Category Archives: chat technology for libraries

5 Reasons You Should Have Ask-a-Librarian on Every Page of Your Website


To get the most value out of your library’s services and provide patrons with the highest level of service, it is important to make it as easy as possible for your patrons to connect with those services

The best way to connect patrons with your Ask-a-Librarian service is to have Ask-a-Librarian tabs, links or buttons on every page of your library’s website. Here are five ways that implementing such a strategy with your online reference will benefit your users:

1. All successful advertisers know that the key to getting a message across is through repetition and consistent branding. When your patrons interact with a consistent layout from page to page and see Ask-a-Librarian on every page, you have created the best possible ongoing marketing campaign for your service, with an important added bonus: It’s free.

2. While we can predict some user behavior, we never really know when and where on a website patrons are going to need assistance. A patron may be on a page where the information seems to be straight-forward to librarians, but to an uninitiated patron the information may leave questions. Likewise, a patron may be on one page but thinking ahead to another problem or the next step in his or her research process. Having Ask-a-Librarian immediately available from wherever the patron may be on the library’s website ensures that he or she will be able to connect to help when needed.

3. If a patron is interacting with the library’s website, encounters a problem, and then has to recall where to go to find the Ask-a-Librarian service, the library has not succeeded in making the most of the service’s primary benefit to users – the ability to connect them instantly with a library professional who can solve their problem.

4. Consistent placement of the Ask-a-Librarian tab on your library’s webpages makes marketing the service via social media or flyers much easier. When the Ask-a-Librarian tab is on every page of your library website, there is no need to place an easily forgotten URL (or URLs) on your marketing materials – simply state that the Ask-a-Librarian service is available from every page on the library website and where it is located (“look for our Ask-a-Librarian tab in the upper left-hand corner of any page on the library site”).

5. Each Ask-a-Librarian query that comes from a specific page can help you improve the overall content and design of that page. When you have an Ask-a-Librarian chat box on every page, and you are tracking which pages queries come in from, this gives you the great benefit of an ongoing focus group indirectly telling you what works and what doesn’t work on every page of your library’s site.

Responding quickly to queries will help you provide the top-notch customer service that will keep your library patrons satisfied and returning for more business. To make sure your patrons submit those queries whenever they need help on your library’s site, you should have ask-a-librarian tabs on every page.

 

Mosio for Libraries
Patron Support Simplified
http://mosio.com/libraries

25 Great Text Messaging Acronyms You May or May Not Need to Know for Your Text-a-Librarian Service

Do you speak text?

Mosio_TextSpeak_Translator

Your patrons speak many languages, and you can’t learn them all. But one thing you can do to improve service to your patrons is familiarize yourself with some of the more common terms and phrases in their languages of preference. If your patron is text-savvy enough to be texting his or her librarian, then one of his or her languages of preference is chat and chances are he or she is up on the latest text messaging acronyms.

A great way to enhance chat service for your patrons and maximize your efficient use of time is to become familiar with some of the most common and helpful text messaging acronyms. Speaking your users’ languages, especially in online communications, will help them feel more comfortable and give that personal touch so they don’t feel like they are talking to a robot.

There are thousands of text messaging acronyms, but we want to stick to the ones that can be used in a professional environment and that are not too obscure. These are the ones your users will likely be using, and these are the ones that you should be using as well. You will want to tailor your chat acronym use to each session, gauging each individual user’s chat acronym expertise level by the acronyms that he or she uses him- or herself.

Here is a list of 25 text messaging acronyms which you can add to your arsenal of reference tools.

AAP – Always a pleasure
BIF – Before I forget
BRB – Be right back
BTW – By the way
EOM – End of message
F2F – Face to face
GL – Good luck
HAND – Have a nice day
IANAL – I am not a lawyer
IMA – I might add
IMO – In my opinion
IOW – In other words
ISWYM – I see what you mean
JIC – Just in case
OIC – Oh, I see
OTOH – On the other hand
PD – Public domain
SOW – Speaking of which
THX – Thanks
TTBOMK – To the best of my knowledge
TYVM – Thank you very much
WB – Welcome back
WRT – With regard to
WTG – Way to go!
YW – You’re welcome

The patron texting a question is typically expecting a quick response and librarians need to be prepared to answer text-a-librarian questions promptly. Lots of chat acronyms, such as ROFL and L8R, are designed for close friends. Your users may employ such acronyms, but you will want to restrict your use to the more professional ones such as those in the list above.

