T is for Training Meme

Our illustrious leader, Maurice Coleman aka baldgeekinmd, challenged the cast of regulars on the podcast T is for Training to answer these 27 questions.  We had to limit our answers to one sentence.  So here are the questions with my answers bolded.

1.) Your One Sentence Bio

Coordinator Software Support and Training for Howard County Library, social web aficionado, budding photographer.

2.) Do you blog? If yes, how did you come up with your blog name?

Yes.  A variation on the name of my blog from Maryland’s 23 Things.

3.) What is your professional background?

Jacquelynn of all trades, mistress of some regarding work in the library (Circ[past], ILL [past], IT and training [current]).

4.) What training do you do? staff? patrons? types of classes?

Yes, yes and technology/social web based classes for both.

5.) What training do you think is most important to libraries right now

Technology based training – anything from social web to word processing to apps for mobile phones.

6.) Where do you get your training?

Pick it up where I can.

7.) How do you keep up?

TisforTraining podcast, Twitter (trainers group), blogs and RSS feeds – especially from the cast of regulars (they rock)!

8.) What do you think are the biggest challenges libraries are facing right now?

Funding and getting the respect they deserve as part of the education process within the community.

9.) What are biggest challenges for trainers?

The students, seriously you can teach almost anything but if the person is resistant….well.

10.) What exciting things are you doing training wise?

Nothing really other than using Jeopardy as a way to access if the class got it – they have fun and so do I.

11.) What do you wish were you doing?

List is too long to put here.

12.) What would you do with a badger?

Release it to the wild or give it to a wildlife sanctuary.

13.) What’s your favorite food?

Food!  Literally I love all kinds and they are my favs (but big on carbs and sweets unfortunately).

14.) If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

My cell phone because it would keep me connected to the world (assuming that I’d have coverage there).

15.)  Do you know what happens when a grasshopper kicks all the seeds out of a pickle?

Umm, it curls up inside and goes to sleep???

16.) Post it notes or the back of your hand?

Big Post-It note fan here.

17.) Windows or Mac?

LINUX!

18.) Talk about one training moment you’d like to forget?

My Twitter class for the public when within 10 mins of starting 2 people left which rattled me for the rest of the class.

19.) What’s your take on handshakes?

Firm has to be firm because wimpy just doesn’t do.

20.) Global warming: yes or no

Sadly, yes although if you judge by this winter you wouldn’t know it.

21.) How did you get into this line of work?

See blog post for how I got started in library biz – I feel into the role of training and discovered was good at it and people enjoyed/learned from my classes.

22.) Why is the best part of your job?

That I honestly learn something new every day!

23.) Why should someone else follow in your shoes?

Because they love to help people, love that ah-ha moment and love to learn themselves.

24.) Sushi or hamburger?

Sushi, definitely.

25.) LSW or ALA?

LSW without a doubt.

26.) What one person in the world do you want to have lunch with and why?

Hmm, would have to be some of the brains that work at Google because they are innovative and rate a high cool factor 😉

27.) What cell phone do you have and why?

MyTouch 3G (running on open source Android OS) because I love to stay connected and informed.

My fellow T is for Training folks and their answers to the questions:

Nicole Engard – The T is for Training Challenge

Polly-Alida Farrington – The T is for Training Challenge

Bobbi Newman – T is for Training Meme

Alison Miller – A T is for Training Challenge

Maurice Coleman’s Getting to Know All About Me Post

Betha Getsche – I Like Sushi & Libraries

Laura Botts – “C is for Challenge” at “T is for Training”

Heather Braum – T is for Training Challenge Meme

Jill Hurst-Wahl – Me. Coffee. Morning.

Pete Bromberg’s 23 things (minus 3): A getting to know ya post

Stephanie Zimmerman – A Get to Know Me Meme from TIFT

Marianne Lenox – 27 Questions (Supplemental Pictorial Essay)

Paul Signorelli – Paul’s Getting to Know Me Post

Lauren Pressley – 23 Questions with Lauren Pressley

Buffy Hamilton – 27 Questions with Buffy Hamilton

Jay Turner – 20 Questions for Just that Guy

Julie Strange – T is for Training Questionapalooza v 1.1

Angela Paterek – Getting to Know Me

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Library101

3883707406_7b0bd34066I was excited, honored, thrilled and other adjectives that end in “-ed” to be able to contribute to Michael Porter and David Lee King‘s Library101 project.  It first started out with a call (via Twitter) from Michael asking for pictures of library staff holding up a giant 1 or 0.  At the time I wasn’t sure what this was all about but I was game.  Anything to help me hone my photography skills I was able to get many of my fellow co-workers to pose for me.

