Guest Blogger

The Bookstore Model of Customer Service at #PLA2020

Coming from a bookstore background, I was excited by this session as I feel that there are aspects of retail that librarians can adapt in order to make their organization successful.  All four presenters are currently in the library world, but were in the bookstore world at one time (or are still).  Here are a couple of tidbits that I pulled out of this session:

  • The Internet has changed customer service from transactional to relational.  The only places that can get away with transactional service are ones where you can’t go anywhere else (ex. the DMV).
  • People judge customer service by the same standard, whether it is at the store, the library, or the doctor’s office.
  • Libraries can define service expectations for their employees based on their mission and values.
  • Companies who are known for good service (ex. Apple, Disney, Trader Joe’s) use customer service templates.  A template isn’t a script, but rather gives elements to include in a transaction.  A library template for good customer service could include starting with a greeting and ending with a thank you.  It can also ask the employee to connect the customer with something more (aka upselling).  This could include items such as programs, database suggestions, or e-materials.
  • Templates work best when employees are given programs of things to highlight.  Could your staff hold a morning meeting or huddle before you open to highlight the day’s activities and upcoming programs?


Lisa Mulvenna is the Head of Youth/YA Services at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

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