Wednesday, June 07, 2006

University Libraries Focus on Providing Customer Service

Customer expectations continually change by growing and shifting. Smart organizations pay attention to their customers’ level of satisfaction and expectations.

On Wednesday, May 31, 2006, members of the Libraries’ Service Excellence Working Group (SEWG) and other Libraries’ personnel attended an all-day training program, Focus on Service, sponsored by the Office of Training a Development, a unit of University Human resources.

Training consultants Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou presented a series of fast-paced, informative sessions, covering customer service topics such as why great service matters, identifying one’s customers, knowing customers’ characteristics, and keys to excellent customer service.

The trainers elaborated on a customer service acronym called RATER:

Reliability: being able to deliver what was promised
Assurance: knowing how to deliver what was promised,
Tangibles: ensuring that the physical environment is attractive
Empathy: delivering what is promised with respect and understanding
Responsiveness : delivering what is promised promptly

During the morning session, President Jo Ann Gora addressed the group of 80 attendees, speaking about the importance of customer service and conveying how everyone at the University is the face of Ball State.

“Providing good customer service is part of everyone’s job,” said President Gora in encouraging everyone to take ownership in providing good service.

Kevin Brooks, Manager of the Science Health-Science Library and member of SEWG, said one of the takeaways from the session is how simple things can make a dramatic difference to customers. The group will offer more customer service training at the University Libraries’ Staff College in July. One of the sessions will include examples of simple, but important, details in providing good customer service, such as

- Making eye contact with the customer
- Positive body language, such as having/sharing a smile
- Practicing good listening skills

Kevin commented that it is important to remember that we are providing service to our co-workers, too.

John Straw, Director of Archives and Special Collections Research Center, commented, “I%


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