Yesterday I had three customer experiences that offer some practical lessons for libraries.
Customer Experience #1
I called my telecomms provider to see if I could get a better deal on my account. After going through the automated options I learnt that I would be in a queue for seven minutes before reaching a service rep. Or if I didn’t want to wait I could leave my number and someone would call me back within the hour. So I took that option. Within a couple of minutes someone returned my call and after confirming my account details I was offered a $10-$20 discount off my monthly bill. Yay! This entire experience was negated by the fact that in order to get this discount I had to call and ask for it. It wasn’t offered to me. As a long-term customer this is what I expected. My electricity provider sends me a letter once or twice a year letting me know whether I’m on the best plan for my usage. Why can’t my telecomms provider do that?
Customer Experience #2
The rental agent came to do an inspection of our rented property. I asked him why they hadn’t undertaken some of the work we discussed last time. The agent said it wasn’t worth it to them to send someone out for such a small job. I suggested it would have been helpful to know this as we would have organised to get it done ourselves. The agent wasn’t impressed and although he said he’d do that in future, he implied that he wasn’t going to honour it. Why do I think that? Well, everytime he comes, we talk about the same things, he notes the same things and promise the same things. But he doesn’t actually deliver on his promises.
Customer Experience #3
I emailed Seth Godin to thank him for his inspirational blog and how I had applied a couple of his suggestions to this website. He replied , “This is so great to hear thank you Sally”, within five minutes. For those who may not know, American Way Magazine calls Seth Godin, “America’s Greatest Marketer,” and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. I’ve never bought anything from Seth and prior to yesterday he didn’t know I existed.
These three experiences illustrate that:
- my experiences of a particular company are based not just on my experience with that company, but also my experiences with other companies.
- first impressions are important, but subsequent experiences are just as important.
- I’ll trust you less (and also not speak highly of you) if you don’t deliver what you promise (or at least let me know why you can’t).
- Responding quickly and appropriately to my requests adds a lot of kudos to the experience.
Below are five questions all libraries should consider when looking to improve their customer’s experience:
- Do you know who your long-term borrowers are and what resources they like to borrow?
- Do you know who your most prolific borrowers are and what resources they like to borrow?
- How do you inform your customers about new or improved services? Are they targetted to individual customers or particular segment groups?
- Do you let customers know how long it will be before you respond to their phone request for assistance?
- Do you follow-up with customers when you are unable to answer their query on-the-spot?
There’s no denying that answering these questions will take a lot of work. Does your library have what it takes?