Category Archives: Patron Relationship Management

Marketing Lessons from NYPL – 3 Great Executions that Built a Buzz

Bain News Service, publisher.</p>
<p>N.Y. Public Library on opening day</p>
<p>[between 1910 and 1915]</p>
<p>1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller.</p>
<p><b>Notes:<br />
</b> Title from unverified data provided by the Bain News Service on the negatives or cap...

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself” ~ Peter F. Drucker

The unparalleled way to promote your service or product would be to intrinsically build within that product or service the finest features the customer would want that type of product to embody. This accurately defines the formation and continued success of the New York Public Library (NYPL).

Originally executing its architectural grandness, continuing with the library’s holdings while staying current with technology, NYPL continues to grow with the times while remaining a historic landmark.

There was considerable wisdom exercised in the amalgamation of great architecture with a great library, the one can’t help but complement the other. This is one of the original defining executions of the New York Public Library. The Beaux-Arts masterpiece, constructed with white Dorset marble, featuring a wide staircase guiding library patrons to three grand arches next to Corinthian columns supporting relief sculptures representing philosophy, romance, religion, poetry, drama and history. Edward Clark Potter’s famous sculpted stone lions Patience (Lady Astor) and Fortitude (Lord Lenox) guard the library’s south and north side, respectively.

The collection housed within the New York Public Library is itself another inherent marketing attraction. Some of NYPL’s permanent in-house residents include the Gutenberg Bible, an original manuscript copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, Charles Dickens’ favorite letter opener, a 1493 copy of Columbus letter announcing discovery of the New World, Jack Kerouac’s crutches, Truman Capote’s cigarette case, approximately 40,000 restaurant menus from the 1850′s to current and for the children or children at heart, the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals along with the thousands of books and items including musical scores, historic maps, art, recordings and manuscripts.

NYPL is hardly resting on its historical laurels alone in continuing to market their distinguished resource. Staying current with technology represents another mark of success with the NYPL. Patrons today can be seen throughout the library accessing Wi-Fi on their laptops. The library’s automated book delivery system sends books within minutes of request by conveyor to the Rose Main Reading Room (seats more than 600 readers) where the public can read with the help of the original Carre-and-Hastings lamps. NYPL’s marketing understands the value of social media, employing sites such as Twitter where in March 2013 they encouraged their Twitter followers at @NYPL to submit “poetic tweets” for their poetry contest. Along with Twitter, the library is staying current in marketing by using other sites including Facebook, Google, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Continuing to embrace its past while staying mindful of the future, NYPL accommodates to changes that are necessary to continue forward. With its structural integrity, magnificent collections and current technologies, NYPL has continued to prove itself a marketing success.

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.

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Four Reasons Online Customer Service Matters to Libraries

Four Reasons Online Customer Service Matters to Libraries
A library’s power lies in the information it houses. Getting that information to patrons is the number one task of any librarian. We are lucky to live in an age where a library can extend its influence well beyond its walls, reaching patrons anywhere, anytime. A strong online presence lets patrons know that they have access to their library—and professional assistance—wherever they may be. What can strong online customer service do for your library?

1. Eliminate boundaries.

Customer service doesn’t begin and end at the door. Let your patrons know that they can get the answers they need, even if the questions arise far from the circulation desk! Online customer service allows patrons to be helped quickly and efficiently.

2. Strengthen your community.

Building a stronger rapport with patrons empowers everyone. Increasing the availability of your library’s services makes it an even bigger part of the community at large. A library that is valued by the community is more likely to thrive and grow.

3. Give technology a personal touch.

Information technology provides a wealth of data. However, it does not replace the value of having a human to help retrieve the most accurate results. Librarians have a unique skill set that can make the difference when looking for reliable answers to important questions. Patrons will make better, more frequent use of library resources if they know they can get help when they need it!

4. Expand your services.

Strong online customer service generates a win-win situation. Libraries have books, of course. But, having a bigger presence online can help patrons take advantage of other services they may not have otherwise accessed. These include the online catalog and interlibrary loan, online periodical databases, educational programs, and more. Personalized help with these services will guarantee stronger use of library services, which, in turn, will foster stronger ties between library and community.

