What Should the Customer Leave With?

Pg. 43 of the book Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences:

  • Disney released the Lion King computer game just befrore Christmas…
  • … but didn’t think through the experience they were going to provide (on Christmas morning)
  • They got lots of angry calls, because the software wasn’t easy to install (and there were lots of kids who wanted to play their new games!)

Next christmas Disney wised up. They released another computer game, but this time they planned for their customer’s Christmas morning experience:

  1. They sent clear instructions
  2. They sent a separate note with the instructions advising parents to test the game out before Christmas morning
  3. They sent a clearly labeled 1-800 support number with the instructions

Believe it or not, this DOES apply to libraries. What is the experience we want to leave our library customers with when they visit our website? FIGURE THAT OUT – and then plan services accordingly. Another way to ask this question – What do we want the customer to leave with when they visit our website? A call number? A book that’s been placed on hold? An article? A list of hot resources the library owns? Or the knowledge that our board voted on carpet colors (egad!)? Answer that question, and then use the website as a tool to point the customer to appropriate resources – the resources that answer the question and/or fill the need being addressed.

The tricky part is that we want the library website customer to leave with more than one thing when they visit our website – so we have to think globally about our resources.

This question works well for a library’s physical building, too: what do we want the customer to leave with when they visit us in-person? And, is our physical building, signage, and arrangement set up to help the customer leave with those things?

Hmm… stuff to think about…

Great ALA Quote

From Marshall breeding at the top tech trends thingie (I’m not there, just reading other blogs about it – I just might have to join soon):

“Now we have in Sirsi Dynix 185 people doing development, so there is potential they have some resources to make some progress long overdue. There is now no excuse that “we don’t have the resources.” ”

I sure hope at least one of those people is a web developer…. it’s VERY needed.

Just sayin.

Adventures in Experience Planning

The last few weeks I’ve been learning about experience planning – and trying to figure out how it works for libraries, especially library websites. So, what is experience planning? To get the complete picture, read The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. In a nutshell, they examined the experience, rather than the product, as a marketable commodity. It’s a cool idea that translates well to a library setting… and it’s just gotta work for websites, too!

Before I get to The Experience Economy, I read through this book – Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences by Diana LaSalle and Terry A. Britton. My next few posts will play off ideas presented in this book, and will attempt to relate those ideas and thoughts to libraries and library websites.

Pg 29: “first and foremost, an experience begins with an interaction between a customer and a product, a company, or its representative. So, by definition, an experience cannot happen without the customer’s involvement. This is a critial point, because it requires a shift in thinking from consumers as customers to consumers as participants. You can’t do it alone.”“Once the interaction takes place, a reaction occurs.”

The goal is to have the reaction mentioned above be a positive one. How can that happen on a library website? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Try to put things where people might look (usability)
  2. Offer people information they actually want (focus groups)
  3. Provide a pleasing experience – one with a good feel to it (this one’s the hard one!)

Here’s another, slightly related idea. A few weeks ago, I participated in a library manager’s planning day for my library. The speaker was talking about experience planning, and had some good points. One of those points went something like this: if you want to attract a certain group of people to your facility, go where that group hangs out and then design accordingly. His example focused on a library (I believe it was the Singapore Public Library) that built a fun branch at a shopping mall – they were going for teens, who hung out at the mall. And the branch didn’t look much like a library – it really resembled a cool bookstore that would be in a mall.

But when I heard this, I was itching to try it out for websites, too! So here’s the plan: ask library customers to take a quick survey at the circ desk and online. Ask them to name their top five favorite, most visited websites. Maybe ask their age, too.

Once we have that information, it’s a short step to visiting those websites and to start figuring out what we can incorporate (ie., copy, steal, etc) into our library websites. For example: Do those popular websites use a certain navigational structure? Do they feature certain types of graphics, or have a similar look-and-feel? How is information presented on the site? Ask yourself these types of questions, and then compare those popular websites to your library website – and see what needs to be changed.

Why? The goal here is to provide a similar online experience – and to ultimately turn your library website into one of those top five most visited sites!


Marianne (Skagirlie blog) tagged me, so here goes:

Total volume of music on my PC:
– 2-3 Gbs worth… at home

Total volume of music on my pda/flash player:
Fountains of Wayne CD and a couple of U2 songs (PDA storage card)
– 14 songs on my flash player

Last CD I bought:
– Adoration: The Worship Album, by the Newsboys
– …honestly I don’t actually “buy” too many CDs these days…

Last song bought on itunes:
– a freebie – Belly, Feed the Tree

Song playing right now:
– playing in my head… – Mexican Wine, by Fountains of Wayne

Five songs/CDs I listen to a lot:

  1. Mr. Buechner’s Dream, by Daniel Amos (the whole CD) – the most awesome band in the known world
  2. Emphasiser, by Garage a TroisStanton Moore is one amazing drummer
  3. Ten Summoner’s Tales, by Sting – one amazing CD
  4. Ruby Vroom, by Soul Coughing – I dig the woody, organic sound of the drums and bass
  5. Vinnie Colaiuta, by Vinnie Colaiuta – another awe-inspiring drummer

Five songs that mean a lot to me:

  1. Peter Gabriel, Shaking the Tree – when the drums kick in halfway through the song… it’s just so “right”
  2. The Police, King of Pain – one to be experienced. At a loud volume. (Actually, you should crank everything. Just sayin.)
  3. Casey Corum/Vineyard, Dwell – brings me closer to God
  4. Rush, Ceiling Unlimited – a very hopeful song
  5. Freshman Senators… my band from college. What can I say?

First concert I ever attended:
– Silverwind, maybe 1982? A church youth group outing

Tag three people (we’ll see if they actually respond):
– Greg at Open Stacks
– Steven at Library Stuff
– Karen at Library Web Chic