Tip #2 – Keep Patrons Informed
We’re getting down to the part of the season where there are atypical hours and even closures either due to inclement weather or observed holidays. Just as important, there are some libraries that are anxious to let patrons know that they will, in fact, be open. LibAnswers has so many features in place that let you get ahead of the questions by taking a few proactive steps to keep your patrons in the know.
The LibAnswers system has a Social Media Management tool built into it. Most libraries use it to broadcast details on all the fun happening at the library, but don’t forget, besides reminders, it’s designed to help you plan ahead, too! You can create and schedule Tweets, Pinterest pins, and Facebook posts — all from right inside LibAnswers. So, make sure to utilize these channels to let your patrons know:
- About any changes to services at your library
- If you’ll have adjusted or abbreviated hours
- And, share any days you will be closed
Just go to Social > Create > Select the Channel (Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest). Customize your message and schedule it to post at a future date and time. You can do this to maintain a social media presence even when you’re not open, or just to keep ahead of your to-do list. It doesn’t have to be critical FYIs… schedule any post!
Get Proactive About Your Answers
The beauty of LibAnswers is that — no matter which channels a patron prefers to use to communicate with your library, you can be there just by signing into the LibAnswers Platform. To save you and your team a lot of time during these weeks, write out the answers to your super popular FAQs of the season and then place them everywhere you need them.
- FAQs – Wish you had Seasonal FAQs for those who like to search for answers? You can have them with the Status Change feature! Create the FAQ > select Change Status > opt to Schedule a Status Change. This means you can change the status to published just at the beginning of the season so that it’s not in the system all year confusing people. Instead the seasonal FAQ can be published when you want and then also be unpublished at a date you choose, as well. These can also be useful for extended hours during finals, etc.
- Macros – Create a few macros for tickets and SMS messages. When those queues fill up with questions like, “How late are you open today?” you can effortlessly tackle them one by one with your macros in place.
- Canned Messages – LibChat allows for system-wide canned messages. So, Admins, go ahead and create some ready-to-go answers for your whole staff to use when chatting. Label them Thanksgiving Hours, Exam Hours, Holiday Closings, etc. Just be sure they’re clear at-a-glance because chat is a speedy endeavor, then let the team know they’re available for use! These canned messages can be easily re-ordered so that you can move them to the top when the time is right!
Have a Backup Plan
Some libraries operate with minimal staff during these last weeks of the year. Find out who is going to be part of that skeleton crew and see if they’d be willing to be set up as a fallback monitor to be designated in your LibChat widget. For instance, if the Reference Department monitors the widget for questions that come in, see if Circulation would be okay to have new chats sent to them in case the Reference Department is offline. It’s also possible to select specific operators. LibStaffer could help you know who’s working.
This time of year, doesn’t have to be so unpredictable. When you are open, use the Internal Notes field in Reference Analytics to leave a tag like “Holidays”. It will help you search for all the transactions — for which you recorded analytics from live ones to chats to tickets, etc. — that happened during the holiday season. This data will help you see if your patrons are engaging pretty heavily or even at a normal level with the library, or if it’s really quite slow at this time like you imagine it would be. Let the data replace the guesswork.
From all of us at Springshare, “Enjoy the rest of 2019 and we’ll see you in the new year!”