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

Patron Support Tips: Technology Learning As Process

Technology Learning As Process

pst_march2013_techprocess

What if we transformed the notion that technology is something to learn, and instead, cultivated an understanding of technology learning, and the support it requires, as a continuous action? This thought was fresh in my mind this week as I prepared my schedule for the South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference and the Electronic Resources & Libraries (ER&L) #ideadrop house, a librarian-organized venue for all things libraries, technology, and innovation. Event organizers for both SXSW Interactive and ER&L #ideadrop use the SCHED conference scheduling tool, which was previously unfamiliar to me.
Quick learning? Necessary. Mistakes made? You know it. Two minutes into using SCHED, I had somehow created duplicate accounts. Twenty more circuitous minutes passed by before I realized that I could simply click on a star next to the session title to add it to my conference schedule. After repeatedly thinking, “There must be an easier way,” I discovered that there was, and it was there all along right in front of me. I was learning while doing, in real-time.  If SCHED had real-time support available on the site, it would have saved time, frustration, and an email to the help desk (email, an asynchronous solution in synchronous times).

pst_march_2013_ERLsched
While we aim to learn new technologies, technology learning itself is present progressive. It’s never complete. It’s a series of ongoing teachable moments, many self-taught, across platform and purpose, and riddled with frightening stumbles of uncertainty. Whether by training or trial and error, we eventually master the necessary skills and confidence to accomplish our objectives. That is, until the next required tech tool sends us back to square one. Sometimes, that’s ok. We experiment with the latest tech thing and compare it to what we know about the one we prefer, or are most experienced using (I’m still not over Instagram’s popularity eclipsing my old friend Flickr).
At other times, we don’t have the luxury of the exploration. Technology learning is an active, integrated part of our lives. We develop operational knowledge of how to achieve a desired outcome concurrent with actually creating it. More than ever, we, along with our customers, need active, integrated solutions for obtaining synchronous support when the answers aren’t obvious.  We’re all learning while doing, in real-time, every day.

Lisa Carlucci Thomas is the Director and Founder of Design Think Do, specializing in library innovation, technology, and creative services. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisacarlucci.

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Mosio’s Text a Librarian is now Mosio for Libraries: Multi-Channel Customer Support Software for Libraries

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For awhile now, our customers have been simultaneously paying us a compliment, but also making a huge feature request: “I wish we could answer all of our patron’s questions this way.” We were flattered, we’ve been listening and now we can say we have fulfilled that wish. Well, almost. Libraries using our software can now respond to patron inquiries via Text Messaging, Live Web Chat and Email, all from a single, web-based dashboard. Plus, we’ve made it easy for libraries to have a larger digital footprint by working with some of the leading vendors and applications in the industry to make it simple to add their Mosio for Libraries support tab, customizable in color, wording and placement on the web.

So, with some more advice in the form of “you guys are more than just Text a Librarian now”, we’ve decided to change the name of the product. We figure Mosio for Libraries describes it perfectly.

If you are an existing customer or partner of ours, thank you for growing with us as we’ve evolved. If you are looking for a better way of supporting your library patrons/customers, we guarantee Mosio for Libraries is the most efficient tool you will use to do so.

We are busy adding new features, working with as many integration partners as possible and look forward to serving you in the future. For more information about how we can provide your library with the fastest way to provide support to your patrons online and on-the-go, contact us for a webinar or a free quote.

Thanks and we look forward to serving you.

The Mosio Team

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

Customize Your Support Tabs / Widgets – Mosio’s Patron Support Software for Libraries

Customization is Here – Upload Your Library’s Own Support Tab

Hello!

Support Tab customization is here! You are now able to upload your own Support Tab design (or use one of the 70 we have created in our Support Tabs Gallery). This enables you to create a Support Tab that has the look and feel of your own site, along with your desired “call to action” (Contact Us, Support, Ask a Librarian, etc.)

You are also able to choose if you want your widget on the Right, Left, Top or Bottom of your page AND you can decide where it aligns.

To upload your own Support Tab:

1) Log in to your microboard.

2) In the upper right, click on Support Widget Admin (this is where you log in and out of chat).

3) Click on Customize Your Widget.

CapturFiles_6

This is what you’ll see on the next page (although your tab will most likely be green)…

widget_customization

After you have uploaded your new support tab, it will immediately show up on your site, you do not need to replace any code on your website.

The Mosio Development Team has been working on several features and fixes over the past few months, we will be announcing more soon, but many people have been asking about being able to have control of the look and feel of the support tabs, so we pushed those live.

Some Quick FAQs:

* Will we be able to change the colors and feel of the widgets themselves?
The widget that slides out will remain white for now, but the Tab that sits on your site can be updated and changed by you as often as you like.  See “Chat Widget Pop Out” below to learn how the widget itself is changing.