And if your patron sends you a puzzling collection of letters and you have no idea what they mean, Mosio’s text speak translator will give you the help you need with its 800+ text messaging acronym definitions.

4 Ways an “Ask a Librarian” Presence on your Online Databases Empowers your Library

mfl_database_network

Multitasking is incorporated into our 21st century work production and technologies. Having the capability to simultaneously access multiple technologies is often a requirement of today’s workforce. We have become structured to completing multiple tasks at one sitting and when our work demands it. it is advantageous to have our libraries accommodating this need as well.

It is common for database users to have questions

While working at the reference desk of the library, a high percentage of the questions called in from our patrons relate to accessing the databases. Usually, database access requires the patron to know their borrower ID, password, PIN or other access codes. It would be beneficial for patrons to have the option of selecting an “Ask a Librarian” presence for convenience in contacting a librarian for their questions when attempting to access their library’s databases.

Adds a personal touch to your services

Working with databases can sometimes feel impersonal, especially when the patron is new to database usage and requires the assistance of the librarian. Offering patrons the option of an “Ask a Librarian” presence can lessen the users feelings of being overwhelmed and frustrated when navigating through the databases or while using some of the library’s other online technologies.

Connects patrons back to their library

Libraries are attempting to encourage more patron usage in our physical libraries to allow for greater interaction while at the same time increasing our patron’s awareness of our in-house resources including computer instruction classes, speakers from our communities, the latest bestsellers along with introducing them to the other materials and technologies we have to offer them within the physical walls of their libraries. This could be seen as a win-win for patrons and libraries. As we acquaint our users with an “Ask a Librarian” presence, we are in essence tightening our limited opportunities for closer interactions with our users.

Provides library staff the opportunity to introduce patrons to other library services

When library patrons connect to the library for assistance while using our databases, oftentimes it is apparent to librarians that we have additional resources we can introduce the patron to that can be beneficial for their research or school work that they may not be aware of. Last week when a student used our “Ask a Librarian” service in relating his difficulty in finding database information for his chosen research topic, I suggested we also search America’s Newspapers database, where together, we netted a variety of results. This is just one example of the constructive interplay that can be developed between patrons and librarians by including an “Ask a Librarian” type of presence on your online databases.

Diane Perrine is a freelance writer and an academic librarian at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Florida. She resides in Ocala Florida.
Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, bicycling, volunteering and learning something new everyday.

This article is provided by Mosio for Libraries. To receive these directly in your inbox, please register for our Patron Support Tips Newsletter.


Patron Support Simplified
www.mosio.com/libraries

Can personalized library customer service survive in our increasingly digital and mobile world?

Mosio Picture

The image of the library in the modern world is changing as rapidly as technology. Gone are the silent, cavernous collections guarded by scowling librarians. Libraries of today are as much about computers and information technology as they are about books. But, one of the things that has always made the library experience so special is the personal touch that customer service provides. The human aspect of libraries is something that can never be replaced by technology, and indeed, today it is more important than ever due to the massive amount of information that is available to patrons.

In the libraries of yesterday, patrons may have sought help in using the card catalogue or locating a book on the shelves. The customer service aspect of those times was much narrower in scope. A patron today may need assistance with a variety of media; books, software, internet databases, and more. Even though so much can be accessed in a solitary fashion, i.e. the patron perusing materials independently, the library experience can be made so much better with strong, personalized customer service. And, thanks to ever-evolving options, the way that customer service can be provided is as diverse as technology itself.

Customer service no longer has to be limited to the actual brick-and-mortar library. Texting, which is vastly popular in society as a whole, is a wonderful tool for librarians to use when helping patrons. A patron can literally be anywhere and still be able to get personalized help and important answers. As much information as there is in the world, there is still no substitute for having an actual knowledgeable person to help a patron with a question. Personalized customer service is as vital today as ever—perhaps even more so! It is a very reachable goal for all libraries to foster strong interaction with their patrons through ever more diverse means. Pursuing this ideal will ensure that libraries remain the most vital source of information that they can be.

About the author: Lizabeth C.S. Bell has worked as a librarian, and has a great appreciation for the power of information. She has degrees in English literature and library science. Currently, Lizabeth is a freelance editor and writer. Follow her on Twitter @LizBell9.

Adding Support Tabs: Copy/Paste Emails to Send to IT or Tech Support

The best way to get your Mosio Support Tabs where you want them?
Ask nicely, of course. Here’s how…

mosio_playswell_logos2

Hello!

