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LibraryH3lp is software used by libraries, educators, and non-profits for better customer service.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Whip Your Ask a Librarian Service into Shape

Summer is almost upon us!  It's time for vacations and recharging your batteries. It's also a great opportunity to find some time to finally tackle that ever-growing "to do" list. To help with all those virtual service tweaks that you've been meaning to get to, we've created a checklist that is sure to recharge and maximize your virtual services.  Also available in PDF format.

Ask a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxIs help available anywhere a patron might need assistance?  
    • Action item: Check all the usual places: website, subject guides, catalogs, databases, mobile apps.
    • Action item: Search for web pages off the beaten path.  For example, the 404 (not found) page is a great spot to include a chat widget or FAQ link to help lost patrons.
  • checkboxCan patrons easily locate chat and FAQs on your web pages with just a glance?
    • Pro tip: Place advertisements for these 'above the fold.'  That is, the portion of a web page that is visible without scrolling.  Page headers or 'Click to chat' tabs are a super place for attractive chat images.  Aim for a consistent, highly visible place where patrons can always find help.
    • Action item: Catch the patron's eye with a modernized chat widget or a shiny new Ask a Librarian image.  Need inspiration? Check out these great examples from your peers: Ask a Librarian images, Ask a Librarian chat widgets
  • checkboxDo you proactively invite patrons to chat?  
    • Pro tip: Many LibraryH3lp clients offering timer-based chat invitations to patrons report significantly increased meaningful chat stats.  
    • Action item: Update your LibraryH3lp services to include a customizable proactive chat invitation. The average time among LibraryH3lp clients for the invitation's time trigger is 40 seconds.
  • checkboxDo staff consistently and quickly greet chat patrons?  
    • Pro tip: One way to evaluate this is to grab your chat metadata over a date range and then click the wait time column header to sort chats by wait time.
    • Action item: Create canned messages for operators to use when responding to patrons.
    • Action item: Set up one or more concierge auto-responders which trigger a simple greeting after a second or two, and/or send alternative contact information if patrons go unanswered for a lengthier period of time.
  • checkboxCan patrons get help after hours?
    • Action item: When chat is offline, point patrons to your searchable FAQ.  Need to import an existing FAQ into LibraryH3lp?  Email us and we'll make it happen.
    • Action item: Interested in extending your chat service hours, but your staff are stretched too thin? Consider incorporating backup staffing through Chatstaff.  Chatstaff provides responsive, high quality service, and you can specify your service hours to maximize the bang for your buck.

Text a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxDo patrons know about your Text a Librarian service?
    • Action item: Include your Text a Librarian number on your website and make it easy for mobile patrons to click.  Here's an example of some handy HTML that does the trick:
      <a href="tel:15555551234">Text us at 1-555-555-1234!</a>
    • Action item: Include your Text a Librarian number on all printed promotional materials.
    • Action item: Promote your Text a Librarian number during tours and instruction sessions.
  • checkboxIs your offline auto-response appropriate?
    • Pro tip: If you include a (shortened) URL, patrons on smartphones can click it to launch a browser.  Point patrons to your searchable FAQ or email contact form.
    • Action item: Pretend you are a patron and text your service when it is offline.  If the offline auto-response misses the mark, email us with a new auto-response 140 characters or fewer.

Email a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxIs email reference integrated with the rest of your virtual services? 
    • Action item: Activate the 3mail module to integrate email into the staffing workflow. 3mail is a simple email system that makes the LibraryH3lp webclient one stop shopping for answering chat and email questions. 
    • Action item: Train staff to use Tag for Follow-up.  When chats can't be answered right away and you need to get back to the patron, tag for follow-up automatically sends email to pre-designated addresses with transcript attached.

Want a printable version of this checklist?  Download the PDF version!

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