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

What I Meant To Say

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Why is it that you always think of the perfect thing to say after the fact?  Last night was no exception.  I taught an overview of Twitter and all the good things came to me after the class had left.  I’m left feeling as if I let them down by not passing along this info.  I had so much in my head, so much I had planned to show and talk about but somehow there is never enough time.

So here is a list of things I hope I pointed out but in case I didn’t:

  • Your follower/following ratio – this ratio should not be horribly lopsided.  5 followers but following 500 isn’t good.  More than likely that person is just in it for the numbers (so folks just want to have the most followers but aren’t really using Twitter correctly).
  • Before you follow – view their profile.  Is their bio filled out?  Who are they following?  What is their follower/following ratio?  Read some of their tweets, all of them help you to decide is this person really someone I want to follow.
  • Twitter vs. Facebook – Twitter is more informational.  Facebook is more fun.  Each has it’s place and they can connect (have Twitter update your status on Facebook) but I don’t get the same level of information on Facebook as I do on Twitter.
  • To understand Twitter you need to use Twitter.  Not that the concept is so hard to grasp just that it can have so many applications depending on what you want from it.
  • I did say this but feel I should elaborate – Twitter is what you get out of it.  I use it to stay on top of trends (professionally or just what’s going on in the world), I use it to stay informed (following BBCnews, BreakingNews, NyTimes as well as several experts in the social media arena), I use it to connect to others in my profession, I use it for note taking (I’ve live blogged a photography class I attend at the library just using Twitter.  Because I hashtagged my Tweets I was able to go back later and put all my notes into a cohesive blog post).
  • Use Twitter for what you want but be real.  If you want to connect with other like minded folks, Twitter is great for that.  If you want to promote your business, non-profit, favorite charity, etc. it is also great for that.  Just beware.  Don’t be an institution.  People want to follow real people no matter whether is it a Mom who is looking to connect to other stay at home Moms or it is a Fortune 500 company trying to connect with their customers.  Let your personality shine through on your tweets.  Don’t be stuffy.  Also don’t make it all about you – engage a conversation with your customers.  Make yourself approachable.  Twitter is just another doorway into your business – good customer service extends to the web as well.
  • Protecting your tweets isn’t always a good thing.  If you are out on the social web the point is to share.  I understand about wanting to be in control of what you share with others.  Protecting your tweets just puts another layer between you and the people/customers who may want to follow you.  This also keeps your tweets out of searches.  So if I search for dog grooming and your are a dog groomer with protected tweets I’m not going to see you and you may miss an opportunity for business.  What are you protecting?  Think twice before you protect your tweets.
  • Be patient.  Give it a try.  Twitter wasn’t built in a day.  You need to try it on, take it out for a test drive, kick the tires a little bit before you decide.  The social web has a web site for everyone – Twitter maybe for you or it may not.  But at least give it a try.
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Half Empty or Half Full?

9/11 Reflections
Image by Sister72 via Flickr

Don’t call me Pollyanna, I”m not that upbeat all the time but I am probably in the minority today.   All over the social web (and the non-social web) are remembrances of the horrific events that happened on September 11, 2001.   Before I go any further I must express my condolences to all the families and friends that lost someone on that day.  I can’t begin to imagine how much your life has been changed and how you are still dealing with that.

I mean no disrespect to anyone.  I know everyone has to mourn, remember, and move on in their own way.   I seriously doubt that that day will  ever be erased from my mind but I don’t need to be repeatedly bombarded with  images/words/sounds of what happened that day (or what you were doing).  Instead I prefer to focus on the good that I have now.  I’d rather like to see the glass as half full.  This isn’t to say that in any way what happened was a good thing but let’s celebrate the good not harp on the bad.

Let’s celebrate all the people who helped other people they didn’t know on that day.  Let’s celebrate that even though it was an awful loss of life it could have been a lot worst.  Let’s celebrate that even though we can’t always agree as a nation on politics or religion we all became a little bit closer to each other.  The solidarity I saw and felt after 9/11 was something I hadn’t witnessed before in this country.    Let’s give thanks that these attacks did not break us individually or as a nation.

