Tag Archive for new features

Announcing “Systems & Services Management” via LibAnswers

Great Customer Service – The Holy Grail

Let’s start with a few important questions:

1. How do you provide effective online help/faqs at the point of need, for the Library’s many systems and services – everything from the Website, to the Catalog, to the Discovery/Search system, to the variety of E-Database and E-book platforms, etc.

2. How do you solicit and manage ideas and feedback from patrons, regarding these Library’s systems? Wouldn’t it be great to know what patrons think of your systems and how to improve them?

3. Last but not least, how do you keep your community informed and up to date about these aforementioned systems? Are any systems having problems at the moment, and if yes what are they? What are the new features? When is the scheduled maintenance? What are the top ideas for improvement?

Your library provides many services via many systems, and the number of these systems & services increases every year. Providing effective help to patrons on how to use these systems, and ensuring patrons’ voices are heard and their product questions answered is essential to the library’s success. Keeping users informed about your systems and services, and receiving feedback – be it ideas, suggestions, praise, or negative feedback, and responding in an organized and timely manner – that’s what great customer service is all about.

How we help you get there

We did what we’ve been doing for libraries since 2007 – clients told us they have a big problem so we developed a tool to help solve it, and delight their patrons to boot! We created this new tool as part of the existing platform libraries already use to answer patrons’ questions – LibAnswers, of course! With the new “Systems & Services Management” functionality inside the LibAnswers platform you can do three new things:

1. Systems Help Widgets: Create product-specific Help widgets (for the Website, the Catalog, the Discovery/Search platform, for any E-Database platforms, E-book platforms etc…), and embed them directly inside the given product. If a patron is in the catalog and they need help, they get catalog-specific help with a click of a button. Need help while using the Discovery/Search platform? Help is right there, along with all other Discovery-related faqs, feedback, etc. You get the idea – you can do this for any product or service within your library. Patron questions & feedback are fed into the LibAnswers dashboard and you answer them like any other question/ticket in LibAnswers. You also get awesome statistics on how much support each product generates.

2. Systems Feedback Manager: These product-specific widgets also have a built-in feedback mechanism for patrons to send feedback, questions, ideas, and praise right inside the product they’re using. It doesn’t get any more convenient than this! And, any idea/feedback/praise goes directly into the LibAnswers dashboard so librarians can organize it and answer (if needed) right from the system they already use to answer patrons’ questions.

3. Systems Status Dashboard: LibAnswers now gives you patron-facing public “status dashboard” pages outlining the status of every library system and service. The status dashboard is also an embeddable widget so you can plug it into any webpage or a blog. The dashboard shows the current status of each system but also goes deeper and shows any new feature announcements, scheduled maintenance times, community top-voted product ideas, etc. Keep your patrons up to date about every library system, in real-time. The “internal” status update posts can be used by library staff for internal communication.

You have to see this in action, it’s going to transform the way you manage your library systems – check out the 5 minute video below (it will open in a new window). We will start rolling out this new LibAnswers functionality over the next few weeks – contact us for more details.

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers

Systems & Services Management in LibAnswers

New LibAnswers Features Released!

We are very excited to announce a brand-new release of LibAnswers system with tons of new features and improved functionality. The updates went out this past weekend so everything is live already. Here is the rundown of the new stuff:

  1. LibAnalytics. We introduced a new product called LibAnalytics, which borrows from the functionality of the current Reference Analytics module. This is for libraries who require the statistics functionality of the Analytics module but do not need the rest of the LibAnswers system (public q/a, the ability for patrons to ask questions, etc). In LibAnalytics, libraries can define multiple analytics instances – each instance can track up to 10 metadata fields with up to 30 values per field. You can track anything you want with LibAnalytics, i.e. it is not just limited to reference. So, track and analyze away! 🙂 Please contact us if you would like more information on LibAnalytics.
  2. The Reference Analytics module has been expanded to support additional instances as well (just like the LibAnalytics product but this is integrated into LibAnswers).  Now the Reference Analytics clients can define multiple analytics instances (i.e. if you’d like to track statistics at the circulation desk, info literacy sessions statistics, or media desk, etc – you can track anything you’d like). Contact us if you’d like more information on the expanded Reference Analytics module.
  3. The “More Ways to Contact Us” box now has icons/options for phone contact and email contact (previously it only had twitter/sms contact icons). With this enhancement your patrons can easily note how to contact you via the phone or email.
  4. Private questions can now have replies. Emailed answers include a link for the recipient where they can comment/leave a reply to the answer. These replies/conversations are threaded in the View/edit private answer page.
  5. It is now possible to “close” a question without sending an answer.
  6. Linked answers! They are here, at last! When answering a public question you can “link” to an existing answer, so any changes to the original entry will automatically be propagated to all “linked” answers (it works just like linked pages/linked boxes in LibGuides).
  7. Added privacy/access control options. Now you can put your entire system behind an IP access/address range, or you can password-protect access to the entire system. There is also a new option to disallow search engine indexing.
  8. Improved QuerySpy interface. QuerySpy is the unsung hero of LibAnswers – people love it and for a good reason. Now it’s easier to use – you can delete entries from the grid, set date range filters, export data to excel, etc. Check it out – it’s cool!
  9. Improved “Comments” for q/a pairs. Comments can now be edited directly from the admin interface. Logged in users’ comments are approved automatically, and you can automatically send an email to the original questioner, with the text of the comment.
  10. “Change Topic” dropdown now appears on the homepage, to enable visitors to easily browse the list of topics.
  11. “Featured Questions” box on the homepage – now you can customize which questions will appear on the homepage (this works just like the featured guides box in LibGuides).
  12. Improved mobile interface – you can now set the default text inside the “Ask us” box in the mobile interface.
  13. The “success” message on the question form submission page is now fully customizable.
  14. Emailed answers now explicitly note if there is multimedia (videos, or attached files) associated with the answer, and point the email recipient to the anchored page where they can view this multimedia.
  15. To see other questions from the same email address you can click on the email address in the “Unanswered” tab or click the link next to the email in the answer/edit page for the individual answer.
  16. Link checker! Yes, you read it correctly, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Link checker is now available in LibAnswers, too – it will periodically (twice a month) check the validity of links you included as part of your answers.

Phew, that’s a lot of new stuff, so check it out when you get a chance and, as always, please let us know what you think. Thanks to everybody who contributed their ideas, comments, suggestions, testing, and blood sweat and tears which went into developing this awesome new LibAnswers release.