Part 1: Pro-active Customer Service Training in Libraries – Joan Giannone

Today I attended the first day of a training session on Pro-active Service and Roving led by Joan Giannone of MentorGroup Training Inc. I feel really fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this training session since I am part-time contract staff.

The workshop taught me a new way to look at people coming into libraries – they are our customers! I like this approach in many ways as it creates a more balanced view of people coming into the library unlike the term “patron” which seems to create a sense of imbalance and hierarchy. Joan taught us a framework for customer interactions and though many of the steps were pretty basic, it was great to have a refresher on customer service skills and I really liked Joan’s idea of being proactive. Also, Joan helped with teambuilding by stimulating discussion so that awareness was created of the roles we all play in the library. I believe that when library staff are proactive they form a fundamental part of grassroots advocacy for libraries.

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2 responses to “Part 1: Pro-active Customer Service Training in Libraries – Joan Giannone

  1. sounds interesting…I’m going to ask you more about this when I see you on Monday. I like the idea of treating people like ‘customers’. It creates a more welcoming feel. The only problem I can see coming out of the ‘customer’ approach is that you can fall into the trap of doing someone’s research for them!

  2. Learning Librarian

    True, true… We can’t be doing indepth research for everyone as there just isn’t enough time, however we can guide people in their research.

    Really, the point I took from it was that there are too many underserviced/unserviced customers in libraries. Library staff need to reach out and greet people in the library and offer assistance as many people are afraid to ask for help and don’t even realize that they can ask for assistance when they go into the library.

    Unserviced customers aren’t even generally seen/noticed by library staff. They come in and wander trying to find what they need, but leave frustrated, probably never to come back again. Libraries need to embrace these customers and develop a relationship with them to help bring them back to the library and to spread the word that librarians are out there to help!

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