Category Archives: mobile crm software

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

Library Thought Leaders Q&A: Lisa Carlucci Thomas


Today’s Library Thought Leader is Lisa Carlucci Thomas, Director of design think do.

We have been exploring the idea of “Patron Relationship Management” (PRM) and it is the theme of this Q&A series. What areas of PRM are you seeing where libraries can benefit the most? What roles can mobile technologies play?
Libraries employ a variety of methods to establish and maintain quality service relationships with customers. Defining a patron relationship management (PRM) strategy ensures that library services align with the vision and goals of the institution and sets the standard for service consistency. As emerging information technologies have driven demand for new library communication channels, we’ve seen increased interest in the use of mobile and social tools to promote interactivity, expand outreach, market programs, and enhance the library service experience across digital platforms, and in our physical spaces, too. PRM tools offer integrated solutions to help libraries identify needs and priorities, obtain and assess feedback, and strengthen customer relationships.

While all libraries strive to deliver timely, effective, and seamless service to their users, many operate with minimal staffing and limited financial resources, which inhibit opportunities to take even modestly innovative risks. When you factor in the steady technological advancements of the last five years alone, combined with the outstanding cultural shift taking place in the way we collectively communicate and interact with information, what’s needed now and what’s realistic for libraries to implement right way become very different conversations. Meanwhile, patron expectations continue to evolve, and mobile users seeking mobile access to library services and collections expect to find what they need readily available. What they’re actually finding ranges from splendidly concise library mobile websites and mobile searchable catalogs to advanced and complex apps; from straightforward SMS reference services to mobile-social communities via Facebook and Twitter; from value-added mobile services (QR codes, augmented reality, place-based digital collections, research guides, and more) to no mobile services at all. How do you prioritize services and engage users across the spectrum of mobile interest? Early adopters are now adept at navigating the mobile information experience, and fledgling users expect those delivering the information to anticipate their needs.

Patron relationship management via text messaging supports mobile users at all levels of engagement by promoting direct, responsive, communication, and allows libraries to address and assess mobile information needs of their unique customer base. Mobile PRM expands the SMS reference concept to combine marketing, outreach, and interactivity to meet a broader need for information services beyond the reference inquiry. A study of the Text a Librarian statistics at Southern Connecticut State University, where I implemented and managed SMS reference from 2010-2011, determined a 60/40 split between reference and non-reference mobile interactions. As more libraries provide mobile offerings, including patron self-service features, mobile payments, room reservations and program registrations, and access to ebooks and digital collections, expect non-reference communications from mobile users to increase.

Social media is such a hot button topic for libraries as well as companies in CRM (Customer Relationship Management). How do you respond to libraries that say “Ok, we have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Now what?
Consider how these accounts support the communications and PRM strategy of the organization. Actually, this should be part of the first step, along with determining the name and brand that will be used to represent the organization. If you have the accounts already, make the time to have these discussions retrospectively. Document the organization’s social media objectives and priorities. Include a flexible structure and expect it to evolve. Train staff in social media norms and culture, functional use of the technology, and how and which channels to use for different types of content, and why. Staff the position like any public service. It’s not enough to simply monitor accounts; social media is proactive and interactive. Connect with others and build a network; this is your audience and community. Publish regular content, communicate with and respond to users, set goals, and track and assess progress. Who in the organization will be responsible for delivering timely, informed, interesting, valuable content on a regular basis? If multiple staff members will participate, who will manage the service and ensure consistency? Who will answer incoming questions across the organization’s social media channels and adequately and appropriately represent the organization’s vision and values? Who will manage analytics and report on statistics? Who will determine what content will be archived and how? Social media offers short-term, immediate engagement opportunities which can have long-term effect on consumer interest and loyalty. The advantages are high; the barrier to entry, generally, low. Libraries and organizations can work with partners, peers, and firms like design think do to establish an action plan for implementing and assessing communications, marketing, and PRM strategies via social media.

What is the most innovative new technology you’ve seen or heard about? Is there a way libraries can and should utilize it?
Mobile technologies, and related developments in the mobile-social information environment, are a driving force for innovation today. It’s difficult to pick just one aspect of mobile tech and call it “the most innovative” especially since we’re in a time of constant development, advancement, and growth, and mobile culture has widespread, cross-industry implications. Smart phones, such as iPhone and Android devices, multi-functional e-readers and tablet devices, such as the iPad, B&N Nook, and Kindle Fire are all being used to search, access, store, create, organize and interact with information. This is all still new technology to many of us; and even for the mobile-proficient, next generation devices and new applications with increased functionality and complexity continue to vex and inspire. Furthermore, expanding public interest in mobile services, including access to e-books and digital content, is fueling controversy related to digital publication, distribution, and licensing, for libraries, publishers, vendors, and organizations of all types. Libraries can and should utilize mobile technologies within the context of their organizational priorities and community needs. At minimum, librarians should actively learn about the changes that are taking place in the mobile sphere and consider how mobile technologies, social media, PRM and related innovations fit the goals and objectives of their libraries.

