Such stimulating conversations today around customer service at the University of Toronto iSchool Symposium, Customer Service for Libraries: Upping our Game!  Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham, started off setting the framework for the event.  He talked a lot about our competition in libraries from other video, book, and community services, and also how positive customer service makes a big impact.

Vilayat Ahmed, Store Manager at Starbucks Coffee Canada’s flagship store in the financial district in Toronto talked about the company’s mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.  He said they are in the people business and serve coffee, they provide a service and experience.  He talked about the 44 year history of the organization and how they create an environment to encourage conversation.  Yes, enjoy the coffee but have a sense of community and conversation too!  Vilayat talked about customer service as an attitude where workers need to anticipate (drop what they are doing & put the customer first), make it easy for the customer (they are guests!), connect with customers (eye contact, pleasant conversation), personalize the service (name on the cup in Starbucks) and own your experience, take ownership i f you make a mistake and acknowledge with immediate action (oh, I made that wrong, let me get you another one & take this one too).  Basically, Starbucks wants to keep loyal customers, keep them coming back.  They want to be a third space for customers too!

Andrea Cecchetto, Manager, Learning & Growth, Markham Public Library gave tips for creating a service culture:

evaluate behaviours [observe service in action]

regular feedback

fail together

focus on internal service too

talk (and listen) about service all the time with everyone

involve staff in evaluating service

TALK/”talk” to your customers (facilitated conversations – shut up and listen!)

share results

recognize all the customer service leaders

question evertythingL what would our customer think?

develop T-people ( with broad interests but find the deep skills/niche)

hire for service competencies, train for service results

Andrea also talked about the design process (explore, create, reflect, prototype, implement, iterate) as well as design tools which help design positive customer experiences and services including customer journey maps, service safaris, cultural probes, shadowing, and more!

Joe Matthews, Library Consultant & Author of Listening to the Customer shared many ways to get feedback from customers, from solicited and unsolicited to structured and non-structured.  From mystery shoppers to customer surveys, to Google & Twitter alerts to many more!