Posts Tagged ‘customers’

Email 101

I’m not talking about learning how to do email… I’m talking about our patrons who can’t seem to remember their email account logins from one visit to the next! I swear, we have at least a dozen customers who have asked us to set up yet another email account once a week. That would probably come to about 101 by now. Don’t you think?

One gal swears she needs a new one every visit. We started keeping a copy of the latest email login and password, but when we bring it to her attention, she said it isn’t hers. Last week, she was looking for a job: one of those sites where you have to create an account, and yes, she needed an email to do it. So, miracle of miracles, she remembered her most recent email account but when she tried to set up the job account, she got a pop up message that an account existed already for that email address. Of course, she complained to us and said she’d never been on this site before. Clearly, her email account had been hacked! And would we please help her set up another one? Sigh.

Then, we have another gentleman who gets our attention by holding up his hand like he’s in school. We walk over and apparently, although he is savvy enough to create a number of email accounts, he still needs help switching from one to another. And why? He keeps trying borrowing thousands and thousands of dollars on these quickie one-week loan sites. He gets so angry when we say we can’t help him with something this private. That’s a tough one. We keep wondering if guys in dark clothes and glasses will be dropping by the library looking for him.

Another sweet fella adds a new email account to his list every time the current account won’t open up because he has so many emails the page gets hung up. We keep telling him he could probably delete those three year old messages – mostly spam, but he won’t do it. So, we help him create another one.

And how many times has someone come in with a stack of little papers (mostly receipts) with an email account written down that someone else helped them set up? The password is written in cramped writing or scratched out and then re-written and we wonder, is it really uppercase or lowercase? So many people use both cases when writing, they are not aware of the importance of case in passwords.

So, in the end, we have to create a new email. And it’s all so frustrating, particularly when we get to those “security” questions! What kind of people use such answers: their first grade teacher, the street they grew up on, the name of their favorite uncle, their oldest cousin’s name, or where they spent theirr childhood summers? These questions are created for a decidedly white middle class clientele. I mean, most of my customers look at me blankly as I read off their choices. It’s embarrassing.

What does Yahoo do with all these rogue accounts? They probably have one entire server just for the emails at our branch!

Thank You Man

This story comes from librarian colleague, Karen, who shared the particulars with me the other day.

If there was an award for the kindest man alive, this guy would win it. Nor is this an isolated incident, but a regular expression of his appreciation. We call him the “thank you man.”

Example:
He called and asked for the information desk, then thanked circulation for transferring his call.

When the information librarian answered, he thanked her taking his call.

After he asked about the book he was trying to find, he thanked the librarian for taking his inquiry.

Once she discovered we had the book in another branch and informed her that she could place a request for him. He thanked her.

Before hanging up, he thanked her for her time.

When the book arrived and he received the “electronic voice” notification by phone. He called the desk and thanked them for the notification.

When he came to pick up the book, he thanked the circulation desk for holding the book for him and then he walked over to the Reference desk and once again thanked the librarians for their service.

About two weeks later, the book was returned and inside the book was a note for Karen, which said (of course), “Thanks!”

Alive or Dead

Sometimes, we don’t really realize how much we care about our customers until something odd happens.

We have a fairly large senior population within walking distance of the branch. Many of them are regulars and I confess, there are a few who make us want to hide under the desk when we see them coming. Oh, they are sweet people; they just like to talk a librarian’s ear off. We understand their need intellectually. Many of these folks are lonely and really, it’s not that hard to just listen and be pleasant. We trade off the honors at the desk.

But there are also a few gruff ones as well as some elderly folks we have watched age before our eyes.

One gentleman, a retired professor, was rather curmudgeonly but in a funny way. He was well read and often had something interesting to share. However, over the last couple of years, he has lost his clarity of mind and as a result, his complaints have become more and more ridiculous and outrageous from lawn care people throwing grass clippings on him intentionally to a woman insulting him. He is quick to tell us to call the police.

Another older gentleman, Mr. Ralph, was one of our favorites and we were surprised he hadn’t been in to see us for a few weeks. One of the librarians did a little digging and asking and sure enough, she discovered he had passed away over the winter months. That was such a strange loss for us and somehow sad that we couldn’t express our sympathy to anyone or acknowledge his passing at the time it happened. He had been such sweet part of our lives. I remember once he came to the branch and brought small hand painted gifts for several of the staff. They weren’t particularly well done, but they were given with affection and I cherish that little thing even more now that he is gone.

Then, a few months ago, one of the circulation staff shared with the librarians at our stand up meeting that a particular patron had passed away. I didn’t know him, but one of the librarians remembered him well and said how sorry she was to see him go. It was only a few days later when she was working on the desk that she looked up to find him standing in front of her. She yelped and almost fell out of her chair! Not to worry, it was not the case of a customer risen from the dead, it was a case of mistaken identity. So, ok, we don’t always have the right names with the right faces.

And then last fall, there was one of our younger, homeless-type guys (I’ll call him Jason), who was known for spending every single day in the library, pretty much all day, playing online games. He was quiet enough and even helped us move chairs on occasion and generally, not a bad sort. One day, the staff observed him having a huge argument (in the library) with an older man from the community who has a bad reputation. The next day: no Jason. And not the next day or the day after that either. In fact, weeks passed and still no Jason. We were all getting concerned. Could he have come to some foul play? We started asking around and no one had heard from him. He stopped using his MySpace, his cell phone was dead, he hadn’t contacted anyone in days and weeks. We even asked the creepy guy and his answer was vague at best.

Honestly, we thought Jason was dead. But what can we really do? There was absolutely no evidence. It was just a bad feeling, a gut feeling. I mean, we’re not investigators, but we are curious librarians.

Fortunately, before we all made idiots of ourselves, Jason walked back in the library about 6 months later. He had quite the story to tell, about abduction and forced labor and much more. And yet, there was no police report or anything like that. What really happened? I don’t think we’ll ever know. So, I guess things are back to normal, daily library visits and online gaming and despite it all, we’re glad he’s back.