Are problem users in libraries edge cases or do they represent basic issues with our user facing staff, websites and facilities? I wonder. Read this post about how to turn around some of your most difficult folks.
“Let’s look at some of the folks who are costing you money and time. I’ll call them idiots, drama queens and scammers.
“Customer service representatives spend a lot of time explaining obvious things to users.
(Image: JD Hancock)
In fact, a huge proportion of the time, the “stupid questions” that customer service representatives get over and over aren’t stupid at all. They’re opportunities to improve the user experience design. … If you’re getting the same question, it probably means you’ve made an incorrect assumption about information that a typical user is likely to have.
How to Turn Idiots Into Geniuses”
If you recogize the Idiot as a persona at your library, read the post.
“The Drama Queens
Too often, interactions with certain customers blow up far more quickly than service reps expect. As soon as their special requests are denied, some users will rant and rave and threaten legal action, while others calmly accept the fact that rules apply to everyone equally.
If you talk to customer service reps or community managers, they could probably name a dozen drama queens off the top of their heads. And they won’t look happy doing it either. You’ll see eye rolling and head shaking.
One client complained that every time they released a new feature or a significant change, their power users would blow up and start screaming and yelling about how the company was trying to ruin their lives. It got to the point that the product manager was terrified of releasing anything new for fear of angering customers.
The saddest part of all of this is that the people who cared the most about the product were the ones who were complaining the loudest when things didn’t go their way.
How to Turn Drama Queens Into Advocates”
If you recogize the Drama Queen as a persona at your library, read the post.
Scammers are both the hardest and the easiest group for customer service reps to deal with.
They’re tough, because determining whether someone is a scammer or just an idiot or drama queen is not always easy. They’re easy, because once you know for sure that someone is a scammer, the correct thing to do is ban them immediately and never let them come back.
The biggest problem is that misidentifying legitimate users as scammers can have an incredibly negative impact on your business. No one likes being accused of something they didn’t do.
Also, in a social environment, the behavior of scammers can have a negative effect on other users. Think of fraudulent buyers and sellers on eBay or the highly publicized assaults by people who advertise on Craigslist.
How to Turn Scammers Into Good Citizens”
If you recogize the Scammer as a persona at your library(Have you ever heard “But I’m sure I returned that book!), read the post.
“Other Problem Customers
Obviously, these three aren’t the only types of users that your customer service people will deal with. There will be the normal folks who have a genuine problem with your service or who find bugs. There will be people who want to cancel a subscription or ask a question about a policy.
But idiots, drama queens and scammers are the ones who will take up a disproportionate amount of your time and energy. They are the ones who can sap the spirit from your customer service reps and make them less able to deal with other problems.
Luckily, they also have the kinds of problems that you can address in your user interface. By providing the right information at the right time and enabling customers to report bad behavior, you can dramatically lower the amount of time you spend dealing with problem users. And that means you’ll have a lot more time to deliver fabulous service to your best customers!”
It’s a useful way of framing your relationship with your communities and managing you and your staff time productively. Then again, these folks won’t go away completely, it’s a Hydra monster! Being a professional is about handling it better than anyone else and taking pride in that skill and hard won experience.