 

* Why is that?
We have some feature updates coming up that we feel will make for a better librarian and patron user experience. By keeping the widgets a uniform way, it enables us to make it easier for you to take advantage of those features without spending any time in design or coding. After gathering some feedback from some customers, we heard that because the Support Tab is literally on every page, it was better to give everyone graphic and design control. The upcoming features (see below) will enable us to make these changes seamlessly without requiring anything new on your part except turning them on in some cases.

 

* Do we have to change or update the Mosio code on our web pages?
No and this has always been our goal. We feel it is better to have you place code on your site once and then as we add features and functionality, not to have to ask you to change any code on your end. This way you can manage features from your microboard without having to know any HTML or programming languages once the code is on your site.

 

* Can we be logged into the microboard, but logged out of Chat?
Absolutely. Look in the upper right of the microboard for Support Tab Admin – that’s where you log in and out of chat (see image above).

 

* What other features are coming?
- “I Got It” for Chat:
When a new chat starts, it will post to everyone who is logged in for someone to claim.

 - Chat Widget Pop Out: When a patron starts a web chat from the widget, it will pop into a new window to give them more freedom to click around your website or databases.

 - Email Response: Patrons will be able to choose Email when they decide how they want to be contacted.

 - Choose Your Channel: Patrons will be able to choose any channel to be responded to, even if librarians are online and ready to conduct a Web Chat. This means a patron who has a question, but might not have time for a web chat can type their question and be contacted later, much better than having the, leave the website with their question unasked.

* When are all of these new features going live?
All of the features listed above are being worked on currently and have been during customization. We will be posting target launch dates for each very soon.

We’ll send more updates and feature announcements soon!

Thanks and have a great day!

The Mosio Team

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Support Tabs for Library Websites – Mosio offers 70 different colors and types!

support-tabs-gallery

We just created a gallery of 70 support tabs for our customers to use and will be including the source file so you can make your own. They come in different colors, formats and text treatments to create a tab best suited for your website, blog or content management system.

Mosio has created the best web-based help desk software for libraries. Help more patrons everywhere more efficiently, in real-time or on your time. Whether they are online or on the go, Mosio makes it simple to communicate with them.

Contact us now for a free consultation and quote.

Mosio's Text a Librarian - As seen in TIME

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Audacity & Innovation: Taking Risks and Shaking Things Up [Library Technology Tips]

Audacity & Innovation: Taking Risks and Shaking Things Up

This was originally post in our Patron Support Tips Newsletter. Sign up for free!

Flipping through Wired magazine recently, I read “How to Spot the Future,” a brief and informative look at how to recognize innovative, game-changing, technology trends.
Rule #4? GIVE POINTS FOR AUDACITY.

Audacity, the willingness to take risks, chance failure, and shake up the status quo, is too frequently discouraged in library organizations in favor of sticking with the routine of how things have “always” been done, resulting in frustrated innovators and great ideas killed by committee, or worse, outdated services,  lost customers, bored staff, and mobbing. By contrast, an organization that champions creative endeavors reaps the rewards; flexible and adaptable libraries and librarians demonstrate audacity each time a pilot project is launched, a community partnership is made, or a product change requires rapidly and seamlessly implementing new tech.

Competing trends, conflicting priorities, calculated risk, and audacious innovation drive creative development in all markets. Libraries that deliver outstanding services cultivate a culture of yes, with a commitment to try, evaluate, and refine. If this sounds like a “lean library” build-measure-learn cycle, you’ve done your homework.

While audacity sparks the fire, the right environment and an ordered feedback loop maintain the flame. So what’s to prevent it from burning down the forest… or library? Just as you wouldn’t “argue with the guy who invented the computer” – you wouldn’t build a campfire without a strategy for managing growth and a succession plan for when the fire goes out and people are hungry.

Likewise with innovative projects, services, and technology. Our budgets and resources are finite; thus, any new technologies introduced must be effective, easy to learn, affordable, and reliable.  In particular, critical technologies supporting core services must be scalable, multi-functional, and offer added value in order to be worthwhile candidates for adoption. As more libraries turn to SAAS, PAAS, and IAAS solutions, look for those with a suite of services all in one, from vendors that provide transparent pricing, responsive customer support, and quality references. A trusted platform and consistent vendor relationship promotes growth, iterative training and development, and opportunities for customization.