I was then surprised, elated to help Michael beta test his Zazzle store for the Library 101 merchandise.  The final surprise came when Michael asked me if I’d like to contribute an essay to the web site he was creating to launch the Library 101 project. Here it is in the original unedited version:

New Library 101

So what exactly does the New Library 101 need to be part of the future? In my opinion there is one very important piece that needs to be there for the library of the future to stay afloat – customer service. Without our customers we won’t be here no matter what fancy words we use, what new fangled gadgets we have, what exciting programs we offer. Now customer service is nothing new to libraries, however, my version of customer service includes three aspects. If the library of the future will focus on these aspects they will grow and stay relevant.

Technology

Recently I got a Tweet from Jimmy Willis (@katannsky2) asking me if I had any career tips for a future librarian. My words of wisdom where “to learn technology. Embrace it. It will be a very big part of your job.” Be current. What are the latest trends? Adopt them, learn about them and use them. If you don’t you’ll be left behind because your customers are using this technology. And more than likely they are coming to you for help with it

Technology means not only the hardware/software we use in our branches but includes your presence on the web. Whether it is your web site, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other social web sites – remember that not every customer walks through your physical doors. Make sure you have a presence out there in the digital world. But don’t limit it to just a Facebook page or a bunch of pictures on Flickr – engage your customers, start a conversation with them, bring them back to you (whether it is into your physical building or your catalog or one of your programs).

Education

I understand that funding doesn’t always allow every library to have tons of the latest and greatest hardware or even software. However, you can still educate yourself about technology even if your library can’t afford a Kindle, a new fancy web site or you don’t have an iPhone. Use what technology you do have to your benefit. Get out on the web and socially network. So many of your fellow librarians are on the social web, network with them and find out what they already know. Ask questions or use your searching skills so when that customer invariably asks you how do they do ___ you can use your network as a resource.

Please, don’t ever tell a customer you don’t know and let that be the end of the conversation. That is not an acceptable customer service response. Sure, it’s okay to say you don’t know but continue. “You know I’m curious about this too. Let’s research this together so we can both learn.” Customers come to you for help and hey would much rather have a real human admit they don’t know but work together to find the answer than some cold response that boils down to “go away I can’t be bothered”.

Audience

Above all the library of the future must remember who it’s audience is and what they want or need. As Thomas Brevik (@Miromurr) tweeted from the Internet Librarian International 2009:

* #ili2009 Stop insulting the user by guessing what the user want!

* #ili2009 start with the question: is this what our users want?

Once you have figured out what your customer wants not only meet that need but exceed it. But how to find out what the customer wants. Don’t rely on surveys on your OPACs or your web site, you have an opportunity every single day in every single interaction with your customers (via email, chat, face to face, or phone). Just go that extra step and see what need isn’t being met. Keeping in mind that meeting someone’s need doesn’t always require a big budget – sometimes just listening to them makes all the difference in the world and you’ll have a lifelong return customer.

Is it a guarantee that if the library of the future follows these three aspects of customer service they will survive? Well nothing is a sure beat but I would put good money on the library of the future (if it focuses on customer service) will be around for all of us to enjoy.

So here is to the future of libraries.  Long may they reign.

Can you Digg It?

Digg
Image via Wikipedia

…I knew that you could, yes, yes, yes.   (gotta love Billy Crystal)

Decided I’m going to post at least once a month a link to my  recent activity on Digg.  Hope you might find something interesting there as well.

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Help Me To Help You

Psychic Spell Breaker
Image by Metrix X via Flickr

Folks seem to have a lot of faith in the IT department. Not only can we fix anything we can do but we do so because we are psychic. Just takes a laying on of hands or a mere mention “it doesn’t work” and we know everything required to solve your issue. There have been numerous jokes, YouTube videos and the like making fun of the “stupid” other person (be it an employee or customer). I don’t like to poke fun at other people’s expense but there is a grain of truth in there somewhere. Let me shed some light on things from the other side. You want help –

You want help – so help me to help you.