Every week we’re seeing new examples of libraries adding their Mosio Support Tabs to their websites, blogs and online collections with ease. Some of them are able to add the code themselves, but those who can’t code have to use other skills: good communication sprinkled with some please and thank yous. This post will give you some copy and paste text to send an email to your web master, IT manager or technical support contact at another vendor to get your tabs up on their sites.

Copy the information below the **** below and add your own little “pretty please and thank you” flair to the email when you send it for best results. The copy/paste text is broken in two sections. Subject Line and Email Body. Copy the text in between the ******

Please note:
In the places below where it says XXXXXXX, you’ll need to change XXXXXXX with your Mosio keyword for it to work.

SUBJECT LINE:
**************************************************************
Adding our Mosio Support Tab to our Pages (Please and Thank You)
**************************************************************

EMAIL BODY:
**************************************************************************************
Hello Wonderful IT/Tech Support Person!

We’d like to get our Mosio Support Tab on the pages of our site/databases so our customers/patrons can have access to us from every page. There are specific instructions below from the Mosio Support Team and if you have any questions, they said you can always email them directly with questions at support@mosio.com

Support Widget Installation:
To get the widget up and running, please copy and paste the following code into the footer of the HTML, just above the </body> tag (or as close to it as you can get). The widget tab will automatically appear on the top right side of the site, but we can customize the appearance and placement after the code is placed.

Getting the widget/tab code on the pages of our website now will enable us to get started, and as they update features, we won’t have to change or update the code. In fact, we’ll be able to customize the widget from within our account.

Note: If in the code below, you see “XXXXXXX”, please ask me for our keyword, it is supposed to go there.

Our Support Widget Code to Paste:
<!– start Mosio Support Widget –>
<div id=”mosio-widget-container”></div>
<script src=”https://chat.mosio.com/chat/widget.js?keyword=XXXXXXX” type=”text/javascript”><\/script>
<!– end Mosio Support Widget –>

Thank you so much for your help, you are the absolute best and I should buy you cupcakes or something.

Sincerely,

Your Friend
**************************************************************************************

That’s it! You can send this to your webmaster, IT Manager or the Technical Support team for any of the online databases you subscribe to. We’ve found all we’ve been in contact with to be very helpful.

Thanks and as always, if you have any questions, please let us know.

Have a wonderful day,

The Mosio Team

Mosio for Libraries
Patron Support Software
www.mosio.com/libraries

—-

Library Customer Service: Online vs. In-Person (Ask a Librarian Software vs. Asking a Librarian in Real Life)

Library-Customer-Service-Mosio-for-Libraries

Libraries, and the folks who work in them, solve problems for patrons by connecting them with the resources and information that they need.

In today’s online world an ever-increasing amount of this help is taking place via the magic of the web and mobile technologies. Patrons are no longer face-to-face with the library staff who are helping them. Instead, they are communicating with the library from their homes, their offices, and on-the-go via their mobile devices.

Libraries today must be ready to deliver excellent customer service in this online environment. Top-notch customer service is something patrons have come to expect from libraries, and this service needs to extend to the growing world of virtual assistance.

Online customer service is applied in different ways than face-to-face customer service, but it adheres to the same two central precepts:

(1) Ensure the patron knows you are listening to his or her query and that you are committed to helping until his or her information problem is resolved; and

(2) Do it with a smile on your face.

Using Ask a Librarian Software you can achieve number one by frequently communicating with patrons so they know you have not left them. Remember, they cannot see you, so you must tell them exactly what you are doing. One minute of unexplained silence in a chat box can seem an eternity and is enough to lose a patron. If a search is taking longer than expected, give the patron frequent updates so he or she knows you are still with them.

To achieve number two, you must convey your smile with the language that you use. Phrases like, “It’s my pleasure to help you today,” “Have I answered all of your questions fully and completely,” and “Thank you for being so patient,” will go a long way towards conveying that smile and giving your patrons the warm, cared-for feeling they look forward to from a library interaction.

Michael English is an academic librarian and freelance writer/editor.

This article is provided by Mosio for Libraries. To receive these directly in your inbox, please register for our Patron Support Tips Newsletter.


Patron Support Simplified
www.mosio.com/libraries

Curiosity takes off and lands…at the library!

Curiosity takes off and lands…at the library!

