Customer Service Guidelines

Quick Guidelines for Great Customer Service

  • Never say “we don’t have it” without looking first.
  • If you are able, get up and walk with the patron to show them where to go, or bring them the material in person
  • Be as accurate and objective as possible. Check facts in more than one place. If a discrepancy is found, tell the patron what you found and where. Let the person decide which is correct.
  • Respect the patron’s privacy. This includes making comments about what they are checking out. Unless a patron asks, please do not make comments about the items they have selected.
  • Be helpful, courteous and sympathetic.
  • Keep conversations cordial, friendly, but brief. It can be easy to get wrapped up in conversation but we also have work to do and cannot afford to spend a lot of time talking.
  • Try to greet everyone who walks into the library with a friendly greeting and smile, no matter how grumpy they may seem. On the other hand, there is no need to be a doormat. If someone is treating you in a way that is extremely rude, aggressive or hostile, report it to a supervisor if possible or tell the patron that it is library policy not to put up with that sort of conduct, and that if they don’t stop, you will ask them to leave. Call the police if their conduct continues or you feel unsafe.
  • If a patron is asking for help finding information, ask them questions to help narrow down what they need, but don’t pry into their personal reasons for needing to know.
  • If we don’t have an item, offer to place the item on the patron suggestion list to order, or to place an inter-library loan.

Questions you can ask to help a patron find information:

  • “Please tell me more about what you are looking for”
  • “Is there something specific you need to find?”
  • “How many sources do you need?” (2 books? 1 article?)
  • “When do you need the information by?” (to determine if you need to place a hold/ILL)
  • Repeat back to them what you think you heard – “You need to know the number of confederate soldiers killed at Gettysburg, is that correct?”
  • Follow up by asking if they found what they needed – “Does that completely answer your question?”