Bad example:

Dear IT,

I can’t access _____.

This is the equivalent of saying “I can’t see the blue sky.” There could be many reasons why you can’t see the blue sky. Are your eyes closed? Are you looking up? Is it day time? Is it cloudy? Is something blocking your view?

Good Example:

Dear IT,

I can’t access _____. I tried to do this and then this and when I finally did this I wasn’t able to access ____.

Using the same analogy again. This lets IT know that your eyes are open, you are looking up, it is daytime but alas you are still unable to see the blue sky. This gives us a starting point, a reference. It let’s us know what you did up to the point where you had a problem.

I don’t expect everyone to understand every piece of technology that crosses their path. But I do expect people to tell me more than it just isn’t working. Try helping someone without knowing what they did or where they started. Not every person starts from the same point (e.g. I might type in a URL, someone else might have it already bookmarked and a third might do a Google search to find the URL).

I know folks get frustrated, I do too with technology sometimes (but that is usually due to my expectations – expectations just set you up for disappointment). I want things to work properly as well. But often I’ve found that user error (too fast clicking, not waiting for something to load, using the wrong software to do the job, etc.) gets in the way.

So just breathe, try again and when you still can’t get what you want – document all the steps you took up until the problem occurred. It will help me to help you and hopefully get you back on the road to what you were doing – sooner!

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Seriously? In This Economy You Can Afford To Offer Bad Customer Service?

I think  most people who know me would say I’m pretty fair.  I don’t immediately fly off the handle at a drop of a hat.  I am someone who will give you 3 strikes before calling you out.  So it is fair to say I gave VPI Pet Insurance more than their fair share of strikes.  I’m just utterly blown away by the experience I had today with VPI.  All because I wanted to cancel my policy.  I will say that at the beginning I wanted only to cancel my policies for now and had all hopes of reinstating them at a later point.  That point is now NEVER going to come.  VPI blew it big time.

Below is the email I sent to their customercare@petinsurance.com.  First part about canceling the policies and the numbers have been left off.  I’m still realing after this interaction.  I would never in good consceience recommend this place to ANYONE because of the bad customer experience I had today.  Sad to say one really bad experience can negate previous good ones.  Worst part is if the supervisor had taken a different route with me a lot of my frustration could have dissapated – she just added to it.

I’ve attached 2 screen shots to explain the problems I was having with your web site.  The first one shows you that I have all the information filled in and all the boxes dealt with correctly.  The 2nd screen shot is the message I got after clicking on submit.  I called to make sure there was no changes pending (as I have not submitted any claims or made any changes for 6 months) – there were no changes to my account that anyone could find.

As someone who has not only worked in customer service but also in Information Technology for over 25 years this was the worst experience I’ve had dealing with both a web site and people via the phone.  If you want your customers to be able to manage their accounts (make claims, cancel, etc.) you need to make your web site is web standards complaint (any browser, any operating system and interoperability/accessibility for all no matter what their situation might be).  At first I tried your web site in latest version of Firefox on Ubuntu (Linux) and was unable to do so.  At first I thought perhaps you were down or having problems with the site so I decided to try later.  2 weeks later (today) I try again – after filling out all the info and checking boxes (see 1st screenshot) I see a small box flash quickly (something about searching a database) and then I get the same page I was on.  I felt as if things didn’t go through correctly.  So I called the first time to verify.  I explain to that person (sorry he didn’t give me his name) and I explained in a calm voice that I was frustrated but trying to cancel my policies.  I told him about my experience.  He was (out of the 3 people I talked to) the best.  He explained that I should see another screen, he was patient with me and I with him.  I asked him if the site didn’t work with Firefox and he put me on hold to check.  Someone (don’t know who) told him the only problem they were aware of was Safari (which means you are limiting your whole MacIntosh user base).  I told him I’d try again on my WindowsXP machine.

