Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ball State Libraries' Student Assistants Receive Customer Training

Many areas of the Ball State University Libraries rely heavily on student employees in order to deliver services and implement programs. They are often the “first face” of the library presented to our users. Students answer phones, staff service counters, provide information for other units, and assist both internal and external users of the Libraries in myriad ways.

During March 2006, the Services Excellence Working Group conducted seven sessions of a workshop entitled, “Customer Service 101” for student assistants. At the sessions, students received basic principles of customer service.

Out of approximately 150 student assistants employed by the Libraries, 92 attended from 13 separate units. Much student assistant training deals with content rather than interpersonal skills. That is, student assistant training focuses on specific job duties, library policies, and library procedures rather than communication skills and the dynamics of interaction. This workshop was meant to help fill that gap.

Although the workshop focused primarily on “over-the-counter” interactions, we emphasized the importance and applicability of the concepts discussed to “behind-the-counter” interactions with library co-workers and supervisors as well.

Some student participants noted on their evaluation forms that they had already received customer service training for jobs in retail, restaurants, and so forth. But the overall reaction was very positive.

This first round of workshops was a pilot project for training that we plan to continue later once per semester and target newly-hired student employees.

For more information, contact Kevin E. Brooks, Ball State University Libraries’ Manager for the Science-Health Science Library,, (765) 285-5079.


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