Can libraries adapt this idea?
Yesterday was my birthday and I was home for the day due to my preschooler having a fever. Had I been at work I may have missed out on this great customer service idea that really brightened what was otherwise a dreary winter day cooped up in the house.
For 5+ years I have been a member of a very large health and wellness center run by a local hospital. It is a beautiful facility and I’ve always been impressed with their exceptional customer service, especially in comparison to other gyms that I have belonged to in years gone by. In prior years I have received a postcard in the mail from them wishing me a happy birthday. It was not personalized in any way and, although a nice gesture, usually just went straight to the recycling bucket.
I did not get a postcard this year, instead I got a phone call wishing me a happy birthday, thanking me for my five years of membership and asking for feedback. I have not been using the facilities as much lately (and they noticed) and they wondered if there was a reason why. I explained that it was mostly a child care issue and a lack of time. We chatted for a few minutes and by the end of the call I felt a new sense of resolve to use my membership more frequently and get back in to my gym routine.
Is there a way that libraries could do something similar? Would library customers appreciate a birthday phone call or would it feel too intrusive? I am honestly not sure. The phone call yesterday from my gym made me feel like they valued my membership and my opinion. Would library patrons welcome the same chance to provide solicited feedback?
At the very least this type of birthday call is a way to systemically ensure that you make annual contact with your members for feedback and input. I would imagine that the gym would have left me a voice mail had I not been home asking me to call back if I wanted to talk.
If a birthday phone call is not appropriate or feasible for libraries, then perhaps an annual campaign where you call a percentage of those in your community with library cards to thank them for using the library and asking them for feedback. It is simple, personal and would likely generate lots of good ideas as well as constructive advice.
At MPOW we have done focus groups and we have done a variety of surveys over the years to get feedback. While very useful, they require the customer to make the effort to either show up for the group or to fill out the form. If it is the library calling them, they can simply talk for a few minutes (or not) and it requires no effort on their part. It makes the conversation easy. I am going to be giving this some thought and trying to devise a plan for how we can implement something similar to get feedback on our public programming. Let me know if you have done this before and have any advice.