Or whatever you want to call them in Libraryland. They do mean a lot to us and we do our best to mean a lot to them.  Right? I read two very interesting posts at Library Alchemy and Chris Brogan a few days ago that got me thinking about customer service. They make some very good points regarding how we treat our people.

Sometimes we have bad days and are in a less than friendly mood, we all have those days, no matter who you are. On days like these it’s easy to be snarky, short or otherwise provide less than stellar service to our people.  The LA  post mentioned something that resonated with me and I’d like to share it:

There’s a time and a place for snark, but when the pressure’s on and the future’s uncertain, do you really want to be the spark that touches off your problem patron’s bad behaviors, or your fragile co-worker’s last nerve?  Take an extra five seconds before you open your mouth, and apply the following criteria to everything you say:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?
  • Is it the right moment?

I really can’t put it any better! It’s four questions we should keep in our mind when we are having a bad day and run into a situation where being snarky is easy. Snark really doesn’t help anyone.

Brogan has a some ideas to keep in mind when you are feeling lest than welcoming at your job:

  • Shake it off. Just stepping back from the task at hand for a few seconds, taking a breath, squaring your shoulders, and smiling will actually help. Smiling releases some really interesting chemicals, even if you don’t really mean it at first.
  • Mix it up. You can try some different phrases, some language that people don’t expect, some ways to change the experience.
  • Turn it around. If your most loved relative or friend were on the other side of you, how would you treat them?

Good points to keep in mind when interacting with the public no? I will try to keep them in mind.

What does your attitude say about your library? Your coworkers? What you think about your job?

If you are being negative on a public desk you are being a poor representative of your library and your city/county/school. The person you are interacting with (probably) doesn’t care that you’ve had a bad day. They care about how you are treating them RIGHT NOW and that’s what they will remember and tell their friends. While it may make you feel better to be snarky and rude it isn’t helping anyone. You are being counterproductive and giving your library a bad name.

You are putting your coworkers in negative situations that they will have to deal with when your shift is up. Nothing says “I don’t care” than leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.

If people are really getting to you then you may want to reconsider what you do. Librarians interact with people everyday, they are a BIG part of what we do.

So the next time I’m having a bad day and a bit grumpy I will try to remember the points above and try to do my job as professionally as possible. You?

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