Archive for November, 2007

Customer Service definition

Posted on November 8, 2007. Filed under: customers focus, library, service |

So much of our focus is on customer service.  Tom recently commented about the term servant leadership and how that spoke to him.   I just finished the book, “Service Included: Four-star secrets of an Evesdropping waiter” by Phoebe Damrosch.  I like to read about the food industry and my son did a stint as a waiter in a fancy New York bistro, so this book was particularly interesting to me.  I found that Phoebe did a really good job of describing service from her perspective.  On page 74 she starts the chapter “Four-star mistress” with this paragraph: The secret to service is not servitude, but anticipating desire.  This had nothing to do with obeying the commands of the sort of demanding customer who snaps his fingers from across the room.  Garçon! Miss! This was about the art of careful observation and the intimacy of knowing what someone wants before he does. I did omit the middle of the paragraph because it dealt very specific restaurant details.   While we, as librarians, have the information of the world as our menu and a restaurant is much more proscribed, I still think there is an underlying similarity.   We will never be able to completely know what someone wants before they ask us, but the idea that we are hyper-sensitive to their expressions, nuances in their questions, etc., is something that I enjoy and strive for.  I have seen a number of librarians who are excellent at this and really enjoy watching them work.  They seem to effortlessly flow with the customer and anticipate directions that the questions might go and offer up information and suggestions before they are asked.  The delight on the customers’ face is a joy to behold as they leave with more than they even thought they wanted.  It can often be a simple as getting a customer started on a computer and then slipping a piece of scrap paper and a pencil next to them so they can take notes or noticing that they have several items just going due and offering to renew them before they ask. For me, this kind of thing can make a dreary day a success.

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