Kent District Success Story

This library quadrupled the number of patrons they were assisting with this one feature 

Before Kent District Public Library added staffed chat from Unique, they simply didn’t have the staffing to answer chats.

Now their patrons get 5 star service while their staff can help other patrons in the library.

The Challenge

Kent District Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a library that embraces technology. However, even a library equipped with a dedicated team to address patron inquiries virtually faced challenges in responding to patrons across three different channels. Kent District’s team of 11 librarians was accustomed to handling phone and email inquiries, but they had to hide their chat feature because they simply couldn’t keep up with the demand.

From the Library

The biggest difference Unique has made is the amount of people we have been able to help. Our email and call volume hasn’t decreased, but since switching to Unique we have been able to grow the amount of patrons we have been able to assist. It’s a great new channel for our patrons!

Morgan Hanks User Experience Manager, Kent District Library

The Solution

In February they added staffed chat from Unique and were immediately able to assist a whole new group of patrons, without adding any more staff.

“Before using Unique, we had to hide our chat feature, because we didn’t have the staff capacity to answer them,” said User Experience Manager Morgan Hanks. “Now, Unique has made chat one of our most popular features, and we have quadrupled the number of patrons we have been able to assist online, both during and after open hours.”

Their chat went from being tucked away on a forgotten page, to being front-and-center for anyone visiting the Kent District website.

New channel, new patrons

While Kent District’s volume in call and email volume has remained steady, Unique handled about 900 chats in the first two months of service. That’s 900 patrons that were not being helped otherwise. Those patrons can renew or hold materials, reserve rooms, ask reference questions, and other general questions. Unique answers chats without taking anyone away from their tasks.

Rave Reviews

Since Unique started serving Kent District’s patrons with staffed chat, patrons have been very satisfied with the level of service they have been receiving. Since beginning their service in February 2023 and the end of June 2023, 122 patrons left 10/10 reviews. Check out why these scores are so important. 

What patrons are saying…

“Great experience and it was outside library hours of operation”

“They helped me find a great book!”

“Helped me out instantly!!”

“She helped me with what I was looking for and was able to place the hold for me when I was having trouble doing it.”

“Don was great and helped me solve my issue.”

Bonus Features

A secondary benefit of Unique Chat handling chat on behalf of the library is the added hours that the library is able to interact with patrons. While a typical library may be open 10am-5pm, Unique has chat staffed from 7am-9pm EST, so patrons can contact the library whenever is convenient for them.

On top of stellar reviews and a brand-new section of patrons finding real-time assistance, Kent District patrons are also able to engage with librarians in their native language, even if that isn’t English. Our auto-translate feature enables users to select their language of preference, so their inquiries and answers are automatically translated. The seamless end-to-end translation is just another reason that Unique Chat is the best staffed solution for your library.

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“The addition of Unique Chat has been working well for us. The reviews speak for themselves, and its been working as designed. I’d recommend chat to other libraries for sure!”

Morgan Hanks User Experience Manager, Kent District Library

For libraries at staffing capacity, or who simply just want to add another channel for their patrons, Staffed Chat from Unique can be the solution you have been looking for.

Want to learn more?

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