So how should we really remember today?  By celebrating.  By doing a random act of kindness.  By doing something kind to one of your fellow countrymen.  Let us make good be what we take away from this day not the bad.  Maybe this should be a real day of thanks and not that day in November when we stuff our faces with turkey.

What I’m grateful for today:

My health/My life

  • without this we have nothing

My family

  • Hubby is gainfully employed after being laid off and puts up with all my silly ups and downs (love ya)
  • Son is well adjusted 18 yo (well as well as any 18 yo can be) and attending college – love you too
  • Parents – gratefully after a bit of a medical scare this summer Mom is currently doing well as is my Dad

My job

  • I have one and it is something I love doing
  • My boss who has been extremely supportive of ideas I’ve had
  • My co-workers who teach me something new every day and make my work family a lot of fun

My friends

  • work friends certainly make 37.5 hours a week a lot of fun
  • life friends whom without I’d not have much of a life
  • library friends around the world – I learn so much from you, thank you

My home

  • I have one and even though it does have issue when it rains a lot it is still my haven

My country

  • although we are far from perfect, I appreciate the freedoms and rights that are afforded me – I don’t look at them as

And there is so much more to be grateful for.  My wish is that everyone today can find at least one thing they can be grateful for.  What’s yours?

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Why Libraries Rock

3835642932_1981254635In order to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Louisville Free Public Library but libraries everywhere I decided to participate in the Blogathon that Andy Woodworth got started.

So why are libraries awesome or rock or kick butt?   All libraries rock because they allow free access to all information (be it print, audio, visual or world wide webable).   We do a lot more than that but since each library focuses on different aspects of their community I thought I’d blog about why MY library rocks!

My library rocks starting at the top and it works it’s way down through every staff member.

  • Our Library Board is very supportive of what we do and sees that our mission & vision stays current and provides our customer base with what they expect.
  • Our Executive Director and CEO has seen that we are not only aligned with  but synonymous with education.  Education is the corner stone of what we do.  We educate all the time – whether it is a story time class, book promotion, or customer service staff helping a customer log into their account.  Each interaction is based in educating, in training.  This is just one of the many initiatives she has implemented since coming to Howard County.
  • Our Public Relations department that produces an outstanding newsletter every quarter that highlights our classes, events, and seminars.  They have created the Howard County Library brand and oversee everything from our flyers, to our signs, to our social web presence making sure  we are consistently presenting the correct image and wording.
  • Our Information Technology department which not only supports over 300 computers (and more coming)  for our public to use (using a Linux operating system which allows us to save our tax payers money while providing a stable, secure environment on which to work) but also the staff desktops (in Linux, Mac and Windows).  We also maintain the web site, catalogs, and databases so our customers may  self-direct their education.
  • Our Children’s & Teen Curriculum – what can I say about all the wonderful classes our children’s services provide?  I’ve been privy to many (taking photos or just walking by) – the amount of energy, time, thought and fun (while learning) that goes into these classes is second to none.  These instructors really have  a calling and put our youngest customers on the path to lifelong learning.  The teen events are no less spectacular.  Making purses from old jeans,  “Hogwarts Summer School” to celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, Duct Tape flip-flops and gaming nights give our teens a safe environment to socialize, learn and interact.
  • Our Events and Seminars – the learning and fun isn’t just for our children and teens.  Author visits, book club discussions, classes on technology, health, finances or travel and recreation are just some of the great offerings our adult customers can enjoy.
  • Our Passport facility.  Our East Columbia Branch is now an official Passport Acceptance Facility.  Another great service for our customers.  They can use all the wonders of the library while applying for their passports.
  • Community Education and Partnerships.  No library is an island, we are very  much a part of the community.  Our partnerships – Howard County Public School system, Howard Community College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Leadership Howard County, Choose Civility, Horizon Foundation, Howard County Autism Society, Lazarus Foundation – (PCs4Kids), HC DrugFree, Inc., Girl Scouts, Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team – are just some of the ways we are out in the community interacting, engaging, and educating our customers.
  • Our Collection.   It’s not just the outstanding materials our selectors purchase but the hard working individuals that catalog, process and circulate these materials so that our customers can get what they want when they want it (whether it’s an in house visit or via our web site and catalogs).
  • Our Customer Service.  We pride ourselves on not only meeting but exceeding our customer’s ideas of what good customer service looks like.  This comes in all shapes and forms – from helping someone at our Information or Customer Services desks, to recommended a book/dvd/cd/or event via our blog Highly Recommended, to answering a customer’s concern via email, to talking to a teen who just needs someone to listen – we believe in going that extra step, that extra degree.

