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David Lee King

Be Nice to Customers – Even Online



Remember all that Domino’s Pizza craziness of a week or so ago? This video, originally from the Today Show, explains what happens after the fact when employees do stupid things online – in this case, the employees were apparently fired (among other things – watch the video to find out more).

Thankfully, that type of sheer stupidity towards customers would NEVER happen in a library, right? After all… we’re trained professionals. We paid for two years of grad school to be able to work with people! And we hire para-professional staff who ALSO love to work with the public. Right?

Well. Check these tweets out:

Good customer service?

or:

Good customer service?

… and one more:

Good customer service?

Now, of course I realize these tweets weren’t meant for the actual patron to see – the librarians in all three screenshots most likely really DO have great customer service skills, and were simply frustrated … so they decided to vent via Twitter (in Twitter’s  public feed. Oops).

But still.

I think there’s a HUGE GRAY area right now in the online world. Many of us are using these tools for work AND for non-work stuff. And it’s confusing! Some people set up two Facebook accounts/IM accounts/Twitter feeds. Some (like me) blend them all together. My Twitter feed flows into my Facebook feed, sometimes with some unintended consequences (well ok – usually I just get something like “David, I have no earthly idea what you’re talking about” from an old high school chum).

But still.

What happens when said “dumba**” in the screenshot above decides to use Twitter, wants to connect with people … so he/she does that “find everyone within 20 miles of this zipcode” search, and discovers the librarian virtually hollering at him/her?

In some cases, these lovely little quotes can be found pretty easily … and can also be traced back to the owner of the words (and the library that person works for).

Then what? Does the library director have to issue a statement (like the CEO of Domino’s did)? What happens to the librarians above when their library director discovers Twitter?

What do you think? Do you vent about your patrons online? Do you keep separate personal/work accounts in the social networks you frequent?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.westdeptford.lib.nj.us/ Carolyn Wood

    I don’t see value in complaining about library users online. After all, they are using the library.

    Complaining could serve the library community in some ways. Consider the effects of complaining about how difficult it is to find multiple copies of popular titles in our library collections or limits of current OPAC search functionality or perhaps how desperately libraries need support for funding to expand and grow services.

    In a perfect world (or hypothetical scenario), the negative energy would be redirected to influence change. Social media is young and we are still learning …

  • http://www.westdeptford.lib.nj.us Carolyn Wood

    I don’t see value in complaining about library users online. After all, they are using the library.

    Complaining could serve the library community in some ways. Consider the effects of complaining about how difficult it is to find multiple copies of popular titles in our library collections or limits of current OPAC search functionality or perhaps how desperately libraries need support for funding to expand and grow services.

    In a perfect world (or hypothetical scenario), the negative energy would be redirected to influence change. Social media is young and we are still learning …

  • http://justgiblets.com/ Scot Colford

    It is an interesting problem of the modern age you present. Interestingly, I *don’t* separate my personal and professional online identities, mainly because I get a little anxious about remembering myself in different roles. In other words, I try to deal with role conflict by not ever putting myself in the position of having it occur. Ideally, I want to be the most professional, fun, friendly, and honest person I am in all parts of my life.

    In fact, I’m afraid that if I had separate personal and professional alter-egos online, I’d be *more* inclined to make snarky remarks about petty annoyances.

  • http://justgiblets.com/ Scot Colford

    It is an interesting problem of the modern age you present. Interestingly, I *don’t* separate my personal and professional online identities, mainly because I get a little anxious about remembering myself in different roles. In other words, I try to deal with role conflict by not ever putting myself in the position of having it occur. Ideally, I want to be the most professional, fun, friendly, and honest person I am in all parts of my life.

    In fact, I’m afraid that if I had separate personal and professional alter-egos online, I’d be *more* inclined to make snarky remarks about petty annoyances.

  • http://justgiblets.com Scot Colford

    It is an interesting problem of the modern age you present. Interestingly, I *don’t* separate my personal and professional online identities, mainly because I get a little anxious about remembering myself in different roles. In other words, I try to deal with role conflict by not ever putting myself in the position of having it occur. Ideally, I want to be the most professional, fun, friendly, and honest person I am in all parts of my life.

    In fact, I’m afraid that if I had separate personal and professional alter-egos online, I’d be *more* inclined to make snarky remarks about petty annoyances.

  • davidleeking

    Jenny – no, I’m not going to contact them. One of them, probably just a college student working part time at a library. The other one I actually DID contact last week, mentioned this as part of our conversation (if you could call it that), and they blew me off.

    Not worth my time.

