Thursday, 17 December 2009

Customer service skills: a collaborative training event

There's a nice bit of live-blogging of a useful workshop discussion on the ALA Learning web site. Don't be put off that the results conveniently fall into a "top ten" list: the ideas presented are simple and entirely do-able. In fact they're uncannily similar to the topics I used to include in customer care training sessions in the early nineties, so I might have been getting something right.

In principle I'm torn on live-blogging. On the one hand it's a good way of delivering a running account of a discussion or workshop. On the other it can be a bit off-putting for participants to be hearing the tap-tap or click-click of the recording angel. When it works it can be extremely useful. I think success hinges on the working brief:
  • It has to be an appropriate topic - there's no point in live-blogging somebody doing a PowerPoint presentation, for instance.
  • It has to be an appropriate audience - if the participants are going to be paying more attention to the recorder than the facilitator it's a waste of time. (I'd argue that live-blogging any activity involving young children is a hiding to nothing.)
  • It has to have an appropriate purpose - you need to be doing something with the results or else you've wasted your time.
  • The recording angel has to pay attention to the activity, not the recording thereof.

While I'm on the subject of customer care in the library, there are some useful notes about communicating in the virtual reference library environment on the Association of College & Research Libraries web site.

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