There are many more aspects and departments that I didn’t mention.  They too help to give our customers what they want or support our staff so they can give our customer what they need.  We need ALL the parts of this well oiled machine to make our library rock and to rank first in the nation among great public libraries according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2008.

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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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Do Celebrities Belong in Your Following?

Guess #followfriday got me thinking about this.  I was looking through people I follow and who they follow.  I was focusing more on what I call “official” Twitter accounts vs. personal accounts.  I noticed that one library account had several celebrities it was following.  For some reason this didn’t sit well with me.  I can understand following authors, local celebs that perhaps have been connected to your library or your state but the likes of Miley Cyrus or Justine Timberlake seemed a bit off.

One could argue well if you carry their cd’s in your collection why wouldn’t you follow them?  And that is a logical argument I’m just not sold on it.  I feel that the people you follow (not necessarily the ones that follow you) says something about you.   No followers says one thing about you just as a large number of followers says another.  But it isn’t just about the numbers (some folks like the play the number game I prefer quality over quantity).  Not sure I like what a bunch of celebrities says about your official account.

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Thanks for Spreading the Word – Twitter & Raising Funds for LFPL

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

For those who don’t understand how things like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and blogs can help you get your message (be it an individual or a company/organization) let me give you a perfect example from yesterday.

Steve Lawson posted a blog entry on See Also trying to raise money to help the Louisville Free Public Library.  Folks who subscribe to his RSS feed I’m sure saw this post, as well as those who searched and stumbled upon it that way but I love how we all jumped on this and spread the news.

My original Tweet:

mlibrarianusLet’s Flood Them With Cash: I know the economic times pull on everyone’s purse strings.  What I̵.. http://bit.ly/yFnHq

Then my followers retweeted (thanks to them all for helping to spread the word):

eclasperRT @AtYourLibrary: RT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

thesheckRT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn #libraries

AtYourLibraryRT @mlibrarianus: Louisville Free Public Lib is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

prattlibraryRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkm

Grants_PrattRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkm

JobCenter_PrattRT @mlibrarianus Louisville Free PL in desperate need – is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can: http://twurl.nl/uumkmn

calimaeIcon_lockLouisville Free Public Library is under more than 3 ft of water – donate today if you can http://twurl.nl/uumkmn (via @mlibrarianus)

TuphlosRT @TaraLSF RT @mlibrarianus Support Your Library – keep Louisville Free Public Library in mind. They are under water – need your help

TaraLSFRT @mlibrarianus Support Your Library – keep Louisville Free Public Library in mind. They are under water – need your help to recover h

My followers added their own original Tweets or retweeted other to spread the word:

gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz – Today’s first pic

TaraLSFRT @amandamcneil How to donate to the Louisville Library ($1mil in damages): http://bit.ly/yrkVm

TaraLSFRT @yo_bj RT: @TheRepoRat: Help Louisville Free Public Library, devastated by flash flooding: http://bit.ly/tJea7

mlibrarianus#fb New blog post Let’s Flood Them With Cash: I know the economic times pull on everyone&.. http://bit.ly/yFnHq

cjburnsRT @czamm: Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH – LSW raising funds

librarianbydayLouisville Free Public Library Needs Your Help http://bit.ly/tJea7

mir_bRT @gregschwartz Watching the h2o being poured out of our servers. Depressing. and http://twitpic.com/cujvz – Today’s first pic #lfplflood

mir_bRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH (LSW fundraiser) #lfplflood

cindiRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

ellbeeceeIcon_lockRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH (LSW fundraiser)

mir_bLouisville Free Public Library, hang in there. #lfplflood

gregschwartzWatching the h2o being poured out of our servers. Depressing.

joshuamneffRT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

TaraLSFRT @Jill_HW Flood devastation at Louisville (KY) Free Public Library from @gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz

Jill_HWFlood devastation at Louisville (KY) Free Public Library from @gregschwartz http://twitpic.com/cujvz

libraryfutureRT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

laurabottsHelp the flooded Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8

beccalovesbooksReading about the Louisville Free Public Library and their damage from the rain. I wish there were something I could physically do to help!

jambinaRT @cpellegr: The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

lisacarlucciRT @libraryfuture @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word!

