Happy Customer Service Week: Hitting the mark


What’s the best customer service you’ve ever helped provide?

The first week of October is Customer Service Week, an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. Librarians understand customer service as well as anyone. They wear their customer service hats every day in addition to all of the others they wear. So to celebrate Customer Service Week, we asked some of the folks at OCLC to share the service they’re most proud of having provided.

It was a hard question to get answers to because, like most good support staff, they want every interaction to be the best from the customer’s standpoint. But I think it’s important to share the stories we’re proud of. They inspire us to do more every day in hopes of hitting that mark again and again.

I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do. If you have any suggestions or ideas for how your experience as an OCLC member could be improved, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at bordasd@oclc.org.


Bryce-Albiston“In 2010, Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. In the following months our office, along with colleagues in Dublin and EMEA, were able to fast-track changes in VDX that allowed the University of Canterbury to continue providing ILL services for their students as part of returning to and continuing ‘normal’ life after such a devastating experience.”

Bryce Albiston, Senior Support Consultant, Australia/New Zealand

Beth-Muncy“I once had a student approach me for help finding articles to support a research paper he was writing. We discussed his argument at length and I walked him through the process of doing a search. As his results began to return not quite matching his argument, we worked on amending his search terms to get him the results he needed. He later came in and was excited to share that WE got an ‘A’ on the paper since it was such a collaboration.”

Beth Muncy, Implementation Manager, Ohio, USA

Joanne-John“While training a novice user on how to use chat service, it turned into a computer 101 session, right down to ‘right-mouse click and copy, then paste.’ Watching that person, who was not a youngster, grow in confidence over several years and provide excellent service to chat patrons with courteous, content-filled information was an inspiration.”

Jo John, Customer Support Consultant, Sheffield, UK

jill-scott“While working with the support team and customers for the launch of UnityUK, we had hundreds of new customers launched into a new ILL provision. The phones went nineteen-to-the-dozen (translation for Americans: The phones went crazy!) for weeks and it was quite some time until the team were not constantly on the phone with customers. By the end of it, I not only knew the customers by name, I knew where they vacation, their grandchildren and have even met some of their pets.”

Jill Scott, Application Support Consultant, Sheffield, UK

Loes-van-t-Spijker“A couple of years ago one of our clients had a fire in their computer facility destroying all systems, including the machine running their local library system. Unfortunately their backups were useless as well. Our support team was asked if they could do anything to help. By finding computer space in our computer center, retrieving an ancient client system dump in our backup files, selectively using data from the central Dutch catalog and notes stored in support, we managed to rebuild their environment fairly accurately within one week, making it the first operational system restored after that fire. An example of service beyond any service level, great teamwork and a very happy client!”

Loes van ‘t Spijker, Application Support Manager, Leiden, Netherlands

david-adams“I was working with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team. It was a cold winter night and about 0 degrees with winds around 20 miles per hour. I was on the team that went to a burning house to work with the family about what to do now. We were talking with the mother of the house, and I could see it in her eyes. She had lost her home and her world had been turned upside down. But then I saw, as we talked with her about what to do next, her feeling of hope for the future looked just a little bit brighter. I knew right then that we had made a difference for this family.”

David Adams, Consulting Support Analyst, Ohio, USA

pam-woodfield“One of our customers provides vocal scores and printed music service to choirs and other music groups, enabling them to put on concerts. They needed a really easy-to-use interface for their end users to be able to submit their orders as many of them are of more mature years. I worked with the librarian using a WebEx session to implement some of the configuration and also to help her understand how she could make changes. Her response was one of the most heartfelt I have received in my 17 years of supporting library software.”

Pam Woodfield, Senior Support Consultant, Sheffield, UK

Ruth-Abbey“In 2008 I had a temporary job as the receptionist for an employment agency. The agency specialized in finding jobs for people on long-term sickness benefits. One of our clients had been out of work for 20 years following an industrial accident in a local steel plant. I had the task of telling him that he had been accepted for a job and should report to his new employer on the following Monday morning. This is the only time I have actually been close to tears while talking to a customer. I have never seen anybody so transformed as this man was by the news I was able to give him that day.”

Ruth Abbey, Application Support Manager, Sheffield, UK

Question…What customer support have you provided that you remember with pride or fondness? Share it with us on Twitter with #OCLCnext