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David Lee King

Apologizing & Communicating with Customers



Ever had to apologize to a customer about something you or your library didn’t do well? Well, guess what? I did that just last week.

We have a Mediabank media dispenser that has been acting up (as in, it’s been out of order for a month, and been spotty before that). We have been doing a lot of work on the back-end of things, working with the vendor to get things fixed, etc – to no avail. We have a weird problem, and Mediabank’s sending someone onsite to fix our machine. So – fingers crossed on that front!

During this “oh darn it’s down” month, we have been explaining what’s going on individually at our service desks, and we’ve had an “out of order” announcement that appears on our website and in our building (it’s a pretty popular service).

But it finally dawned on us that we weren’t actively communicating the issues or what we were doing about it – we just passively put up signs, and only answered those who took the time to ask about it.

So we went one step further, and created an apology video that we posted to our website. In the video, we state the problem, state what we’re doing about it … and also apologize to our customers for the less than stellar service we’ve given in that area.

Watch the video and tell me what you think. But more importantly … think through how YOU communicate huge problems in service to your patrons. Do you:

  • put up signs in the building?
  • put up announcements on your website?
  • give front-line staff some talking points?
  • make a video or blog post, then update that post when progress has been made?

Or something else entirely? I’d love to know!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Amanda

    I worked customer service at a major retailer for 2.5 years. I probably apologized every 5 minutes for 8 hours a day. However, this feels genuine and is a great idea.

  • http://twitter.com/walkingpaper aaron schmidt

    You set a really nice tone in this video and the fact that you *mean it* shows through.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeMoon Mike Moon

    I have no problem manning up to my errors and mistakes. And when I’m saying ‘my errors’, I mean for the whole store.
    It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s about making the customer happy.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeMoon Mike Moon

    Wonderful video David. Great job.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/lwu5 Lin

    Post it on our Facebook and Twitter.