Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement: January-March 2017

AskUsNow!:  Quality Control Commendations and Tips for Chat Improvement

FY 17

January-March 2017


The following commendation and improvement points are based off of praise and constructive criticism from 1) the Statewide Coordinator and Support for Operations, 2) Liaisons, and 3) QuestionPoint and out-of-state/country Liaisons.  Please refer to the Quality Control pages at http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/behaviors and http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/technical for past commendations and improvement points.


Top Five Chat Librarian Commendations:

  1. Explaining to customers how to use a library service or online resource.  This commendation continues to be #1 in FY 17, and we even received commendations from other states for resolving eBook issues.  Chat librarians most often get commended for explaining to customers how to use Marina or ILL services, eBook services, and developing search strategies in online resources.  The customers appreciate learning how to do something that may lead to them doing it on their own, instead of being spoon-fed information.  Most of our exceptional transcripts have this commendation: http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/exceptional_transcripts.  

  2. Clarifying the customers’ initial chat questions.  Transcripts reviewers are impressed by how we unlock the mystery behind why some of our customers log in with "Hi," "I need help," or no question (or no clear question) as their initial chat questions.  Open-ended questions empower the customers to state what they want from us.  In particular, when we get more customers on chat, we are distinguishing student research questions from questions that are for work or personal interest purposes.

  3. Following-Up:  Moving up from #4, we are giving customers ample time to review information, and asking them if they are need further assistance.  "I will give you time to review the information.  Please let me know if this helps your research.  Thanks!" keeps the conversations relaxed.  We are making concerted efforts to offer online information during our follow-up emails as well, taking into consideration that help by phone or f2f are final options.

  4. Having a sense of humor and/or empathy towards the customers, while also maintaining a professional tone.  This commendation stayed consistent as our customers opened up about troubles finding primary sources, or being upset about something not working at their library or personal life.  We did more than just send information...we listened and motivated the customers, and assured them that they will get the help they need during chat, email follow-up, or with convenient referrals.

  5. “Listening” to what a student needs, and giving them more in return.  Down from #4, but still being done concertedly, the more we show interest in a student's research and listen to how they are trying to create an important project, the more they will want to engage with us beyond what they originally anticipated.  Similar to "Following-Up," we are proactively taking charge in introducing students to resources in and out of their libraries that they had no idea existed.


Top Five Tips for Improvement

  1. No checking of the QuestionPoint policy pages:  Staying at #1, pay particular attention to the text and websites that are in the policy pages. You will be amazed with how some of our AskUsNow! partners and out-of-state/country libraries help us not have to reinvent the wheel with finding and giving information to the customers.  In particular, the policy pages may address new online services and options that we traditionally think of being only available by phone or f2f.  Several QuestionPoint libraries also make their research guides and tutorials visible on the policy pages.  When we introduce and instruct a customer about how a library's research guide works, we are cross-promoting library efforts created by staff who may not be into marketing.

  2. Only giving information without explaining how it was found (or why it's the best): When we experience surges in the service, we may feel the pressure to just give a student quick research help in order to help out the next student as quickly as possible, especially if we are unsure of if the customer can grasp our instructions.  Please continue to spend 10, 15, 20 minutes or more with the customers until they are satisfied with their research help.

  3. Wrong resolution code:  Down from #1, I had the least number of chats sent to me about wrong resolution codes since I started coordinating this service. Thank you!

  4. Immediately telling a customer you can’t do something:  This improvement point further stresses the importance of the virtual reference interview to figure out what can be done for the customers during chat compared to immediate follow-up or referral options.  The "Tackling Tough Questions" guide at http://askusnow.info/staff/sites/default/files/Tips_For_Tackling_Tough_Questions.pdf stresses how we can use the policy pages, library websites, troubleshooting steps, and our own resources and expertise to assure customer satisfaction. 

  5. Blind Transfers:  While the efforts are appreciated to continue giving a customer help on chat, we have to get the OK from the librarian who will be taking over our chats.  Please learn more about using IM to get a successful transfer in place at http://askusnow.info/staff/learningcenter/technical/instantmessage.  

Let's keep figuring out how we can help out customers on chat with the resources at our disposal.  Thank you for putting in quality time with our online customers.