Give out Pickles: Customer Service Improvement

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Summey, Terri
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In our technological society, people are used to customizable services and quick access to information from a variety of sources. Library customers are why libraries exist and providing good service to customers is one of the keys to creating a user-centered library. This is especially important in those departments, such as Access Services, that are on the front lines of library service and work with people all day, every day. When a person experiences good customer service they become repeat customers and often bring their family and friends. When the customer service is bad, people tell at least seven other individuals. Giving good service to customers is not a new concept, but one that helps provide the foundation of library services. For the past couple of years, one Midwestern university has made improving customer service throughout the entire library a priority. Initially the current state of customer service was assessed. Once this base point was established, each library department established customer service goals. To improve customer service, several types of training were provided to all employees including part-time student assistants. One program that was utilized and helped form the basis for improvement was "Give 'em the Pickle." This DVD with accompanying materials introduced the staff to customer service concepts in a fun way and taught about "giving pickles" to customers. Fulltime staff members are also being trained in Library 2.0 concepts and Web 2.0 technologies to see how they may be incorporated to improve customer service. The experiences of this university library will be shared in this program along with the concepts and training that are being used by the Access Services department to make providing good customer service the top priority of the department.
Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information Center; Georgia State University Library; Georgia Gwinnett College Library
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