Lost Race of Mars by Robert Silverberg

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We landed on Mars again. High five! Ok, moving on…

Updates This Week:
* Sound Notifications – You now get the “whale” sound when a new chat comes in along with a “dink” sound during a chat when it is “your turn” to respond. To turn sound on, click on Settings > Notifications, then scroll down to the bottom and click the Yes dot under “Play a Sound.” Done!
* Embeddable Widget – This is going live tonight, instructions on how to implement it are in the Chat Help section of your microboard (upper right). Please note: You place the code for the embeddable widget where you want it on the page, so it’s different than the tab. When we enable customization of the widget/tab in the next couple of weeks, we’ll do the same for the embeddable widget. Thanks for your patience!
* No Agent On Duty / Text Me  –  Also going live tonight, when no one is logged in to chat, our widget will slide out and ask the patron to type their question and their phone number so they can be responded to via text message. This is the next step in the full support widget. Here’s what it looks like:
Coming Up Next:

* More of the slide out widget you see above with Email and Text Me inputs – The complete patron support package in one widget/tab.

* Pro-Active Chat Option – Don’t let patrons leave your website! Once implemented, you’ll be able to have a chat window pop up after a patron has been on your website for a short time. If you’ve been to our site during regular business hours, you’ve seen it. We heard from one of our libraries who has used it before that they absolutely LOVED IT, it is the store equivalent of a greeter saying “hello, is there anything I can help you with?” when you walk in. You don’t have to turn it on, but we’re hearing some excitement about it.

* Customized Look and Feel – Also a popular request, you will be able to adjust colors, text, placement of your widget tabs! Due to the way things are being developed, this feature has to be after the Email and Text Me functionalities are in place, but we promise, we have every intention of giving you control over the design of your widget so it flows with your website. Thank you for your patience on this.

* Jay’s Surprise (A Special Feature from our CTO) – Sorry, we can’t tell you, even though he pretty much told us what it is. :)

Patron Support Tips Newsletter!
We have a regular email newsletter that goes out with Patron Support Tips. It has tips, tricks, news, information and resources to help you get the most from your reference and patron communications.
SIGN UP HERE

That’s all for now, we’ll send the next newsletter when we release a new set of features which is VERY SOON!

Have a wonderful day,

The Text a Librarian Team
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The Best Meebo Alternative for Libraries: Mosio’s Text a Librarian

Mosio’s Text a Librarian now includes Chat + Text Messaging + Email + Website Support Tab Widgets

The Best Meebo Alternative for Libraries: Mosio’s Text a Librarian

We’d like to start by congratulating the Meebo team on being acquired by Google. We had the chance to meet with a few of them back when we started Text a Librarian and those we spoke with were incredibly intelligent and very nice. Even with the excitement of selling your company (especially to the tune of $100 million), there must be a bitter-sweet element to building an amazing product only to have it shut down by the acquiring company. It seems not all Meebo products will be going away and the team gets to work on Google +, so I’m sure there is much more sweet than bitter.

Many libraries have enjoyed using Meebo’s services to offer web-based chat/IM to support patrons, many of them Text a Librarian clients, so it comes as no surprise many are going to be wondering what their next chat/instant messaging move is. In our opinion, their next move should be Mosio’s Text a Librarian. Why?

Mosio’s 3 promises to libraries (and librarians), listed below.

I don’t want to take any thunder out of the announcements we have coming up over the next two weeks, of which there are some very exciting ones, but if you are an existing customer of ours, trust me when I say you’ll be excited to stick with us. If you’re a library looking for ways of being more efficient in your patron communications and relationship management across mobile and web technologies, you’ll want to take a look at what we’ve created and are continuing to build.

Mosio powers web-based customer support software for many different types of clients, including Fortune 500 companies and the United States Government. We love that we are able to offer the same, enterprise-grade technology, increased accessibility and technical support to libraries at discounted rates.

In our opinion, personalized customer service beats self-service. We sincerely believe it to be one of the biggest opportunities libraries have in the future: Personalized Service. We build our technology with the awareness that libraries have to do much more with less to “compete” with businesses, websites and the media for patron attention.

As we continue to add new exciting features, functions and partners to our service offering, I want to share 3 promises to libraries (and librarians) from Mosio.

1) Simplicity in Plans and Pricing
We will continue to add features and functionality with the goal of keeping the price of plans the same. Our original plans have stayed the same price since 2008 and we want to keep them that way. As a company we do not try and think of ways to increase revenue through add-on modules or “new” products to sell to libraries for more money. It’s too confusing and we prefer to make our existing product better at the same price, rewarding our existing customers for staying with us and offering ideas to improve the service.