  • davidleeking

    Jenny – no, I’m not going to contact them. One of them, probably just a college student working part time at a library. The other one I actually DID contact last week, mentioned this as part of our conversation (if you could call it that), and they blew me off.

    Not worth my time.

  • davidleeking

    Jenny – no, I’m not going to contact them. One of them, probably just a college student working part time at a library. The other one I actually DID contact last week, mentioned this as part of our conversation (if you could call it that), and they blew me off.

    Not worth my time.

  • Stefanie

    I saw the other “conversation” which had nothing to do with this topic, and that isn’t why the other person blew you off. Nothing like misleading information, David. Let this be a warning to anyone who has the temerity to disagree with this guy. Sheesh. It looks like the person did take that part of it seriously but wasn’t interested in continuing the rest of the conversation. They have the right to disagree with you, but you seem to be using this posting as revenge, and that’s not cool.

  • Stefanie

    I saw the other “conversation” which had nothing to do with this topic, and that isn’t why the other person blew you off. Nothing like misleading information, David. Let this be a warning to anyone who has the temerity to disagree with this guy. Sheesh. It looks like the person did take that part of it seriously but wasn’t interested in continuing the rest of the conversation. They have the right to disagree with you, but you seem to be using this posting as revenge, and that’s not cool.

  • Stefanie

    I saw the other “conversation” which had nothing to do with this topic, and that isn’t why the other person blew you off. Nothing like misleading information, David. Let this be a warning to anyone who has the temerity to disagree with this guy. Sheesh. It looks like the person did take that part of it seriously but wasn’t interested in continuing the rest of the conversation. They have the right to disagree with you, but you seem to be using this posting as revenge, and that’s not cool.

  • http://www.utopianlibrary.com/ ruth

    those tweets are just three of the hazards of “look at me! look at me!” technology. so caught up in being seen but little thought about what we say. and sometimes, how and when we we say it.

  • http://www.utopianlibrary.com/ ruth

    those tweets are just three of the hazards of “look at me! look at me!” technology. so caught up in being seen but little thought about what we say. and sometimes, how and when we we say it.

  • http://www.utopianlibrary.com ruth

    those tweets are just three of the hazards of “look at me! look at me!” technology. so caught up in being seen but little thought about what we say. and sometimes, how and when we we say it.

  • davidleeking

    Stefanie – look through the comments on my blog posts. Most people would find that I welcome disagreements.

    The screenshots above are all publicly-accessible stuff. I found about 10 of them, then went with the juiciest 3 – making sure to remove links and account names, and making sure full names weren’t connected to any of them.

    That individual’s quotes were, unfortunately, the “cream of the crop.” Yes, noticed because of a disagreement – but revenge? Nope.

    But you’re welcome to disagree.

  • davidleeking

    Stefanie – look through the comments on my blog posts. Most people would find that I welcome disagreements.

    The screenshots above are all publicly-accessible stuff. I found about 10 of them, then went with the juiciest 3 – making sure to remove links and account names, and making sure full names weren’t connected to any of them.

    That individual’s quotes were, unfortunately, the “cream of the crop.” Yes, noticed because of a disagreement – but revenge? Nope.

    But you’re welcome to disagree.

  • davidleeking

    Stefanie – look through the comments on my blog posts. Most people would find that I welcome disagreements.

    The screenshots above are all publicly-accessible stuff. I found about 10 of them, then went with the juiciest 3 – making sure to remove links and account names, and making sure full names weren’t connected to any of them.

    That individual’s quotes were, unfortunately, the “cream of the crop.” Yes, noticed because of a disagreement – but revenge? Nope.

    But you’re welcome to disagree.

  • http://www.accidentallibrarian.com/ Accidental Librarian

    Isn’t there an underlying problem here? If a librarian thinks of library customers in this way, he or she is probably in the wrong line of work. I agree with Carolyn – just imagine if all that negative energy and Twitter time was used to influence change, work on improving our attitude – including valuing customers? Just a thought.

  • http://www.accidentallibrarian.com/ Accidental Librarian

    Isn’t there an underlying problem here? If a librarian thinks of library customers in this way, he or she is probably in the wrong line of work. I agree with Carolyn – just imagine if all that negative energy and Twitter time was used to influence change, work on improving our attitude – including valuing customers? Just a thought.

  • http://www.accidentallibrarian.com Accidental Librarian

    Isn’t there an underlying problem here? If a librarian thinks of library customers in this way, he or she is probably in the wrong line of work. I agree with Carolyn – just imagine if all that negative energy and Twitter time was used to influence change, work on improving our attitude – including valuing customers? Just a thought.