Tried Firefox again but on WindowsXP and experienced the same problem.  I then decided to try Internet Explorer – I was able to get further than I had but was presented with a box saying that changes were still pending on one of my accounts and you couldn’t cancel my policies.  (see screen shot 2)  At this point I again called your company.  Amy helped me this time.  Although she was nice I don’t think she understood the problems I was having and after more than 30 mins of trying to cancel my policies I needed this escalated to someone who understood web browsers as well as your policies.  I asked to speak to a supervisor or possibly someone on the web team.  After several mins have gone by I finally get to speak to Jeanette.  No offense but if you have a customer who up until that point had been kind, calm and understanding but extremely frustrated and asking for a supervisor – that is not the time to try and sell me on your policies or lowering my coverage.  At that point you need to see to my frustration and needs by doing that you may have retained me as a customer.  She asked to hear my story (and I wanted to give her the details of what happened) before I had finished she cut me off and didn’t want to hear anymore.  That was just plain rude.  I lost it.  I could understand if I was being rude or if I had been yelling at her but I was not.  There was no excuse for cutting me off.  She didn’t even hear all of the problem before she just jumped in.  She was curt and rude with me for the rest of the call.  At one point I wanted to let her know that I was not happy with my customer experience and I was letting others know this.  I told her I was Twittering this.  She assumed I was trying to cancel via Twitter (NO I’m not stupid but I do have a fair following on my social networks and many of them are pet lovers like me).  She curtly asked me if I had sent the email only moments after I wrote down the information.  HUH?  Come now you need information from me, I need to log into my account – how on earth did she expect me to send an email within seconds.  She informed me that the calls are monitored.  If that is so I certainly hope as a supervisor she is given better training on dealing with customers.  Interrupting, being insulting and rude are not values we instill in my work place with our customer service staff.

I expect my policies to be canceled effective today. I don’t expect anything more than to make sure your web portal is web standards compliant and will actually ALLOW your customers to use it and to educate your customer service staff in how to best give GOOD customer service.

This is really a shame because up until today I had been a loyal customer.  In the past my phone calls have only resulted in the best customer service interaction (especially one kind lady who even called me back and walked me through a procedure to ensure I got all that was due).  But after frustration with the web site, dealing with a supervisor who doesn’t know how to deal with customer service I don’t have the same high opinion of your company as I once did.

My Tweets:

  1. @AAHAHelpingPets I’d have to say #unfollowfriday to VPI after the experience I had today. Bad customer service and poor web portal.

  2. I sense another blog post coming on – must be record bad customer service week.

  3. @rachelrapp Funny thing is one woman I spoke to (3 people total) was named Amy – my Amy knows customer service

  4. Even told the woman Jeanette I believe she said that I was Twittering about this. So VPI Pet Insurance I recommend you clean up your act.

  5. Condescending supervisor asked for my story then doesn’t want to hear it all. BAD customer service rep. VPI Pet Insur. major fail.

  6. FAIL – your site doesn’t work in Firefox or Safari and only on Windows?!! VPI pet insurance no wonder I’m canceling my policies.

Twitter About Friendfeed So Facebook Can Flickr YouTube aka CIL2009 presentation

Now that I’ve had a chance to decompress, find my notes and get some email dealt with I thought I’d post about my presentation at CIL2009.  I had the sincere pleasure of working with not only two talented professionals but two people I now consider good friends – Michael Sauers and Bobbi Newman.   Our presentation dealt with training both staff and customers in regards to the wild, wonderful world of Web 2.0.  More portion of the trilogy dealt with training the customer.

Here are a few links I promised I’d share with people – hope these help you to educate your customers about Web 2.0.

Presentations:

My portion of the presentation

Entire presentation (including Michael and Bobbi’s slides)

My presentation for the public (customers) on Web 2.0 overview

Handouts:

Overview of Web 2.0 class

Photo/video sharing class

Music sharing class

Social Networking class

Bringing The Backend To The Frontend

103_0545One of the benefits of attending Computers in Libraries this year was being able to capture a live podcast for T is for Training.  As one of the regulars (although lately I’ve missed a few shows) I was excited to see Maurice work his magic in person.  First of all a couple of thanks you – Jane Dysart for allowing us to use one of the rooms to record the show and to Tim Spalding of LibraryThing who let us borrow the now famous Snowball Mic to record the show.  Without both of these kind people our show would not have gone on.

