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Customer relationship Management Best Practices in Libraries

Customer relationship Management Best Practices in Libraries

N. Suresh , M.L.I.Sc,M.Phil (NET)
Assistant Librarian and Information officer,
Anna Centenary Library, Chennai-85


Library is the organization based on users. We must keep up the Customer relationship with users in libraries. In every aspect of library development based on users so we create customer friendly librarianship in libraries. In this article revels what are the Best practices to be follow Customer relationship management in libraries. And how will get bench mark in customer relationship management in library field.
(I) Introduction:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity
to do so “. -- Mahatma Gandhi.
Above Mahatma Gandhi quote we under stand value and importance of customer. Now we are in 21st century here customer are king. There is no monopoly in any type of organization. There is a heavy Competition of all kind of organization for promoting goods and services, there are spend cores of rupees for advertisement and customer relationship management.
Library is the organization based on users. We must keep our reputation and getting loyalty from users. Now our ultimate aim is keep our regular users and mobilizing new users of Library and optimum utilization of our library resources.
While some may shudder at using the word customer instead of users, keep in mind that our users are our customers. Whether they are taxpaying members of the public, attorneys in a firm, or faculty, students and Children's, they are still our customers. There are some of the principles that library staffs can apply to enable their libraries to meet challenges and seize opportunities in coming years. Tradition is not a model and Success in the past does not guarantee relevancy in the future.
(II) Objective Customer relationship in Libraries:
1. To Enroll new users to the library.
2. To keep the Users High Satisfaction Level.
3. To Maximize the Usage of Library resources and Services.
4. To Provide World Class Library Service.
5. To get good Loyalty from Users.
6. To Provide Round the Clock Customer Care to the users.
7. To Create Bench Mark in User Relationship Management in Library field.
8. Diversification of revenues, but in a meaningful way.
(III) Requirements need for good Customer Relationship management in Libraries:
  1. Informative and Interesting Reception :
Library reception must be informative and interesting .A Person sitting in reception should be sound in Communication, detailed knowledge about library resources& Services. Answering the user quires with smiling face and answer properly like airhostess.
A librarian could be well versed in every item in a library, but it wouldn’t matter a single bit if they lack the social skills to communicate this information with the Users. Our jobs exist because of the people who come there, not the materials; otherwise, they could just hire a watchman to mind the building. So Our Librarian Make Improve their Communication Skill.
Reception should have sign broad with all floors details. And provide users kiosk,
  1. Clean and Pleasant Environment:
Our Library should maintain clean and pleasant Environment to the users.
v Toilets should be clean frequently.
v Library floors should be cleaning regularly.
v Book shelves should be dust free.
v Provide Better Parking lots.
v Provide Better ventilation and lighting facility.
v Provide comfortable Sitting facility.
v Provide Proper facility to differently able.
3. Easy Access of Library:
Library staffs should helpful to the users to access easily library premises. Printed library maps to be provide to the users and every floor should have holding details in digital board or sign board. Detailed bay guides and books are arranged properly according to the subject, topic and author etc. Staffs are voluntary go and help the users and answer properly.
4. Complete Members Profile:
Collect all the information about the users including need, desire, designation, qualification etc, it will help us to provide better service to the users as per their need. It will create high satisfaction level and mouth Publicity to the Library.
5. Proper Book Collection and weed out Policy:
Library should have Proper Book collection and weed out policy with preparing organizing expert committee. Polices are modified as per Need and demand of users.
6. Dynamic and updated Library Website:
Now we are living in digital era we also follow the rule. Library website should be Attractive and provide exhaustive and comprehensive about products, services library rules and regulation, Timings, Various sections of Library, and etc. It includes virtual tour, online chatting facility with users. Online OPAC with the facility of Online renewal, online reservation, online membership and etc., It should be Dynamic and using Multimedia software.

(IV). Staff qualities need for better customer relationship:
1. Product Knowledge:
Librarians are Know your product and Services. Know the current—and anticipate the future— needs of your customers. As more databases and digital products develop, we need to know which of these will bring the most value to our users. We do this by attending conferences, keeping abreast of literature, and, most importantly, talking with our users. Take advantage of trial offers for databases, and test them with your primary users. We must anticipate the future, for changes will continue at a pace we can only imagine.
2. Courtesy.
Quite simply, think how you react as a customer at a departmental store, a restaurant, or a theater. Treat other customers how you like to be treated. It may be acting, but by doing so, you will bring customers back to your library—and that is the primary goal of any service organization.
3. Solution Oriented: Know and recognize a problem or question and focus on its solution. Don’t think “could have” or “should have.” Don’t just try to meet users’ needs—exceed their expectations. Use your network of contacts to obtain a title on inter library loan, or expedite an article from a non legal database through document delivery.
4. Follow Through. Communicate:
This is probably one of the most widely heard concerns in libraries. Make sure your customers’ requests are being addressed. Provide the maximum information by going the extra mile.
5. Coordination:
This is the meaning of follow through. It requires working with colleagues who are perhaps more proficient in an area than you might be. There is no harm in saying, “I don’t know, but let’s check with someone else.” Ideally, customer service should be seamless and efficient, giving the user maximum satisfaction with minimal anxiety or stress. If one of your librarians is a specialist in foreign law or tax law, refer your customer to that person. Directing the customer to the right specialist should be no different than your internist referring you to a specialist or your attorney referring you to another attorney who has the particular area of expertise you require.
6. Professionalism.
Be confident and take pride in what you do; each job is essential to the entire enterprise
7. Managing the Customer relationship:
The service principles that are combined with related Management principles that increase the quality of customer service. Allow people to make decisions when possible, and back those decisions. This will motivate your staff and allow for more open communication, perspective, and viewpoints. In turn, your library staff will work more collaboratively and cooperatively in fulfilling its mission. Set goals through strategic planning or a similar staff development program. Planning allows an organization to adapt, evolve, and successfully take on new challenges, thus preventing stagnation and apathy. Change is constant; continuing to do something simply because you have always done it that way can often lead your customers to turn elsewhere for information. Consider using a library e-newsletter, blog, or intranet as a current awareness tool to keep clientele abreast and reflect a proactive stance. Another key component in the service equation is the environment, or, more simply put, the library as a place. Create a setting with an attractive and inviting layout, amenities, collection, and resources. Ensure convenience for your customers; suggestions for this include an integrated catalog, research guides, and a comprehensive Web site. Whatever setting you choose, try to.
Ensure one-stop shopping in your library. In each personal transaction, get your customer to the person or resources most pertinent to his or her questions.
7. Staff Training:
We can teach some skills to the library staff by organizing workshop and personality development classes. It will create positive attitude to the staffs. A positive attitude will ensure that the employee completes projects, that the customer will return, and that an ongoing relationship between librarian and customer will be created.

