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Student Worker Manual

IDEAS Student Employee Manual

During a Chat

By now, you're all experts on providing great customer service in a traditional, face-to-face environment. You know and understand our guiding philosophy, Greet, Listen, Answer, Offer. But this may be your first experience providing virtual customer service. And that's ok! Although excellent customer service is as important in a virtual environment as it is when you're working at the physical H&I desk, you shouldn't be overwhelmed or worried. Just remember that when working virtually you don't have the same tools at your disposal to make the patron feel heard and understood, like a smile, eye contact, or other body language, so you'll need to develop some new skills. Here are a number of steps you can take to successfully GLAO in a virtual transaction.

  1. Welcome the patron - make sure they understand they are talking to a real person who is ready to help them, not a bot
  2. Ask follow up questions whenever you think you need more information, just like you would in person.
  3. Let them know how long you will be - this is a big one. Virtual patrons can't tell when you're looking something up for them. A simple "Sure, I should be able to do that. This might take a few minutes, I'll be right back" lets the patron know their question has been heard. And if a search becomes more complicated and you need more time, check back in with the patron to let them know that.
  4. Don't be too formal, or too causal - Try to find the right language that will, again, let the patron know you're a real person, but also that their question is being taken seriously. Don't be afraid to use the occasionally emoji if the situation calls for it!
  5. Don't leave them wanting more - Make sure the patron knows that even if you've provided them with an answer, that you're willing to keep searching until you've found the right answer 

Also, be sure to take advantage of the many canned messages that are pre-programed into LibChat that will help you navigate this new service environment.

Like we see at the physical H&I desk, we expect to see many similar questions via chat. You can use canned messages in LibChat for greetings, closings, or other phrases you use frequently. 

To access canned messages, look to the bottom left of the chat window. An initial set of canned messages has been created. If there are others you think should be added, please email Julie at j.mcbrien@northeastern.edu.

During your chat, you can click on the Patron Information tab to see past chats the patron has had, as well as previous tickets they have submitted in LibAnswers. 

This may be useful if the student is referencing a past transaction while chatting with you, or is checking on the status of another ticket. 

During a chat, you will also see an FAQs tab. For Northeastern patrons, you will see our policy page, as well as the FAQs each department has set up in LibAnswers. 

The FAQs are searchable and you should use them to help you generate answers for commonly asked questions.