Thanks so much for your time! In closing, what are some great resources (along with contacting you, of course) for libraries looking to improve patron experiences and service?
Selected resources on mobile libraries, mobile culture, and patron self- service:

About Lisa:
Lisa Carlucci Thomas is a nationally recognized librarian and author known for her leadership, innovation, and research on mobile and social technologies. Her expertise includes ebooks, mobile libraries, social media, and technology trends and training. Lisa is the Director of design think do, providing custom creative services and innovation consulting for libraries and information organizations interested in mobile culture and services, ebook workflows and licensing, new media, and professional development programs. Lisa’s recent projects include the Library Journal Virtual Tech Summit: Power to the Patron: From Systems to Services and the Connecticut Library Consortium’s “Trendspotting 2011: eBooks: Collections at the Crossroads” symposium. Lisa is a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker  and 2009 ALA Emerging Leader. She previously managed library systems and digital initiatives at Southern Connecticut State University, and access services and digital collections at the Yale University Library. She writes the Social Eyes column for the Journal of Web Librarianship.

Contact:
Lisa Carlucci Thomas
http://lisacarlucci.com
lisa@lisacarlucci.com
twitter: @lisacarlucci

Director, design think do
http://designthinkdo.org
http://www.facebook.com/designthinkdo
twitter: @designthinkdo

Do you know a library thought leader (maybe you?) who’d be great for our Q&A series? Contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Mosio CEO Interview on UNTETHER.tv Discussing Text Messaging in the Mobile Workforce and Text a Librarian

I was interviewed by Rob Woodbridge @RobWoodbridge last week on UTETHER.tv (conversations with mobile industry rock stars). In the interview we discuss how Jay Sachdev and I got into the mobile business, our flagship product “Text a Librarian” and our new mobile software as a service product for mobile workforce automation, FieldForce Mobile.

Thanks Rob for the great interview!

Video embedded below:

Client Testimonial: Mosio’s Mobile Text Messaging Services for Events and Conferences

We absolutely love when clients are happy with our service. It might sound a bit cliche, but it’s true. We love happy clients because they make our job so much easier. With a few of us as parents or parents-to-be, we’re proud to have the PTA as a client.

Taken from an article entitled PTA: The Power of Parents: “Educators, administrators, academics, parents-even the mass media-all have been awakened to the overwhelming positive effect parent involvement can have on students’ academic performance.”

The PTA is one of the most powerful associations in education and we were honored to be chosen to power the mobile technology portion of their recent national conference.

Below is a testimonial from the client who has since acted as an amazing reference for us as well. Thanks Rebecca!

Just wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks and gratitude for engaging our attendees in a new way through Mosio! The alerts, info center texting and polling during our general sessions were a huge hit and we are hoping to continue all three with even greater usage amongst our attendees next year. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support throughout the set-up process. We look forward to the possibility of working with both of you again in the near future.

— Rebecca Burns, Director, Meetings & Conventions, National PTA

For information on how we can help engage your attendees through our text messaging solutions for conferences, events, meetings and trade shows, visit us at www.mosio.com.

Patron Relationship Management (PRM) – Mosio’s Future in Libraries

As we gear up for another ALA Annual the company has had some interesting discussions on new announcements and our directions in the world of library software.

A couple of weeks ago I had a great meeting/conversation with one of our partners and the discussion of library customer service came up. At the end of our partner meeting, someone said “we can give patrons access to all of the data in the world, but if we aren’t there for them from a customer service standpoint, it won’t matter.” Very true. Andy Woodworth’s blog post “Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be the Best Thing (…Right Now)” [link below] came up in an internal company meeting, specifically his two points about customer service and advocacy (from the comments it seems the post got a lot of people talking).

The idea of improved customer service, whether at libraries or businesses in general, will continue to be a significant function of an organization’s success in the information age. Aaron Tay’s recent blog post about regularly scanning Twitter and the web for feedback is great (he gives some tips on how to do so) [link below], obviously taking a page from what many companies are doing as part of their customer service: listening to social media mentions for good and bad comments. Neither are the first to talk about the ongoing need for pro-active/reactive customer service in libraries, but both are current and relevant.

So what does this mean for Mosio and Text a Librarian?