BillDrew4RT @cjburns: RT @czamm: Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH – LSW raising funds

millerlibrarianRT @libraryfuture RT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

kenleyneufeldFwd: Let’s raise $5k for Louisville Public Library in the name of the LSW – http://bit.ly/DTj2K (via… [pic] http://ff.im/-6cMjG

kenleyneufeldFor you non-librarian types, the Louisville PL was flooded yesterday. Help out with a small/large donation at http://bit.ly/DTj2K

cclibrarian#Librarian Feeds reading:Louisville: Can A Plague of Locusts Be Far Behind? http://bit.ly/DkyU7

baldgeekinmdIcon_lockRT @cpellegr The LSW is helping out the Louisville Free Public Library: http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8 Spread the word.

HoCo_Library Help out! Louisville Public Library hit hard by rain and flood. To read more and to donate http://bit.ly/3kb2NN

Jill_HWLet’s raise $5,000 for Louisville Public Library in the name of the LSW – http://tinyurl.com/lc42u8

codslapHelp the Louisville free Public Lib. They had a huge flood. http://bit.ly/3vaf6V Let’s see if we can meet the LSW donation goal of $5,000.

http://twitpic.com/cvorn – My (former?) officegregschwartz

And others I don’t even know got into the act

wfplnews WFPL The Edit: LFPL Closed All Week: The Louisville Free Public Library’s main branch downtown wil.. http://bit.ly/bFral

wfplnews WFPL The Edit: Eat A Pie For The Library: @michellej at Consuming Louisville has started taking ma.. http://bit.ly/oQWxa

AriThatcher Help the Louisville Free Public Library recover from flood damage http://bit.ly/S8edr

Jen_Cook RT @TeresaMedeiros: Book drive 2 help out Louisville Free Public Library-flooded yesterday-massive damage. http://bit.ly/GkZNK

RainyDayBooks RT Help the Louisville Free Public Library out. http://bit.ly/3vaf6V . You don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

Achilles_healin @joshuamneff Donated, sir. … RT @czamm Louisville Free Public Library needs your help http://icanhaz.com/LFPLNYH

Steve reported today that $600 has already been raised (less than 24 hours after posting his blog entry).  Thank you to all who helped spread the word and more importantly to those who contributed to a very worthy cause.

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More Than Just Addition

Deep Down Inside, We All Love Math T-Shirt Design
Image by Network Osaka via Flickr

Anyone who knows me understands that math is not my strong suit.  However, there is more to using social web sites than just adding a post, a picture, a video.  What you really need to do is multiply!

Multiply your readers, visitors, followers or friends by making sure you add as much information as possible.  For example Flickr – don’t just add your photos and call it a day.  At the bare minimum you should include a catchy title (hate when I see img_0875.jpg as title), add a tag or two (being the self-professed tag whore I would say add as many as you can) and include the picture on the map.  Why?  Because by doing any of those things you can make it just a little bit easier for someone to find you, your pictures, your web site – object isn’t to make it harder for your customers (audience) but easier.

Make your audience’s search a bit easier.  If I did a search for Jackson Pollock because my child attended a class at the library and there were photos being taken, I would expect that those photos should show up in the search results somewhere.  Well, they won’t if I don’t use it in the title, description or tags.  If I leave the title as img_0875.jpg – what does that mean to anyone who isn’t a camera?  Refusing to add a description or at least a few tags leaves my audience not getting the search results they expect.

