Patrol Your Vocabulary with Patrons
Monday, July 20, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
Have you ever been talking to a patron and seen a blank look cross
their face, then realize that you'd said OPAC or used some other library
term? It's an easy slip-up to make.
This is a
customer service issue, not just a slip in language. Good customer
service means you match your language to the person you're speaking to,
and you stay attentive for clues that your words are making sense. Just
because "catalog" is basic library vocabulary doesn't mean everyone
jargon is easier to watch out for than buzzwords or business-speak. It's
easy to pick up a word or phrase whose meaning is less clear than the
simple word it's replacing. The federal government is actually hard at
work on improving this in their writing. The 18F Content
Guide is brief and has lots of helpful advice on using plain
we're using a college word when a ten cent word will do. There's no need
to leverage knowledge when you can use it. But
sometimes we use vague words precisely because they're imprecise. Saying
a project took countless hours may mean that no one spent the
effort to count. What's supposed to sound impressive can end up sounding
lazy. There are lots more examples at plainlanguage.gov.
trying to avoid answering questions at a hostile press conference, aim
for word choices that are simple and specific. They help your patrons
leave with smiles on their faces.
Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator
Customer Service Circus: October 14
If you work
with customers — either patrons or library staff — then this customer
service day is for you. Taking the place of our fall Staff Training
Symposium, the Customer
Service Circus is a full day of interactive customer service
Are you a
teen service librarian, or you have student workers or
volunteers? Do you work with older adult patrons, or you have a
not-so-great working relationship with an older adult staff member?
Whatever your library type or position, we'll help you with these and
other customer service issues.
can feel chaotic. Let us help you improve your balance during this day
together, which costs just $35 for Supporting Members, October 14th in
Burlington, Kentucky. Register for the Customer Service Circus!
Is your marketing helpful?
spreads the news about your library, which is good for you. How can you
coach patrons to pay attention to your marketing? One way is the content
marketing approach: include information in your marketing so that
people get something out of reading it.
week's Content Marketing Level-Up Lab, Nathan will share some marketing
basics and talk about the content marketing approach that SWON has
taken. We'll practice this approach and discuss content marketing ideas
for programs and services your library. Register
now for this free event!