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!

Patron-Created … Commercials!

Check this out… John Ary, a guy who lives in Topeka, has been making videos talking about why he loves Topeka, KS. Some of his videos have helped with that Google Fiber project thing that many cities have hoped to be a part of.

In this video, John talks about loving a good deal … and shows off our library’s media dispenser in the process! He did a great job of it, too – it’s a professionally-done video … and a great advertisement for our library, in the process!

The coolest thing about this video? We didn’t ask him to make it. He just found something he loves about our library, and decided to share it. How cool is that?

ps – yes, we have a big, honkin, Mediabank media dispenser (yikes – for some odd reason, their website uses frames, so you can’t easily link to the actual product page. Hmm…). We keep popular movies and video games in it. Ours will hold about 3000 items, I think… made by Libramation. It took awhile to iron out details and get it to work right, but now it’s working well for us.