myself, live up to that maxim.  I don't mind admitting that I felt nervous. I say 'seemingly small' because, while the requests are simply worded, each item requires an action on the part of our Lead Team. My nervousness was not because I felt that the Lead Team wasn't up to the task. They are. It's not even that I felt I would not be supported in what I needed. They have never let me down yet. It was more that what I was asking for was a confirmation that everything I'm trying to do on behalf of the organisation, is valued. That, in short, our customers opinions are valued and, by association, that I am valued.

A big part of what I do when engaging with customers in our social media spaces is deliberately seek feedback about what services do/don't work for them. This means that a lot of the questions and suggestions we receive can't be answered by me directly. I have a solid working knowledge of how a lot of our policies and systems work thanks to six years on front desks in community libraries. This definitely comes in handy. What I don't have, though, is knowledge of how or why those systems and policies are written the way they are, or even what the intent behind them was. In order to get changes made that re-shape our services (thereby ensuring we remain relevant in our customers' eyes), I need the support of our Lead Team. Hence my three requests.

Every customer tweet that I refer on needs:

  1. To be taken seriously - regardless of how unusual any request or suggestion seems (or even the age of the customer voicing it), every piece of feedback needs to be treated seriously
  2. To be investigated - if we were to implement a suggested change, what would the consequences of that action be?
  3. A quick response - that immediate action (same day or next day at the latest) be provided by relevant staff

I received the full support of the team :) Unintentionally, they lived up to my customer service maxim, and gave me something that I didn't know I wanted: the assurance that they could be contacted, by me, at any time if so required. I was also assured that my role is not to respond to every query myself (except where I can), but to find those who can provide the necessary answers within the given timeframe. They're small things, but I feel like my cup truly runneth over. I feel like our customers opinions are important. On a smaller level, I feel like what I do is relevant.

I'm not advocating any other library system do this. Or at least, not exactly how we did. I just thought I'd share something that worked for us. Some of you might find it interesting.

Note: Last night, I queued this up to post with the relevant link *sighs* Blogger ate the original post up something fierce, and what went out looked incomplete. It brassed me off no end. I yanked the link and spent an age trying to re-create what was a good post into this *somewhat disgruntled look*

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