More Learning from Corporate America

I am constantly impressed by the level of customer service that our library staff provide to the public. We have a recognition for staff called a GEM for Going the Extra Mile, but quite frankly going the extra mile is the standard rather than the exception.

When I began working at the library I had never worked anywhere that provided such a high level of service excellence. I soon found that I expected this same level of service everywhere. It’s tough to find.

Tonight a friend and I took our kids out for dinner. Our goal, to go somewhere fairly cheap where the kids can play and get tired. With two moms and four kids between the ages of 0 and 3 it’s tough to go anywhere, let alone go somewhere and actually be able to eat!

Ask any mom what her favorite fast food place is and you are sure to get one answer…Chick-fil-a. There’s a reason for this. Someone at Chick-fil-a has gone to the trouble to find out what moms want and need. If you haven’t been recently they just came out with these great placemats for kids. They’re disposable plastic with an adhesive strip so the kids can’t fling their food across the restaurant (they can still throw their food but just not all at once).

It seems like every time I go to Chick-fil-a I am amazed as the consistent level of outstanding customer service that they provide. Tonight the manager not only carried our food to the table, he also brought us straws, ketchup, and lots and lots of napkins. Ironically I had just spent the day at one of our branches training staff and customers on using our new self check out system. Even more ironic is the fact that the mom who I was having dinner with was just telling me the other day how great it is that our library has self-check out but she really wishes we had self check-in as well.

So as we are moving towards borrower self-sufficiency fast food restaurants are moving towards full-service. It makes you wonder, who’s right?

The customer!

It’s all about the customer. It’s about thinking on your feet, reading the customer, and making your best guess as to what he or she wants or needs.

Not everyone needs help getting a tray of food to a table, but for those who do that small gesture is going to make a huge impact. It took maybe 30 seconds of time and did not cost any extra money. That’s a huge return on investment!

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.

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