Concierge Model for Librarians

At our annual leadership retreat yesterday (~50 department/unit managers), we kicked off our Concierge Model plan. I gave a Concierge for Librarians Presentation (w/ gratuitous cute doggie photo) to set the context.

Our Concierge concept has much in common with Corey Seeman’s Hospitality focus at the University of Michigan’s Kresge Business Administration Library, and I very much benefitted from his presentation and our conversations in Charleston (Yay for conferences and networking!).
In a nutshell, our Conciege approach consists of:

  • An explicit focus on exceptional customer service
  • A committment to providing a single point of contact (a “champion”) for scholars whose needs span several parts of the organization
  • A committment to providing a series of ongoing training events for our own staff to make sure we all stay informed of what services and resources are provided throughout our big, complex organization

After introducing the idea, we then asked folks (in groups) to do some improv skits of good and bad public service interactions. This turned out to be a great warm-up activity that allowed us to pull out some themes about what constitutes “exceptional customer service.”
After lunch, we had groups work on some Concierge Use Cases (PDF) and present them. Each group represented a cross-section of the organization, which meant that some Concierge cross-training began happening just in the small group discussions as staff had different levels of knowledge about services and resources related to their use case example. The discussion of the Use Cases really highlighted the value of the Concierge model and the need for staff training. A big challenge for us will be the growing list of topics folks added to the training agenda. Although, whenever staff are asking for more meetings, I figure we must have tapped into a real need.
I’ll certainly be sharing more as we implement, so stay tuned and wish us luck.

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