Thursday, May 20, 2004

Out-of-the-box thinking

Starting a new blog to have an official/unofficial discussion forum for the aftermath of the Scan.

(For the uninitiated, the Scan refers to the 2003 OCLC Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition, in which OCLC cast a wide net to find out what people were doing in the information sphere, so to speak. We looked at the way information needs create virtual communities, emerging technology/software and why libraries are so under the gun now to demonstrate their economic necessity and ROI within their respective communities.)

I learned today that you can buy the Scan on Amazon. I was amazed--I guess Amazon doesn't need to ask you if you want your book to be sold through their Web store--it's just assumed you do? (Not that I'm complaining...) See for yourself >>

I wonder if we've gotten orders for it already, through Amazon? It looks like an enriched record in there. Hey Amazon catalogers, have you read our stuff?

The Scan has shaken up a lot of people, because we tried to put the facts on paper, capturing the now--but of course it immediately prompts the "Okay, so now what?"

Scan reactions
I hear today that our own Cathy De Rosa has presented about the Scan to more than 800 people, personally! And she says that those 800 people in turn, talk to 5 more people, who talk to 5 more people. And the ripple effect grows. How has it affected you?

For me, at the ripe old age of 29, (yikes!) it meant I realized I was OLD in techno-terms. Sure, I knew what IM, XSLT, RSS and a host of additional acronymns could do *in theory,* but I hadn't actually played with them. I'd ignored the text-messaging capability on my mobile phone--and shut off my IM so I could "get some work done." Well guess what? I had become an information philistine, in front of my very eyes. So I'm actively playing with all the gadgets possible now, to make up for lost time.

Customer Service
The other thread that's surfaced today, for me, is the importance of customer service in our "Me: Now" world. The Scan touches on it, a bit. Is it just me, a gen-Xer? Or is it everyone?

I am so impatient now-and I value experiences almost above all else. For example, I was waiting in the doctor's office and felt compelled to send text messages while I waited...and my message content consisted of moaning about how I was being kept waiting! It's a whole lot of yakking about nothing, yet I kept doing it...

I took time off to visit the bastion of medical knowledge, the doctor's office--even though I had self-diagnosed on WebMD. Sure, I walked out with a perscription, but I felt like my 45 minute visit was largely wasted time. Why couldn't we have had the interaction by e-mail or chat?

Here's the kicker: How many library customers feel exactly the same way? Sure, they got what they came for, but it left a bad taste in their mouth--because there was no packaging of the customer experience. Let's think tomorrow about ways we can address that in our libraries.

Enough for today. See you tomorrow, Scanbloggers.
Alice

Truth in lending
This content is not endorsed by OCLC. Everything you read is purely my own reflections about what's going on in the library industry, informed by a birds-eye view of conversations going on at the center of the WorldCat universe (Dublin, Ohio, USA).

4 comments:

Alane Wilson said...

Alice, your remarks about customer service got me thinking about something I heard last week....a member of our Reference & Resource Sharing Advisory Committee, who heads a public library, commented that his mostly senior users would never accept self-checkout. He interpreted this as a dislike of the technology. But I wonder if it's not that at all--I'll bet what they really don't like is the lack of human contact. They want to talk to a person as the 'value-add' in that circulation experience. Find a way to retain that in some other part of their library visit and self-checkout might be acceptable.

ruhan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ruhan said...

hello


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