This show is special in many ways – our first with the particpants in the same room instead of phoning in or chatting via TalkShoe, friends that hadn’t participated in awhile being able to chime in, new friends coming on the show and rocking, and finally getting some long sought after friends on the show.

As for the title of the blog post and the similar one for the show it came from Michael Sauers.  Maurice was telling him about some of the chat that happens on the show because folks can’t or are unable to call in so they chat.  Quite often we have great conversations in the chat portion.  So Michael joked that “so you are bringing the backend to the frontend” (or something like that).  I immediately jumped on that and suggested that Maurice use that as the title of the show.  He often takes something that is said on the show and uses that for the title.  Also this explains the picture of Kevin Urian who was perhaps demostrating a different definition of backend for us.

Mobile Tips, Research and Practices

103_0560Mobile Usability: Tips, Research, & Practices

Jim Hahn, Michael Sauers, Christa Burns

Michael up first

Things people don’t realize what they can do with their mobile phones. Believe it or not everyone doesn’t have a iPhone.

Christa has old fashioned cell phone a lot of users have it – Google SMS – send them a question they will answer back as a text message Google’s web site is wrong – take off the 3 or E

SMS via email – have patrons send you a text message but it goes to your email address – send you ref. question you can answer back – limit to 160 characters (20 more than Twitter),  other companies will send follow up messages so they get more than 160 charc. but depends on cell phone carrier, they texted but you received email.

Michael next – smart phone w/web browser of varying quality, make sure you have unlimited data plan, can text Amazon now – can pull up and confirm if book is cheaper at the store you are in or Amazon and order it if it is,  LibraryThing mobile – if you are in bookstore login and search your own collection to see if you own it, mobile wikipedia – full article reformatted, easy navigation so you don’t have to scroll – can jump, eBuddy – lite messenger – way to IM on smart phone, Google Maps – home screen you can have a Google Search bar – including street view of Google Maps (too cool) – driving public transit or walking views (wow love that), Barcode generators online – outputs jpeg – and you have a copy of your Border’s card, library card (self checkout), grocery, no longer have to worry when they wear out or rub off.

Jim is up – Mobile Informatics  ut oh he interacts with teens we adults scare him (not really).

Dual boot iPods – has Linux on it.  Cool!

Learning Through Technology

103_0557Learning Solutions Through Technology

Lori Reed and Sarah Houghton-Jan

Will try to blog as best I can but I’m taking video for Lori and also keeping time for her so this maybe a short blog post.

Yep, had no time to type so I’ll post the video to this post after I edit it.

Sarah next.

Love that Sarah admitted she cried a bit. Nice to know that we are all human and when things don’t go the way we hope it hurts a bit. But she moved on.

Verbal agreements are worth nothing-get it in writing.

One person with enough power can kill a valuable project (sadly been on the receiving side of that myself).

Not everyone believes that some staff still need basic skills (yes but they do they really do).

Tech2Know program plan – short web-based blog how-to guides, common craft in plain english type tutorials – one topic a week – present live twice that week – prizes like 23 Things and competencies (pre and post assessment of skills – anonymous).

3 Follow up elements – online disc. forums for each topic (trouble shooting printer, evanced calendar, etc.), Tech Playground Day, Ask The Techies Week – target lingering issue – something you were afraid to ask – you could ask anything .

Core principles – prizes are so important, free or low cost tech swag

Invest in Staff Training – save money, strengthen staff skills, improve customer service, increase efficiency, motivate staff, increase staff retention rate, show commitment to lifelong learning (yeah!)

Benefits of a skills bases approach

equitable expectations for all staff, reveals training needs, accurate job descriptions, helps w/performance evaluations, consistent customer service, helps staff adjust and handle change

Learning should be part of your strategic goals/plan

As you plan – what are your goals, who is managing it, do you have or need to create a skills list, what timeline in mind, what are your resources including funding and staff, what training resources exist and what ones need to be created.

