10 Tips for Picking Up Patrons

Managing the patron queue can be difficult, particularly as AskAway gets busier. We’re all committed to providing the best patron experience possible and sometimes this means holding back a moment when a new question arrives to ensure it’s picked up by the librarian best suited to answer that question.  Here’s some tips compiled by Myfanwy Postgate, one of our BC ELN AskAway librarians…

10 Tips for Picking Up Patrons

1. Check the Librarians tab. Check which institutions your colleagues are from via the Librarians tab when you first login. These will often change each hour so check the tab again at regular intervals!

2. Hold-back a moment! When a new question appears check the institution it’s from and hold back a few seconds for the patron’s institutional librarian to pick-up… if one is available.

3. Transfer if needed. If they’re currently occupied or haven’t picked up within 30-60 seconds then go ahead and grab the question. You can always transfer it at the patron or librarian’s request.

TIP: Often a patron will ask outright during chat if you’re a librarian from their institution. Be honest! If an institutional librarian is available for transfer make the request. If not let the patron know that a librarian from their institution isn’t currently available but you are able to help with most questions and will refer them if you are unable to answer.

** Read the full post for additional tips. **

4. Read the question! Take a moment to hover over and read the new question before picking up – this will give every librarian a moment to check it out.

5. What’s your status? Update your colleagues in Campfire on your question status. Often a librarian will show as having multiple questions but their patrons may be slow responders or off searching and that librarian is available to help new patrons from their institution.

6. Monitor the tabs. During your shift frequently check the All or Librarians tab to see which of the librarians are currently engaged. A quick peek at the tab before picking up a new question can also help the patron work with a librarian from their institution.

7. Communicate technical problems. Patrons disconnect from the Qwidget more frequently than we’d like. If your patron is having connection problems let others in Campfire know so you can grab them when they return. Remember you can also transfer if necessary…

8. Get to know your colleagues. Chat with your colleagues in Campfire to find out their subject specialisation. You may be working with a biology librarian or technical wiz that could answer that patron more effectively.

9. Offer assistance! We all know that certain questions or assignments are repeated. Communicate with your colleagues if you’ve recently answered a similar question and have a great resource or offer to take the question transfer.

10. Need help with your question? Perhaps your colleagues have the perfect answer or are available for transfers – Ask in Campfire!

Have more questions or concerns about queue management? Contact Sunni!

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