This goes for personal accounts as well as organizational accounts.  Not everyone searches the same way.  Some people will type a name into a search box, some will explore a site and dig around (but not for too long if they don’t find what they want) – the point is everyone is unique and they come at their information gathering in a different way.  So don’t expect people to KNOW you have an account on Flickr and they’ll find your photostream – maybe they’ll stumble upon you while searching tags or exploring the map.  They won’t be able to do that if you don’t take full advantage of the features a site offers.

This may take a little bit more time to do for each photo you upload but in the long run it is worth it if your customers/audience finds you a lot easier because you just did some simple math.  You can also apply this math lesson to other social web sites – don’t just add, multiply!

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When Is Too Much, Too Much?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

I am probably going to be in the minority on this one.  But how many Tweets is too many?

Does your message get diluted if you Tweet too much on Twitter or does it get diluted if you have too many followers?

How do you balance the right amount of Tweets to keep your followers engaged vs. overwhelmed?  Keep in mind I’m thinking more along the lines of an official account versus a personal account but I think it can apply to both.  Is one man’s not enough another man’s too much?

I subscribe to several Twitter accounts that are linked to libraries or businesses – some of them Tweet quite often while others rarely.  I don’t seem to have a problem with the ones that Tweet more (I quickly glance at the Tweet that pops up in Twhirl and move on – just like those Thunderbird pop ups that let me know I have a new email).  Some say you overwhelm your customers/consumers if you Tweet often.  Not sure I agree with that.  The ones that don’t Tweet much at all are doing their customers the real disservice.  Don’t taunt me, tease me into thinking I can communicate with you via Twitter and then give me nothing or very little.  Is more than 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 Tweets a day too much?  Is it really about a number?  Shouldn’t it be about content?  Shouldn’t the real measure be whether or not you are providing your customers/consumers with content of value and a way for them to reach you?

So what do you think?

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My 2 Cents To Businesses Everywhere

Customer service seems to be on the minds of everyone lately.  First I posted about my recent not so great experiences, then today Strange Librarian posted on her blog her dealings with Weiss and being rushed out of the store, and then Andrew Shuping posted at FriendFeed his less than stellar experience with Cracker Barrel.  Something must be in the water.

You might wonder what do I know about customer service.  Well I served at the public service desk for many years as part of the Circulation department, I have contact with customers on weekly basis via email when dealing with technology problems, I have to interact with internal customers (staff and they are just as important as our external customers) daily solving their problems, answering their questions and helping them succeed in their roles but most importantly I AM A CONSUMER!

So whether you are a library, a retail establishment, small business or major corporation here is my 2 cents to you:

  • Hire the appropriate staff.  Make sure your interview process asks probing, clarifying questions.  Don’t just give scenarios and ask how they’d handle them.
  • Once appropriate staff are hired, TRAIN THEM.  Don’t assume because they answered questions correctly in the interview they know everything.  Technology comes along that they need to be aware of to interact correctly with customers.  Also refreshers are never a bad thing we can all benefit from that.
  • Make sure your company policies are inline with good customer service.  Don’t tie your employees hands with silly policies or rules.
  • Trust your employees.  You interviewed them, you hired them, you trained them now trust them.  That isn’t to say not to be aware of what they are doing but don’t micro-manage.  If you hover over them that kind of pressure won’t bring out the best customer service in them.
  • Reward great customer service.  Let them know you value the kind of service they are providing.  Anything from an “attaboy” to comp time to monetary rewards – doesn’t have to be big but acknowledgment is always great to hear.
  • Nip bad customer service in the bud.  One bad experience by a customer can multiply times ten and now with the social web it can multiply times ten thousand or more.  Pull that person off the front line, get them back into training, listen to them and help them learn a better way to handle the situation and if worst comes to worst fire them.  Keeping bad customer service employees in this day and age is tantamount to suicide.

I am as loyal as they come when you treat me right.  But all it takes is one wrong customer service experience for me to write about it, tell all my friends and more than likely never darken the doorstep of your establishment again.  Just ask Sears.  Had a bad experience with them back in 1989 and other than walking through their store to get inside the Columbia Mall I have never bought anything from them again.  You might think how much damage can one little person not buying anything from a major company like Sears do.  Well, it isn’t just me that isn’t buying it is my family and friends who have heard the full story – now with the social web that story can be told to many, many more.