Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement: April-June 2018

AskUsNow!:  Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement

FY 18

April-June 2018


My aim with this post is to reiterate or remind us about five things we can do for customers on chat and email follow-up.  If you have had a site visit or were trained on chat this fiscal year, some of this info will be familiar because you were either 1) commended, 2) learned something new, or 3) were reminded about something that had not been done in a while. 

Even if you had not had a site visit, the info may be useful when helping out our next customers on chat.


1.  Law Chats:  Please have a conversation with the customers and figure out what can be done on chat or by email follow-up. 

  • Shared (i.e. Statewide Scripts) are available about law chat questions. 
    • ​41_Legal_resource_and_advice:  Your question may require a legal opinion. As librarians, we can offer information resources to get you started. You may want to consult with an attorney who can provide further interpretation.

      Extensive information on locating an attorney is available on the Maryland People's Law Library website, https://www.peoples-law.org/get-help. Let me see what I can find for you on your topic from the People's Law Library, https://www.peoples-law.org/, that can get you started.

    • 74_Law_Followup:  Maryland has law libraries around the state that are free and open to the public: http://www.lawlib.state.md.us/. They have knowledgeable librarians who can provide more legal research help by email. Once we finish up this chat, would you like for me to refer your question to a law library so they can email you directly with more information?

  • We have a law chat guide that is tacked to the QuestionPoint Subscription Group Announcements at all times:  Helping AskUsNow! Patrons With Law Questions.
  • The Maryland State Law Library does email follow-up only.


2.  Shared/Statewide Scripts:  they can be used with all chat customers AND customized before sending them.  Please consider creating greeting scripts that give enough info to the customers about who you are and why you will help them on chat. 

The shared/statewide script to use with Maryland AskUsNow! customers is "Welcome to Maryland AskUsNow!. I'm reading over your question and will be with you in just a moment."  Here is one way to enhance the script: 

"Welcome to Maryland AskUsNow!, a free library chat service.  My name is Paul in Baltimore.  I help your library's customers when they are helping other customers or not available.  I'm reading over your question and will be with you in just a moment."

Also make it a common practice to send a scripted Goodbye script.  The Goodbye scripts are important to send to the customers because they 1) further promote the service, 2) inform the customers about how they can receive copies of the chats, and 3) encourage the customers to take the survey.  Here are the Goodbye scripts:


Thanks for using Maryland AskUsNow! If you have any further questions, please contact us again. You can end the session by clicking on the "x" at the top right of the widget box. If you provided an email address, you should receive a full transcript from "AskALibrarian@oclc.org" in a few minutes. Bye for now - and please take a moment to fill out the survey!

Follow us on Twitter @askusnow or https://twitter.com/askusnow.


Thanks for using the Ask-A-Chat-Librarian service.  Please end the chat by clicking on the "x" at the top right of the widget box.  Bye!


Thank you for using Maryland AskUsNow!. If you have any further questions, please contact us again. You will have an opportunity to send the transcript with links to yourself but if you already provided an email address, you should receive a full transcript from "AskALibrarian@oclc.org" in a few minutes. You can go ahead and click Exit to end your session. Bye for now - and please take a moment to fill out the survey!

Follow us on Twitter @askusnow or https://twitter.com/askusnow


Thanks for using the Ask-A-Chat-Librarian service.  Bye!


3.  Policy Pages:  Two Key Points:  

  1. Please open and review Policy Page for ALL chat questions.
  2. If a Policy Page field has broken links or info that needs to be clarified, 1) use the "follow up by patron's library" Resolution Code and 2) add in a Librarian's Note about what needs to be revised and updated.  You are doing a big favor for Liaisons when you spot something that needs attention in the Policy Pages.


4.  Chats from the Statewide Public Portal:  www.askusnow.info

  • These customers are given a "Maryland AskUsNow! Public Library" label.  Because they are not identified by a library or institution, we usually do not need to ask the customers their location or local library to provide them help on chat.  
  • When should we ask the customers which library they use, or their location?
    • Access (i.e. database/online resource, eBook...) and Circulation/Library Card Account Questions
    • Resource Suggestions:  
      • A customer is working on a family research project?  They may be interested in finding out about their access to Ancestry.com or a similar genealogy resource.
      • The customer wants to check out books at their library?  We can look up titles in their catalog; introduce them to NoveList, Beanstack, or another service that provides reader's advisory; suggest their interlibrary loan service....
    • Community-Specific Questions:
      • Meeting rooms
      • Tutors or writing centers
      • Business look-ups.


5.  Customers' Perspective on Time on Chat:  The median range for time spent with customers on chat is 15-20 minutes.  What does this mean from the customer's perspective?  Based on survey results and transcript analysis:

  • The chat is quick.  If the customer was inside their library, the conversation with the librarian would last 5-10 minutes.  
  • The chat is too long:  The customer is expecting to receive an answer that is quicker than if they were inside their library.  If we can have a conversation with a customer, and 5-10 minutes later we gave the customer exactly what they needed, great!  If we have to spend more time with the customer, it tends to be because we are trying to figure out what they are asking, they are asking a challenging or difficult question, or both.  
  • The chat is just right.  If the customer is impressed and lets you know this in words, then time does not matter to them.  The customers appreciate that we gave them what they needed on chat, and they recognized that we wanted to learn more about them to make the chats successful.


Thanks for continuing to provide a high quality of service to chat customers.  We achieved an 89% satisfaction rating.  Let's carry on with a high AskUsNow! ratings in the new fiscal year.