Like many of us, libraries are looking for ways to serve patrons and accomplish their organizational mission during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. As a first step, many libraries are turning to Curbside Hold Pickup as a way to get materials to patrons while adhering to safe social distancing policies. Curbside Hold Pickup, done correctly, can accomplish the dual goal of serving the library going public while protecting library staff against potentially unsafe contact.
What is Curbside Hold Pickup?
Curbside Hold Pickup is a way to provide library materials to your patrons while the patron remains in their vehicle. The patron places the item on hold and when they have been notified that the hold is ready, the patron travels to the library to pick up their material. Library staff is notified and brings the patron’s material to their car creating distant and touchless interaction for the checkout.
How does Curbside Communicator Help?
Unlike restaurants or other businesses that may be used to this kind of concept, libraries normally do not have the ready infrastructure for a seamless curbside hold pickup process. Curbside Communicator creates this infrastructure and provides a seamless way for patrons to communicate with the library directly from their mobile device. This communication makes the management of the curbside process simple and effective for library staff creating a safe environment for all involved.
How does Curbside Communicator work?
Curbside Communicator uses UniqueChat technology to create a two-way conversation without having to download an app or use a personal or library provided cell phone. For the patron, they simply park their car in the designated area and follow the steps provided by the library starting with a text message:
An automated process would then go through a series of quick questions to confirm the patron information and where there are parked.
Library staff then receive the message via UniqueChat’s web based interface and can begin to communicate in real time with the patron. There is no download required for either the patron or library and all information is deleted once the conversation is over eliminating any possible privacy concerns.
How much does Curbside Communicator cost?
Curbside Communicator starts at $50 per month for a single library location and additional locations can be added for $40 per month. There is a one-time set-up fee of $295 and this fee covers up to four locations; locations over the initial four can be set-up for $35 per location.
The monthly package includes 1,500 text messages per location. Additional messages will be charged at a rate of $0.04/message or $15 per 500 messages prepaid. However, the UniqueChat process reduces the messages per interaction creating value for the library and the total monthly number of text messages purchased is shareable between locations, so no messages will go to waste.
How long is the agreement?
The Curbside Communicator agreement for Curbside Hold Pickup does not have a term and libraries can stop using the service at any time. Any library that chooses to agree to a six (6) month minimum and prepays for the service receives a 5% discount.
What should we put on our library signage?
Any signage should communicate the steps for the patron along with any location and parking information they will be required to enter. An example is below and Unique can provide this for easy editing by your graphics department by request.
What if my library does not have designed spots?
The initial information gathering process can be tailored to work around this issue. It is possible to ask for the make, model, and color of a vehicle to determine where the items should be delivered vs. a specific parking spot.
Can I have multiple users in the library interface?
By default, Curbside Communicator comes with one user per location that can be shared, but should only be used by one staff member at a time. If there is a need for more than one user to be logged in at a location at the same time, additional users can be added for $15/month.
How long does Curbside Communicator take to implement?
The go-live timeline is dependent on the implementation queue. In general, libraries will be live with Curbside Communicator within 7 days of an agreement.
How do I get started with Curbside Communicator?
To get started, contact Unique via the form below, or gives us a call at 1-800-879-5453. We will get you an agreement and, once signed, our Implementation Team will be in touch with a set of standard questions. Once the questions are answered, Unique will handle the rest of the implementation and provide the library with the needed logins and phone numbers to get started.