One type of question where we can’t provide definitive information is anything to do with the patron’s library account. In these cases, refer the patron back to their local library, but be sure and explain why you can’t help. Here’s an example:
Patron: I don't have my card number. How can I log in without it?
Librarian: Hi <patron>, I'm Terry, a librarian helping to answer questions for your library. I am reading your question now to see how I can help you.
OK, you see, we are an international after-hours service which can answer most questions, but for security reasons only local library staff are able to access your account. So you could phone the library directly during open hours to ask further: http://www.libraryABC.org/branches
Your local library staff may be able to verify your identity over the phone and give you your card number, but you can call to ask about that.
I can also send your question to the library so they can follow-up to you by email, if you like?
Is <email> the email in your library record, so your library staff can identify you?
Patron: Thanks, I will call them!
Librarian: You're welcome. Let us know if we can be of further assistance.
In this example, the librarian picked up the question, explained why she couldn’t answer the question herself, then gave the patron options: (1) call the library (note that the chatting librarian provided the library’s contact information) or (2) offer to send patron’s question directly to patron’s local librarians. Patron chose to call, so librarian coded this Answered.
Meanwhile, this patron waited over 2 minutes to get picked up, during the middle of the afternoon (East Coast time) when many Cooperative librarians were staffing (a QP Back Up librarian picked this up, once the Coop librarians had declined to do so). Don’t shun local questions – a quick and courteous explanation with a referral will get the patrons what they need, and provides good customer service too.
Questions about Quality? Suggestions for a Quality Tip? Send an email to email@example.com