Monday, July 11, 2016

Ask a Librarian spit and polish

Hi folks!  We are solidly into summer and we all know what that means...  It's time to re-group and shore up for the next academic season.  To help you get the most out of your Ask a Librarian service when students return, we've dusted off and updated our checklist from last year with some new ideas.

Ask a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxIs help available anywhere a patron might need assistance?  
    • Action item: Check all the usual places: website, subject and course guides, catalogs, databases, mobile apps.  Don't forget your 404 (not found) page!
  • checkboxCan patrons easily locate chat and FAQs on your web pages with just a glance?
    • Pro tip: Aim for a consistent, highly visible place where patrons can always find help.
    • Action item: Ask a friend to play the part of a patron and see how long it takes them to find help without intervention.
  • checkboxDo you proactively invite patrons to chat?  
    • Action item: If a patron has been sitting on a page for a while, they might be stuck.  Add a proactive chat invitation to your web page and ask them if they need help. 
  • checkboxAre patrons getting the help they need?
    • Pro tip: You can search the chat metadata on the Activity page to find unanswered chats and evaluate wait times.
    • Action item: Create canned messages for librarians to use when responding to patrons.  This saves a lot of redundant typing and speeds up response time.
    • Action item: Do you find yourself always asking patrons for the same info? Set up a concierge auto-responder which immediately triggers a request for that info so the librarian has what they need up front to better serve the patron.
  • checkboxCan patrons get help after hours?
    • Action item: When chat is offline, point patrons to your searchable FAQ.  (Don't have a LibraryH3lp FAQ, email us and we'll create and customize one to match your website for free!)
    • Consider back-up staffing: Our partner, Chatstaff, provides responsive, high quality back-service 24/7 or for select hours.

Text a Librarian Check List

  • checkboxDo patrons know about your Text a Librarian service?
    • Action item: Advertise on your website and make it easy for patrons to use.  Here's a handy HTML example:
      <a href="sms:15555551234">Text us at 1-555-555-1234!</a>
    • Action item: Advertise on all printed promotional materials and during tours and instruction sessions
    • Action item: Encourage patrons to add the library to their contacts list for later use.
  • checkboxDouble-check your offline auto-response.
    • 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.

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