A one day training course hosted by various libraries, involving hundreds of delegates to rediscover and improve libraries using insights gained from a retail perspective
In the past, public services have not had to market themselves in the same way as businesses in the commercial environment but the world is changing. Public libraries today are not only in competition with bookshops but with the vastly growing internet, mobile applications and other media, which occupy our leisure time. What shape libraries will take in 20 years is unknown, but one thing is for sure is that they cannot afford to stand still! Libraries must seek new ways to attract and retain customers by encouraging them to use or use more of their activities and services. A key part of this challenge is improving the experience libraries deliver to its end users.
One of the most enjoyable things about working at Konvergence Consulting is applying our field based research tools and techniques to so many different industry sectors – Retail, Air Travel, Hospitality, Government, Healthcare, Automotive, Telecommunication – to name just a few! Organisations would benefit from stepping outside of their own industry and exploring the customer experience in other environments. By viewing the familiar in a new light, you will for sure, be able to apply learnings and make the most of what you have rather than rebuilding from scratch.
In this project, we designed a one day ‘Safari’ training course, hosted at Barking and Dagenham, Sutton Coldfield, Flitwick, Wimbledon and Dudley Libraries involving hundreds of library delegates. Following an evaluation of the hosts library, delegates took part in an active ‘Safari’, visiting local retail premises to explore the environment, map customer journeys, observe behaviours, measure the use of facilities and decode actual experiences.
By assessing libraries against the customer experience in other environments – in this case retail – delegates uncovered opportunities, requiring minimal financial investment, which they could apply immediately to their own libraries.
Libraries can be full of clutter, with too much information promoting local activities and services. Good retailers keep branding and communication simple and focus on just a few things, both online, in window displays and around the store. Grab and go is another simple concept, libraries could benefit from. Strategically locating books next to tills, or self-service machines can have a huge impact on the number of book issues. Simple things such as thinking more about displays, how stock is laid out and not stocking books too low (or too high) are all easy things delegates found they could apply to their own libraries. Other opportunities included the use of baskets, to increase transaction size, and power breaks, which slow the customer as they enter a store increasing ‘capture rate’. The more customers see, the more likely they will buy.
One of the most powerful learnings from the Safari training was a realisation that the considerable number of activities and service offerings in a library meant that measuring book issues no longer provided a true reflection of what was happening. Libraries would benefit from using more meaningful KPI’s such as conversion rate, waiting times, dwell time (time spent in store), interception rates (time to greet / help), journey times, utilisation etc.
If libraries are to rise to the challenges of adapting to changing demands and patterns of use and to compete in a world which is changing fast, they must spend more time understanding how customers use the space within their own libraries, but also in other settings such as retail.
AT A GLANCE:
- One day ‘Safari’ training course, hosted at Barking & Dagenham, Sutton Coldfield, Flitwick, Wimbledon and Dudley libraries involving hundreds of library delegates
- An evaluation of the customer experience at the hosts library
- An assessment against experiences in other environments e.g. retail
- An active ‘Safari’, visiting local retail premises – tracking customer journeys, observing behaviours, measuring use of facilities and decoding actual experiences
- Application of findings from ‘Safari’ applied to own library setting
- Simple opportunities for improvement, requiring minimal investment, applied immediately to own library
- A set of meaningful KPI’s and metrics focused on customer experience e.g. conversion rate, waiting times, dwell time (time spent in store), interception rates (time to greet / help), journey times, utilisation
- Library delegates equipped with simple tools, to analyse how customers really see and interact with libraries
- Challenging old assumptions – viewing the familiar in a new light by taking a retail perspective
- Increased customer focus, by placing the customer journey firmly into focus
- 100% of delegates said they had seen measurable improvements in satisfaction, usage and efficiency by subsequently implementing simple changes gleaned from Safari courses within their own libraries