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Customer Service in Academic Libraries: Tales from the Front Line

  • Discusses ‘customer service’ in a library setting
  • Translates ‘management theory’ into useful practice information
  • Examines building relationships, meeting customer needs, and marketing and communication
  • Provides examples of practical experience grounded in recent, transferable experience

Series: Chandos Information Professional Series

By: Stephen Mossop(Editor)

Chandos Publishing

Paperback | Jul 2014 | #233953 | ISBN-13: 9781843347583
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £54.99 $70/€61 approx

About this book

The term 'customer service' is not new to the academic library community. Academic libraries exist to serve the needs of their community, and hence customer service is essential. However, the term can be applied in a variety of ways, from a thin veneer of politeness, to an all-encompassing ethic focussing organisational and individual attention on understanding and meeting the needs of the customer. For customers, the library's Front Line team is the 'human face' of the library. How well they do their job can have a massive impact on the quality of the learning experience for many students, and can directly impact upon their success. The importance of their role, and the quality of the services they offer, should not be underestimated – but in an increasingly digital world, and with potentially several thousand individuals visiting every day (whether in person or online), each with their own agendas and requirements, how can the library's Front Line team deliver the personal service that each of these individuals need? Customer Service in Academic Libraries contributes to what academic libraries, as a community, do really well – the sharing of best practice. It brings together, in one place, examples of how Front Line teams from libraries across a wide geographical area – Hong Kong, Australia, Turkey and the United Kingdom – work to 'get it right for their customers'. Between them, they cover a range of institutions including research-intensive, mixed HE/FE, private establishments and shared campuses. All have their own tales to tell, their own emphases, their own ways of doing things – and all bring their own examples of best practice, which it is hoped readers will find useful in their own context.


List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
About the Editor
About the Contributors

Chapter 1. “Customer Service”—What’s the Big Deal?
    What’s in a Name?
    Thinking Like a Customer
    Mapping Your Customer’s Experience
    Customer Service Standards
    Building Customer Relationships
Chapter 2. Staffing the Front Line
    Recruiting, Developing, and Rewarding Staff
    Listen and Learn
Chapter 3. Marshalling a Century of Experience: Customizing Services for the Next Generation of Users
    An Institution Amidst Rapid Changes
    Historical and Emerging Roles of the Libraries
    Holistic Approach to Building a Service Culture
    Knowing the Users and Striving for Continuous Quality Assurance
    Nurturing a Customer-Centered Team
    Strategic Application of User and Staff Surveys
    Next Goal—All-Dimensional Experience
Chapter 4. Customer Service in a 24/7 Environment: The Exeter Experience
    Why Rove?
    Initial Training and Mobilization
    Maintaining a Roving Culture
    Roving and Communication
    Recognition and Feedback
    Ongoing Challenges and Developments
Chapter 5. Customer Service at Victoria University, St. Albans Campus Library
    Customer Service: What Does it Mean to Me?
    Organizational Structure
    VU Focus on Customer Service, Drivers, Etc.
    Library Structure
    Our Libraries
    Library Focus: What Does Customer Service Mean to Us as a Service
    St. Albans Campus Focus: What Does Customer Service Mean to Our Staff?
    How Do We Recruit for Customer Service?
    How Do We Train Staff?
    Student Mentors: Rovers, Student Assistants, Research Ambassadors, and Writing Space Mentors
    How Do We Know When We are Getting it Right?
    What Have We Learnt So Far?
    Future Considerations?
Chapter 6. Innovations in User Services at Sabanci University Information Center
    About Sabanci University
    About the Information Center
    Rooms Booking System
    Nothing Endures But Change. (Heraclitus, 540 –480 BC) (Fechete 2014)
    Customer Satisfaction
    Improving Ideas Comes with Erasmus
    Problems with the Reservation System
Chapter 7. Library Services for Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, Penryn Campus: Listening to Our Customers in a Shared Services Environment
    Background and Context
    Library Structure
    Customer Care and Our Customers
    Customer Consultation and Feedback
    UCF LibQual Survey 2013
Chapter 8. Where Next for the “Front Line”?


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Stephen Mossop is Head of Library Services at the University of Exeter, UK. He has published and presented widely on aspects of Strategic Organisational Development and Library Management, and has special interests in library design, RFID and customer relationship management. He is best known for his 2008 case study on RFID at the University of Central Lancashire (for the BIC e4libraries project).

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