Ensure staff by-in – listen, keep everyone informed, reassure staff that they don’t have to KNOW IT ALL, managers MUST follow project plan, hold brainstorming session or party, fun, rewards, chocolate/food

Harder to get Admin to by-in – purpose statement, measurable deliverable ROI – numbers, performance evaluation – make that process easier they’ll by-in give them a checklist to use w/evaluation, train administrators separately BUT first

Creating Training Program – types/number of trainings, basic topics, Open TO ALL STAFF NO MATTER WHAT – mandatory or voluntary?, budget needs to be on actual staff needs, set goals and rewards

Scheduled Learning – Unscheduled Learning (very powerful) off the cuff stuff, read a blog, over hear a conversation anywhere and use the ideas,

Ongoing Learning – give 15 mins a day to just learn, read an article, study/learn, schedule 1 off desk hour for self-study, encourage conference/lecture attendance (oh yes), share online tutorials, printed materials or demos

WebJunction Learning Webinars, Infopeople Webcasts and more

Add fun to your training, use real world examples, personalize the exercises, highlight tips and tricks, encourage student independence, ask students to dream at the end, be available and accessible

Manage Your Profile Socially

103_0509Social Network Profile Management

Michael Porter, Greg Schwartz, Sarah Hougton-Jan, and Amanda Clay Powers

Another attempt at live blogging.

Each presenter is going to talk for 5 mins.

Who are you online? Identity – what I say about me – what others say about me

Digital identity mapping – not just expression, reputation, crumbs of other stuff to form digital identity

Google search your name plugged in.  You don’t own it – can’t control it but you can influence it

#1 tip own your user name – establish presence online – stick to a user name that works for you – checkusernames.com

#2 – join the conversation – the part is what you say about you need to participate don’t just sit on the sidelines

#3 other half of that is listen – what are others saying about you – search to see what people are saying about you

#4 be authentic – no persona – about connecting that online presence with the real one

Amanda is next – ask anyone who saw this about Michael Stevens and sowing his seed.

What are we doing here anyway?  Social networking isn’t new or strange people have been telling their stories for some time.  We know how to help people manage identity because we know how to manage data.

Educate people about what they are doing – help them be more secure in using their online identity.

People aren’t seeing the librarians as the experts on social networks – if only they knew!  Sounds like we need to educate them a bit. 😉  Make your profile the way you want it to be – privacy settings.

Sarah Houghton-Jan

Library Social Networks Profiles – The Good, The bad, and The Ugly

Managing your identity as the library – official page.

uniform usernames – uniform generic email – profile information on site is current

quick replies to comments

personal tone – not stuffy, be yourself “not the library”, give it some personality

keep it open to all (doesn’t matter where someone lives – let them in)

Do not do

random strange usernames

individual emails

no profile info on site or out of date

slow or no replies to users

stuffy institutional tone

select friends (shutting down opportunities)

You can either over or under manage your library’s social network profiles.  Don’t fall into either trap.  Don’t let it fall on one person like the web master – across the institution.

Facebook, other social networking sites – can be professional no personal  – can be used in all sorts of ways – use all the options

CheckUsernames.com

Open ID and ClaimID – important

Ping.fm or Hellotxt.com to update multiple networks

AtomKeep – update all social network profile info in one shot

Now Michael Porter

Webjuntion.org

Libraryman!

Webjunction a community site for librarians and library staff – not closed but not really people who aren’t library related coming in and adding profiles.

All the fields you can control who can see them.  You have more options to control who sees what about your profile.

Do’s

Make funny pics using swag or stickers

tweet about the workshop you are doing

show your personality – librarians are fun, nice and have interests outside of books

have fun with the tools – show your personality

success stories – share them on the social networking tools

Don’t

bad photos – wrong finger sticking up – make sure goofy isn’t seen the wrong way

don’t take it so far – nearly naked photos would not be a good thing

Get some conversation going – Michael invites the audience to participate

Someone wanted to know if it’s possible to have 2 identity – personal and professional.  Most of the panel agree that they blend, the lines blur and it’s just too hard to keep it up.

Be aware of what you are adding because you can be seen as a “spammer” on Facebook by sending out too many feeds/updates.  Target information – rss feeds to a particular audience – people are getting overwhelmed by too much information.

Library success wiki – tips on how to manage professional profile – it still needs to be personal otherwise it won’t be effective.

Give people a one stop place – single place they may not be as familiar with the aggregators so still show the facebook, flickr links.  Cross pollinate.