Friday, 15 April 2011

Logging enquiries

Record enquiry work, share it with the team to avoid doing stuff twice and hand the resulting information to the customer in one easy hit.

Dealing with more complex enquiries taking more than a few minutes is a significant part of our library’s workload. We’re too small to need a bespoke system, but needed an efficient way of both recording and sharing the work done and handing over information to the customer. I’d come up with a number of ideas – using a blog, a self carbonating form and a spread sheet (based on I think Fid Bleasdale’s idea presented at a CoLRiC conference years ago). None had lasted, but one of my team (Steve) suggested using OneNote. Inspired! Of course, that’s just the kind of thing it is designed for.

So we now have a template that has commonly used headings. These also remind team members that have a favourite source to think about the others too. I’m an online junkie and don’t always think about the books enough and at least one of my team wouldn’t think to use our online databases without a memory jog. Not every section will be needed, so the redundant bits can easily be deleted.

When the form is completed we can either attach the note to an email, copy and paste the content into the body of an email or print it out depending on what details we have. I printed one today even though it referred to online sources as I had also printed out the two documents concerned for the student. We have our contact details on the form, so the student knows who to ask for if they need something clarifying.

We also include the search terms we used (well the successful ones!) to guide the customer next time. Screen shots have also been included if the database is tricky to use. We haven’t written up any case studies yet, but that’s the next step towards the end of the year. We’ll pick one or two from each curriculum area, strip of customer names and contact details and then circulate them to the relevant teaching teams (and of course College managers!)

1 comment:

  1. I think this looks like a really interesting idea Lindsay: are you finding that using this system is bringing good results? It seems to increase the approachability and good customer service approach that I think all libraries could take note of. I think it's a good point that most library staff have their own favourite way to find information, whereas this type of form reminds you of the other areas available.