Lisa Carlucci Thomas is the Director and Founder of Design Think Do, providing innovation and technology consulting to libraries, publishers, and information partners. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisacarlucci

For more information about you can reach more patrons efficiently using Mosio’s Text a Librarian or to sign up for a free webinar, visit http://www.textalibrarian.com

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6 Steps to Change Up Chat Reference | Virtual Reference Software Tips

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When it comes to virtual services, chat reference provides a quick, reliable, and direct way to answer questions and resolve problems. The benefits are numerous: librarians can perform an efficient reference interview, quotes and links can be exchanged seamlessly between participants, conversations can be archived by the customer (especially helpful for complex information that they’ll need again), and most of all, it’s naturally conversational, just like an in-person or telephone inquiry. Chat reference is an essential part of the suite of information services offered by libraries, and until this week, many libraries relied on Meebo to provide an easy, cost-effective, widget-based virtual reference solution. However, after over five years as a leading chat reference platform, Meebo’s messenger product closed shop this week for good. When news of Meebo’s acquisition by Google hit the presses in early June, the library community mobilized to identify alternative products to sustain existing chat reference services. Popular choices include: Mosio’s Text a Librarian, Springshare’s LibChat, ZohoChat, and LibraryH3lp.

Change is constant in the tech market, and likewise in libraries, as we utilize information and communications technologies to deliver top-quality service to our customers. So what better way to embrace the transition from an outgoing product, like Meebo’s, to a shiny new chat reference tool, like Mosio’s? It’s time to change up chat reference and make it your star service once again.

1. Refresh & Redesign
New product? New marketing! Refresh existing flyers, have a contest to come up with a new slogan or logo, update posters, newsletters, and digital marketing, and get the word out about the new product. Share the excitement with your community and don’t hesitate to let them know that you’re learning through the transition.

2. Document & Share
Whether you maintain print training manuals, cheat sheets, wikis, intranet pages, Libguides, or another type of internal documentation at your library, be sure that everyone gets to see it. Better yet, post the documentation online and share via Creative Commons license.

3. Assign an Ambassador
A local ambassador talks with colleagues on site and beyond about the new product, rounds up best practices, and tunes into conversations via Twitter and social media channels about how to optimize use at your library.

4. Clean House
Out with the old! Discard any documents, guides, coding, references, flyers, handouts, footers or memos referring to the old tool. Don’t forget to check info racks, bathrooms, bulletin boards, local community centers, and all around campus.

5. Plan Ahead
Start a file with a review of what worked with the outgoing product and what you like about the new product. Make a wish list of features you’d like to see included in future products. And as new products hit the market, keep note of them in the file for the next time things change.

6. Throw a Change Party
New tech keeps us nimble and learning and keeps our libraries current and engaged with community needs. Celebrate! Make the change; mark the accomplishment.

Lisa Carlucci Thomas is the Director and Founder of Design Think Do, providing innovation and technology consulting to libraries, publishers, and information partners. Follow Lisa on Twitter @lisacarlucci

Learn more about Mosio’s Text a librarian

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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Mosio’s Text a Librarian – Visit Booth #901 at ALA Annual – The Future of Patron Support Software

Until we figure out a way to offer kitten adoption at ALA conferences (we’ve definitely looked into it), we’re going to be at ALA Annual this year giving away our ever-popular Love Libraries QR Code Button, so come by and get one!

New Features = Connecting With More Patrons

SMS ALERTS: Text Message Alerts and Announcements
The Mosio development team has been busy building out an amazing set of new software features and getting our existing customers up and running with text message alerts and announcements feature, enabling them to build and grow mobile subscriber lists. With over 90% open/read rates, for several years now text messaging as proven itself a better communication tool than email, making it the perfect medium for libraries to keep in regular touch with patrons.

The SMS Alerts feature is included, free of charge, on all Text a Librarian plans. Text a Librarian is built on Mosio’s award-winning two-way text messaging platform, so patrons can reply to the messages they receive and their replies will show up on the microboard where a text chat conversation can take place.

More Things We’ll Be Talking About

Registering Your Patrons!
We’ve come across a Eureka moment with our libraries who are having big usage of their Text a Librarian service. It prompted a conversation that we recorded and made into a video to help libraries. We used to speak about promoting your service and we’re still confident that is a useful part of launching any library service, but there’s a new way of getting more usage coming to light: get your patrons to register their phones. Here’s the blog post we did about it that has the video, recording and typed content.

Patron Support
We’re announcing some wonderful new features that make libraries more efficient in collaborating, receiving and responding to patron questions or needs. We’ll be showcasing those features at ALA and look forward to showing you how Mosio’s Text a Librarian has been responding to the suggestions by our customers to create an all-in-one technology that enables librarians to help more patrons in less time.

See you in Anaheim!

The Mosio Team