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Wichita Public Library Creates Raving Fans

Wichita Public Library, KS
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Innovation Summary

Inspired by the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, the Wichita Public Library has taken a customer service initiative of the City of Wichita to a new level by creating a delivery model striving to make the best decision for each customer receiving library service.

Problem Statement

The challenge was to “deliver what the customer wants plus one percent” for each customer who visited the Central Library circulation desk. Branches were receiving high praise for personalized service delivery. This level of service is challenging from a larger facility that serves a broad customer base. The opportunity being the Library’s ability to focus on one section of the Central Library, where the most complaints were received. The Library challenged staff to evaluate policies and procedures from a user experience perspective, staff skill sets, and staff training to achieve the “+1%” service.

Innovation

Key elements of the innovation included keeping logs of reasons staff said “no” to a customer. This provided a baseline to track correlations as changes were made to policies or procedures, and an opportunity for a tool to use to counsel staff. Another key element was coaching staff in soft skills such as eye contact, active listening, tone of voice and body language. The supervisor challenged staff to a Smile Project, where Staff members chose a day during that month to work on their smiles then recorded outcomes following customer interactions. This project received commendation from the City Manager.

Progress

As a direct result of the “no logs”, the Library identified pinch points, added services, revised registration policies, and produced creative solutions to get to “yes” answers for customers. To gauge effectiveness of the measures, the Library monitors comments received from customers which have been increasingly positive. What began as a project in the Circulation Section has now expanded into the entire library. The Library’s portal houses a Raving Fans section that includes staff-created video skits of good and bad ways to handle difficult situations and other training tools that guide the Library’s Raving Fans service model.