Thursday, April 06, 2006

No answer is ever final

One concept that raises its head in buyer behavior lit but that I don’t hear much about in library land is the idea of post purchase evaluation.  Just getting patrons to use the library and its resources is only half the battle.  The other half is convincing them they’ve made a good choice long after they’re done.  Patrons may evaluate whether or not going to the library was such a great idea for quite some time after they attended a workshop, event or asked a question.  For example, maybe that student you helped with citations on Monday types his paper on Friday and realizes you were referring to the wrong style guide.  Or, he sings your praises for teaching him all about your library’s nifty new citation management software.   Whatever the case, we never really finish our transactions with patrons, which is why those interactions are more like relationships.

Here are some ways that we could help reinforce patrons’ sense of satisfaction with library services after their visit (in-person or online):

  • Ask workshop and program attendees to provide their e-mail addresses on an optional basis.  Then, a few days to a week later, send them an e-mail asking them how their projects are going and if you can be of further assistance.

  • Be liberal with your contact information so that patrons you’ve helped can easily get in touch with you by phone, e-mail or live chat if they have follow-up questions or concerns.  Foster conversation and put a friendly face on the library through blogs, wikis, discussion boards and live chat.

  • Surprise patrons by sending hand-written thank-you’s to a random group of those who recently borrowed items along with some recommended readings or library news.

  • Give patrons something tangible to walk away with such as research guides, tip sheets, your business card, a summary of resources and strategies you discussed, etc. to serve as reminders of the terrific service they received and to avoid possible frustration later as they try to remember what they learned.
Share your tips too and leave a comment!

Categories:  tips_to_try | usable_theories

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