Towards a new multichannel library customer experience and better staff’s digital competence within the regional development task in Finland

RIKKILÄ, Jarkko and LAMPOLA-AUTIO, Susanna and HYÖKKI, Salla (2019) Towards a new multichannel library customer experience and better staff’s digital competence within the regional development task in Finland. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session S05 - Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning. In: Librarians and information professionals as (pro)motors of change: immersing, including and initiating digital transformation for smart societies, 20-21 August 2019, Zagreb, Croatia.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2681
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Towards a new multichannel library customer experience and better staff’s digital competence within the regional development task in Finland

According to the new Finnish Library Act the public libraries in Finland are tasked with 1) providing access to materials, information and cultural contents; 2) maintaining versatile and up-to-date collections; 3) promoting reading and literature; 4) providing information services, guidance and support in the acquisition and use of information and in versatile literacy skills; 5) providing premises for learning, recreational activities, working, and civic activities; 6) promoting social and cultural dialogue. Tampere City Library holds a regional development responsibility in the Pirkanmaa and Central Finland regions (abbr. PiKe). The purpose of this is to support the development of the public libraries and the professional competence of library staff as well as to promote mutual cooperation between the public libraries within the area of operation. Our main goal at the start was to improve ways of providing customer service in PiKe libraries. Customer service is heavily connected to the job description of almost every library professional. Librarians serve customers in many different ways, both physically in libraries and virtually online. Our experience shows that customer contacts inspire professional development and motivate staff to learn new skills. The regular visitors of Finnish libraries give very high ratings for service on customer satisfaction surveys. However, our vision states that targeting especially new user groups challenge libraries to provide better user experience in digital channels. We asked the staff how they meet users in different channels and what their level of digital competence in using different types of media was. The key findings include that for example 1) the use of mobile devices was surprisingly low. In addition, the 2) use of social media platforms was limited. The survey also highlighted development targets for 3) easier identification of the personnel and 4) more active engagement with the users in the library space. We also conducted four in-depth customer insight workshops and a representative public survey with both library users and non-users (n = 730). The key findings indicate that the library staff could 1) offer their expertise more proactively and 2) take the needs of young customers better into account. We should be 3) more active towards customers in the library space. There’s a lot to improve 4) on the digital transformation, in exploiting the potential of multichannel customer service. The 5) use of workwear would help customers identify available staff. Subsequently, a special training program for PiKe library service developers was launched. We built a plan for providing a unified customer experience across our libraries in the future. Emphasis was placed on dialogue, peer support and feedback. We learned ways to strengthen interaction and build a collaborative working culture. We considered tools to support an inclusive atmosphere and strengthen the confidence of librarians. We recognized the digital tools that support a better customer service and discussed the possibilities of digital transformation. Furthermore, all the work was packed in to a book which will be a field manual to the future work.

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