(V) .Basics in its customer service formula Staffs is expected to know;
1. Know, Own, and Energize. Our highest priority is personalized customer satisfaction. Like libraries, it wants to anticipate and meet customers’ needs. The focus here is on being proactive, not reactive.
2. Practice Teamwork and “Lateral Service” (to Internal Customers or Other Employees). As I stated earlier, we are all customers to each other. Not only does this attitude lead to more positive working relationships, but it also creates the overall impression for external customers that an organization is efficient and service minded.
3. Know the Likes and Dislikes of Repeat Customers. How often in our libraries do we have the same faculty, attorneys, students, or public use our collections and ask us questions? Knowing customers’ personalities, expectations, and temperaments can help us better serve their needs.
4. Complete Training to Ensure Staffs Understand the Job. While many libraries have orientation programs for new staff, it is equally important to ensure staff members have opportunities to attend professional development meetings and training sessions so that they may continue to be ahead of the curve. If you acquire a new database, take advantage of the vendor’s offer to train staff or provide a demonstration. Hopefully, any questions that arise may have already been answered by the trainer.
5. Understand Work Area Goals and the Strategic Plan. Planning is the key. All new employees should know what is expected of them upon so that no unfair surprise comes when it is time for evaluation. This will also alleviate any anxiety in new employees. They will know what is expected of them; if they have questions, they will feel comfortable approaching their supervisors to learn about anything not covered in the training or plan.

6. Know the Needs of Customers so that Services can be delivered as Expected.
7. Continuously Identify Defects in the Organization. Basically, this is the concept of continuous improvement. If a process is in place and isn’t working to achieve the maximum result, then brainstorm new ways to fix the defect or problem. This may require a change in workflow or responsibilities or potentially a discussion with the person providing the service. Identify the problem, and find its solution.
8. Own a Customer’s Complaint. If you receive a complaint, follow the proper protocol to fix the complaint and solve the problem. This may require adhering to a strict policy or adapting a policy on a case-by-case basis. The key here is to weigh the cost and benefit of remedying the situation with a “tailored to the customer” approach as opposed to “the rules are the rules.” Flexibility is a key factor in providing excellent customer service.
9. Pacify the Customer Instantly. While this may not always be possible, be sure to communicate and follow up to verify that a problem has been solved. The worst thing is not to get back to someone with a response, even if it means saying, “I may not have an answer for you for a day or until I speak to someone else with decision-making authority.”
10. Record Every Incident of Customer Dissatisfaction. While this may seem a bit overwhelming in concept, the hope is that if a pattern appears, the supervisor and employee can work together or with the customer to see if there are common threads or patterns.
11. Be Responsible for Uncompromising Levels of Cleanliness. While libraries may be less formal than the Ritz hotel chain, there is still no reason not to look presentable and have your workplace organized. While some people feel comfortable in a cluttered office, the impression this provides the customer can be one of disorganization, potentially leading an initial customer to seek assistance elsewhere.
12. Smile, Be on Stage, and Maintain Eye Contact. Use phrases like “good morning” and “my pleasure.” How often have you, as a customer, experienced a service employee simply waiting for you to say something? Initiate the transaction so the customer knows you are there to help and that you are not bothered by his or her question or visit.
13. Always Refer Positively to Your Organization. This may be difficult at times, but while there will always be things to complain about, these complaints can be kept in house— don’t air your dirty laundry in public!
14. Escort Guests Rather than Point out Directions. Obviously, this is often difficult, especially in a large library in which one is the only reference librarian or a small library in which one is the only staff member available. In either case, you can provide maps or guides to direct customers more specifically. Consider providing virtual tours on your Web site.
15. Know General Information and be able to Answer Inquiries Directly. Again, try to create one-stop shopping. If expertise is required, ensure that signs direct the person to the right party. For example, if someone has a question regarding her laptop, make sure she is directed to the technology staff.
16. Answer the Phone whenever Possible. Ask permission to put your caller on hold and try to answer the question without transferring, if possible. As we all know, receiving automated messages and being told to hit buttons becomes frustrating. Ensure that your main service phones are answered a great majority of the time.
(VI) Conclusion:
Every field customer is important aspect, Many banks are advertised they are customer oriented they relationship between banks and customers are bonded. We user oriented library we must keep up this kind of Customer relationship with users. In every aspect of our development depend on users so we create customer friendly library. And get bench mark in customer relationship management in library field.

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