  • Sarah

    The actual underlying problem here, the big elephant in the profession is that public service is becoming increasingly more stressful and the divide between those who do it on a regular basis and those who don’t is becoming increasingly wider (just like the wage gap). The profession isn’t dealing with it but instead issues statements, documents, and all sorts of meaningless stuff castigating those who supposedly can’t deal with “change”. People will talk, and vent, period. If they don’t have any constructive help in dealing with the stress, and if there isn’t respectful two-way communication, and if they are crapped on for their public service skills by those who don’t want to realize that there are also INTERNAL customers to be served, then this will just continue. Most people don’t get pats on the back for being “so 2.0″ when they are doing their job, over and over again. How about making sure that public service people have the resources they need to do their jobs – after all, they are customers of library management. Would they take their business elsewhere if they could? So instead of getting all snotty about “negative energy” and customer service, how about cross-training yourselves to ensure that public service people can get off desk and take vacations? How about designing jobs which are 50/50? I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it. Nobody has yet taken me up on my offer.

  • Sarah

    The actual underlying problem here, the big elephant in the profession is that public service is becoming increasingly more stressful and the divide between those who do it on a regular basis and those who don’t is becoming increasingly wider (just like the wage gap). The profession isn’t dealing with it but instead issues statements, documents, and all sorts of meaningless stuff castigating those who supposedly can’t deal with “change”. People will talk, and vent, period. If they don’t have any constructive help in dealing with the stress, and if there isn’t respectful two-way communication, and if they are crapped on for their public service skills by those who don’t want to realize that there are also INTERNAL customers to be served, then this will just continue. Most people don’t get pats on the back for being “so 2.0″ when they are doing their job, over and over again. How about making sure that public service people have the resources they need to do their jobs – after all, they are customers of library management. Would they take their business elsewhere if they could? So instead of getting all snotty about “negative energy” and customer service, how about cross-training yourselves to ensure that public service people can get off desk and take vacations? How about designing jobs which are 50/50? I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it. Nobody has yet taken me up on my offer.

  • Sarah

    The actual underlying problem here, the big elephant in the profession is that public service is becoming increasingly more stressful and the divide between those who do it on a regular basis and those who don’t is becoming increasingly wider (just like the wage gap). The profession isn’t dealing with it but instead issues statements, documents, and all sorts of meaningless stuff castigating those who supposedly can’t deal with “change”. People will talk, and vent, period. If they don’t have any constructive help in dealing with the stress, and if there isn’t respectful two-way communication, and if they are crapped on for their public service skills by those who don’t want to realize that there are also INTERNAL customers to be served, then this will just continue. Most people don’t get pats on the back for being “so 2.0″ when they are doing their job, over and over again. How about making sure that public service people have the resources they need to do their jobs – after all, they are customers of library management. Would they take their business elsewhere if they could? So instead of getting all snotty about “negative energy” and customer service, how about cross-training yourselves to ensure that public service people can get off desk and take vacations? How about designing jobs which are 50/50? I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it. Nobody has yet taken me up on my offer.

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  • http://www.westdeptford.lib.nj.us/ Carolyn Wood

    “I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it.”

    Sarah – This comment in particular signals a need for change.

    BTW – 95% of my work week is spent on a service desk.

  • http://www.westdeptford.lib.nj.us/ Carolyn Wood

    “I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it.”

    Sarah – This comment in particular signals a need for change.

    BTW – 95% of my work week is spent on a service desk.

  • http://www.westdeptford.lib.nj.us Carolyn Wood

    “I’ve had an offer out for 25 years that, if anyone has a problem with my public service skills, they can do my job for a week and I can watch and take notes on how a REAL professional does it.”

    Sarah – This comment in particular signals a need for change.

    BTW – 95% of my work week is spent on a service desk.

  • Emily

    Sarah makes some great points.

    Customer Service can be very rewarding but it can also be extremely stressful, soul-killing work. All too frequently policies fail to address this in a constructive, helpful manner. The farther a library manager gets from a position which deals with the unfiltered public, the easier it is to forget that the staff need support in their work.

  • Emily

    Sarah makes some great points.

    Customer Service can be very rewarding but it can also be extremely stressful, soul-killing work. All too frequently policies fail to address this in a constructive, helpful manner. The farther a library manager gets from a position which deals with the unfiltered public, the easier it is to forget that the staff need support in their work.

  • Emily

    Sarah makes some great points.

    Customer Service can be very rewarding but it can also be extremely stressful, soul-killing work. All too frequently policies fail to address this in a constructive, helpful manner. The farther a library manager gets from a position which deals with the unfiltered public, the easier it is to forget that the staff need support in their work.

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