In Unique’s 10+ years of answering patron phone calls, we’ve identified the trends of why patrons are reaching out to contact their local library. While the answers will vary from library to library, the questions remain the same. These eight categories encompass 80% of patron phone calls.
Patron Phone Calls: The 8 Most Common
- Circulation Services – Includes Item Renewals, Hold Requests, Etc.
- Patron Account Questions – Checkouts, Due Dates, Fines and Fees
- Basic Search – Catalog and Internet Search
- Digital Media Support – FAQ’s and Troubleshooting
- Services Information – Printing, Faxing, Computers, Proctoring, Passports
- Event and Program Information – Story Times, Classes, Summer Reading
- Meeting Room Reservations – Policies, Availability, Amenities, Cost
- Location Information – Driving Directions, Parking, Hours of Operation
What typically falls outside of the patron phone call scope? Research and database questions, the type of questions you need someone within the library familiar with your specific resources (special collections, databases, genealogy). We’ve found it best to schedule these rabbit hole/resource training calls with your staff to allocate the necessary time and space needed, and scheduling is something we do great!
How can Unique remember all the answers to these questions for the dozens of library systems we assist? We train our staff to recognize what the patron is really asking for and to use frequently updated and reviewed knowledge bases and our e-media Help Desk to help patrons with their regular requests. Our team is trained in all the platforms you use to support patrons including all major ILS, OPAC, scheduling systems, and have secondary training in all major digital resources.
How does this apply to you? What could you do with 80% of patron phone calls being resolved without staff involvement? Every library needs a little bit of extra assistance, and routine patron phone calls are one of the few areas you can rely on a partner to assist. Unique understands all libraries are different, so our services are not prescriptive but completely tailored to your unique needs. While most libraries rely on the full scope of Unique’s offerings, many count on us to answer specific type of patron questions, like meeting room reservations, or digital media support.
How could your team use some extra support? Check out our Client Spotlights to learn how other libraries use Unique’s support, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about your specific library.