Consider the following fictitious chat session:
Patron: Hi, I have a question…
Librarian: Yeah? Whaddaya want?
Patron: Is there an online copy of Emily Post’s etiquette manual?
Librarian: Librarian ended chat session.
Of course, this was not a real chat session--no librarian monitoring the Cooperative would answer a patron's call in that manner! But this session does illustrate that something is lacking in the interaction--a hello message and a goodbye message.
The Best Practices document recommends, in the section "Greet the Patron": "Send a personal greeting, identifying yourself and indicating your willingness to help. Identify the name of the library or group you are affiliated with, in order to set expectations with the patron."
Use the greeting as an opportunity to not only welcome the patron to our service, but also to describe the cooperative nature of this service. This will help reduce any confusion the patron may have when the chatting librarian is not physically located at the patron's own library. For example, the librarian could greet the patron with a message such as:
Hello! Welcome to our chat service. My name is Jane, and I am a librarian from the XYZ library in <state>. Since no one from your library is available at the moment, I will be assisting you now; I can always send your question to your local librarians if it becomes necessary.
When the session is coming to an end, a goodbye message completes the interaction. The Best Practices describe how to send a goodbye message. If the patron indicates that no additional information is needed, send the appropriate Goodbye script provided by the patron’s library. If no Goodbye script is available, thank the patron for using the service and encourage the patron to return.
Thanks to Virginia Cole (from Cornell University) for suggesting this Quality Tip (and the title)!
Questions or comments about this post? Comment below or email Susan McGlamery at firstname.lastname@example.org.