Customer service–by whatever name

Grand Century Place Customer Service Centre

Image by WiNG (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Maine Academic Libraries Day (June 16) concerned the customer experience.  Though I can’t do justice to the morning program, I can give you the highlights.

Keynote speaker Kelly McDonald (McDonald Marketing) spoke of understanding our customers’ lives and tailoring our services accordingly.  To serve a community we need to listen to its members and learn its values.  As one example McDonald described a bank that adequately provided both ATM/mobile service and live tellers.   Since it had many members who valued convenience and many members who valued social interaction,  the bank’s community needed both services.

Afterward some librarian panelists shared their wisdom about patron service.  Carmen Greenlee (Bowdoin College) talked about outreach to faculty, from serving on search committees to marking faculty milestones.  Joyce Rumery (University of Maine) also emphasized the building of relationships: faculty comments showed how these relationships matter.  Laura Juraska (Bates College) offered examples of the service philosophy “Make it easier.  Make it special.  Make it their place.  Make ourselves available.”  Bob Heath (Colby College) focused on the training of student workers.  Bethany Kenyon (University of New England) described such services as 24-hour spaces.

I use the terms “customer” and “patron” interchangeably. Whatever term we use, we librarians attend such events to better our service to you.