Time to go FISHing

Monday, October 19, 11:15 – 12:30

During this time of cutbacks and economic hardship it is especially important to keep our customers happy. First see the FISH! Philosophy video, based on Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish Market customer services methods.

Quotes from Video: “energy, passion, fun, play, choose your attitude, make it fun, we all like to have fun, you have to have fun at work, really dealing in service, realized that serving people is making people happy, be with the people moment to moment, don’t ignore ’em, be present moment to moment, be here now, do what you have to do, you have a choice at work – do what you can to have a good time or don’t, be happy, man, it’s not acceptable to be in a downer mood when you work with the public., choose your attitude, that’s fish”

Then Mark Willis, Community Relations manager for the Dayton (OH) Metro Library and author of “Dealing with Difficult People in the Library” describes simple ways to make improving service fun.

It’s not about the fish, it’s about the people. “I never want to hire someone who says they want to work in a library because they love books – it’s about the people.”
First impressions are important. Be careful of signage, especially negative.
Don’t use the word NO in a sign.
If the library is shabby and/or dirty/cluttered, patrons will do more damage – building not valued.

It’s all about you meeting/greeting the people.
Secret shopper strategy to check on quality of customer service: check w/o library card, get a library card, ask questions, ask to volunteer, etc, etc. Comments of secret shopper are always about attitude.

Be present
Be pleasant
Give the patron your full attention.

Never say, “It’s not my job.” Instead say I’ll find someone who can help you with that.”
Be a team.
Go the extra mile. People expect it. They expect a LOT.
Look at the book stores – they are the success stories in terms of value-added customer service.
Sometimes it’s just the co-workers having a great time at the circ desk. MAKE SURE that the patrons are in on the fun.
Be yourself, and offer personal info if it’s friendly conversation to put the patron at ease.
Art & craft by the librarians exhibition
Staff suggestions
Try to find ways you can bend rules, be flexible toward promoting goodwill, forgive small fines or damaged/lost books. Make exceptions.

Try not to say NO.
For-profit being booked by non-profit to use library facilities. Put menus in staff room instead of on public bulletin board, let people check out reference sometimes.

Take care of each other on the staff – help each other in little ways, be supportive, empathic.
Take care of yourself – be rested, fed, healthy, mentally healthy.

Ideas from the librarians in the audience:

Check voicemail message – make it happy. “The joy of life in your voice”

Recognize people: Thank you notes and/or acknowledgment to donors, to program leaders, to volunteer storytellers, to staff.
Put recognition cards out for patrons to fill out. Put a star on a sheet with each workstation listed.
“Patron of the month” program
“This is the BAD library, Daddy” story – shapeshift a difficult situation with a hostile patron by laughing it off.
Back office to circ desk mindset shift = going on stage, get in character, putting your face on
Look everywhere for good examples of customer service. Open your eyes to what works with you on the receiving end as a customer.
Throw parties. Use any excuse.
Weekly coffee time in the library
Look for the “Giving the pickle” video
Have the staff clap for the little kids getting their first library cards.