2) Reliability and Next Generation Technologies Built With Your Work Efficiencies Top of Mind
Our technology is used and depended on by a wide variety of customers where timely message receipt and response is paramount. We use our own, U.S. mobile carrier-approved text messaging short code (66746) to maintain that reliability instead of skirting carrier compliance through 10 digit texting numbers, not permitted for normal Text a Librarian messaging. 10 digit texting numbers are unreliable, not carrier certified and the preferred tool for text message spammers in the United States.

We also use SSL encryption, the same used in online banking and offer anonymous PatronIDs for privacy. If you are a Mosio customer, your messages are important and your data is secure. We make our technology and product development choices accordingly.

3) Great Customer Service and Quick Support Responses With a Smile
Being in the business of supporting customers/patrons, we truly understand the importance of getting great service that makes us better at our jobs. We also know a touch of humor and personality go a long way when helping people and will always do our best to get you the quickest response/fix possible while keeping a positive attitude. It’s not only the best way to make a relationship successful, it makes work more fun.

Meebo is going away, but patron needs for answers and support are not. We’ll keep making the technology to enable you to support them simply, more efficiently and hopefully with a smile and we look forward to serving you in the future. If you have any questions about our company or service, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you don’t have any questions for us, but want to see a funny dancing gif, you may enjoy this one.

Thanks and have a wonderful day!

Noel and the Mosio Team

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Getting More Patron Usage from your Text a Librarian Service | Best Practices from Mosio’s Text a Librarian

The video below is a recorded session discussing how we’re seeing libraries increase patron usage. Below is a transcript of the notes taken during the recording.

 

Increasing Patron Usage of your Text a Librarian Service:

 

Get patrons to register their phones.

 

The following conversation took place late in the evening as part of a podcast test run…

 

We decided to keep it as is.

 

Best practices for increasing Text a Librarian usage among patrons.

 

Your cell phone is your database of contacts.

 

No one remembers phone numbers anymore.

 

If someone’s number isn’t in your phone, they’re not an active part your world.

 

Even voting on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance requires you to “remember later.”

 

The goal isn’t about marketing or promoting your service, it’s about registering patron phones.

 

Simply put:
Your library’s contact info needs to be on their phone.

 

Academic libraries have shown us the best practice for getting patrons to use their text a librarian service.

 

Text for Instructions is the best way to get patrons to register their phones.

 

Text KEYWORD to 66746.
(Except use your library’s keyword)

 

Text for Instructions presents the patron with a different experience.

It gives them a specific call to action right NOW.

With your info in their phone, they’ll have it when they are out in the world.

 

Focus on getting them to text in the first time – register their phones.

 

It doesn’t hurt to remind them regularly too (text message alerts are great for that).

 

All promotional materials and instructions should have that “TRY IT NOW!” call to action.

 

Libraries are getting this and putting it into practice, with success!

 

Everyone is texting, encourage them to text with you.

Research shows they prefer it over a phone call.

 

Academic Libraries have a different opportunity with orientation.

 

But…
Public Libraries can do it at various times where they have the attention of groups of people.

 

Events
Speakers
Training
Open Houses
Announcements

Text for Instructions works!
It educates patrons on how to begin asking questions…

 

And…
it is also great for having patrons sign up to receive alerts and announcements.

 

1) Get Patrons to Register their phones.

2) Use Text for Instructions to do it.

3) Remind them whenever possible.


Thanks!

Mosio’s Text a Librarian

www.textalibrarian.com

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Word of Mouth Marketing in Libraries – Info and Articles

Then and Now…

Faberge Shampoo started it all with their famous commercial from the 1970s. Peggy Barber and Linda Wallace nail it in their new article, “The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing” in the November issue of American Libraries Magazine. We wrote a post called “Word of Mouth: The Best Form of Social Media” as part of our Library Marketing Tips series.

I definitely recommend reading the whole article, but here are short versions of their “Why WOMM?” bullets to get you started:
1. It’s real and immediate.
2. It’s personal.
3. It’s honest.
4. It’s catching.
5. It’s customer-driven.

More Info and Articles

1. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has a great educational section, WOMMA 101, giving some great initial information as well as their Best Practices Handbook (free in PDF).

2. A great blog post from Marketing Vox containing some stats (and charts and graphs), Real-Life WOM Beats Online by a Wide Margin.

3. About.com article Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing? by Laura Lake.

Shhhhh…don’t tell anybody.
;)