We’re still very new to libraries and we LOVE working with them. Frankly, we’re just getting started. While we have friends who are librarians and have a handful of amazing people advising us, we’re not librarians ourselves, nor have we ever pretended to be. In many ways we see this as a distinct advantage to building our product: we cast aside any preconceived ideas of how things should be done and focus instead on simplicity, usability and feedback from our customers. We also know the inner workings of mobile technologies, enabling us to offer reliable (and certified) mobile services to libraries. We recently made an announcement that Mosio’s Text a Librarian is being used by over 500 academic and public libraries. It’s something we’re very proud to have accomplished in such a short amount of time, but we could not have done it without listening to the people who matter most to our success, the librarians who use our software with the benefit of communicating with more patrons on-the-go. The combination of our expertise and passion about creating an amazing library service will continue to be the keys to our ongoing success.

Text Messaging: It’s Not Just for Reference Anymore

In the same announcement we also mentioned that Mosio is now offering our full list of mobile services to libraries. Text messaging can be used for so many things beyond virtual reference and we’re set up to offer additional services to the benefit of our customers. We’re thrilled to be able to continue working with new and existing customers in offering technology solutions that will help us fulfill our vision for our library software: Patron Relationship Management.

Patron Relationship Management

We truly believe this is going to be one of the key tools libraries will need in the future to maintain great patron relationships and relevance in the community. Two comments we hear often are “I wish we could answer all patron questions this way” and “I wish everything could be in one place.” One of those comments we take as a compliment, the other we are taking seriously as a wish list item. Our goal for Text a Librarian was always to start simply, create web-based software that’s easy to use, reliable and certified by the mobile carriers, then grow additional features, elements and uses to continue giving more patrons access to libraries on their mobile phones. You can expect to see more from us in the mobile technology space, but every new product or service we add will have patron communications and relationship management in mind.

Links

Andy Woodworth: Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be the Best Thing (…Right Now)
Aaron Tay: Why libraries should proactively scan Twitter & the web for feedback – some examples
LISWire: Mosio’s Text a Librarian in Over 500 Libraries, Announces Add-On Mobile Services

Text Messaging: The New 800 Number in Customer Service and Advertising Response

Traditional Customer Feedback

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Augmenting Toll Free 800 Numbers With Mobile Text Messaging for Customer Service
Americans are texting more than they’re talking, a trend that’s likely to grow more than slow down over the next 5-10 years. It’s easy and it’s quick. The popularity and usage of texting is no surprise as the on-the-go lifestyle ends up being more like living than a style type. The truth is, people are still going to use the phone to talk, but the growing usage of text messaging across all demographics shows more people prefer text messaging.

Customers Will Be Heard
The bell curve above illustrates how customer feedback has traditionally been given: in person, comment card, telephone and email. It used to be an extremely effective way to give feedback to a company. But with the growth of social media, customers are being heard by their friends, co-workers and strangers whether they are happy or unhappy with a product or service. Some companies have taken to Twitter to handle customer service issues, but “we’re on Twitter” is not a social media customer service strategy (and it’s certainly not a mobile customer service strategy).

I’m not suggesting companies using Twitter don’t continue to do so, but reacting to a tweet about a bad experience is like someone yelling “this food sucks!” in a crowded restaurant: you can run over and help your upset patron, but the damage has been done. That’s the obvious reason why so many companies are jumping into the social media space: they have to do so to protect their brand image. But there’s another way to protect one’s brand image: make yourself more available to communicate directly with your customers.

Text Messaging: New Customer Conversations

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Text Messages: Direct Customer Conversations
If people are texting twice as much as they are talking and they’re using text messaging and mobile apps on their phones to update their status and communicate with friends, companies need to make themselves available via the mobile channel. People are posting their loves and dislikes for a product or service on social media services because it’s easy to do so. Integrating text messaging gives companies an opportunity to start a customer conversation using the medium customers prefer and keep the conversation between them. Is it going to stop everyone from ranting on updates and blogs when they’re upset? No, but it opens up dialogue with more possible customers at a fraction of the cost of 800 tolls or chasing down posts online.

Text Messaging Beyond Customer Service: Direct Response in Marketing and Advertising
I hate the word “blast” when it comes to mobile marketing and it’s a word used far too often in our industry. Customers don’t want to be blasted on their mobile phones. In fact, it’s the last place they’d want to be communicated with in such a way. The mobile medium offers so much to traditional advertising with more and more research showing mobile getting better response rates than online advertising.

We soft launched a mobile advertising response product with a few marketing and advertising agencies and are getting great feedback. The system lets customers help themselves get more information immediately using their mobile devices. Text messaging as a method of responding to ads, whether they be print, TV, billboards, posters or flyers is going to be a huge hit in 2010 and beyond. Used in customer service, direct response or as a helpline for a brand, mobile text messaging is still in its infancy. What’s better, you don’t need “an app for that” to use it in your business.

For information on how Mosio can help you set up mobile text messaging customer satisfaction, service and feedback systems,contact us or visit www.mosio.com.