Fully Engaged Customer Service

Leadership Development

In addition to the half or full day workshops you see below, I offer a full featured leadership development program. Each topic in the leadership program can also be delivered as a standalone workshop. The full Leadership Development program and topics are briefly explained in click here. If you're interested in leadership development, please call to discuss your organizational needs.

Basic Awesome Communication

The world is changing fast: technological advances, easy access to information, and changing library customer expectations describe the landscape. With constant change staff feels threatened and communication often breaks down. The skills needed to survive in this ever-changing, high stress environment are the same skills improvisers practice to succeed on stage: listening, being present, supporting your partner and taking “safe” risks. In order to get the flexibility and collaborative behaviors we need to navigate this new environment, we need to build self-awareness and practice these learnable skills together. In this workshop we’ll create a common language while we play, laugh and learn some very serious skills that will enhance communication throughout your organization.

Getting to Yes This workshop is intended to help staff break free from saying “No” to patrons as a general rule, and to get to the “Yes” in every transaction. We’ll explore our mental models of customers, our jobs and the mission of the library. We’ll practice seeing things from the patron’s perspective and then use the groups creativity and experience to create a better customer experience and better job satisfaction for all. There is a pre-workshop exercise to keep a log for one week of the times staff say “No” to customers.

Turn On Your Creativity

Library work has traditionally been linear, rule driven, dominated by the idea of right and wrong answers and authority. The world of innovation and creativity demands an opposite skill set. The good thing is we are all capable of being both linear and rule driven as well as innovative, creative and playful. Whether you’re looking for a creative solution to an ongoing problem or wanting more innovative programs to implement your strategic plan, changing your mindset is required.

In this workshop we will:

  • Bust up the myths about how creativity happens

  • Practice getting out of linear thinking mode and into a creative mindset

  • Explore the neuroscience behind what keeps us thinking in habitual patterns and what to do about it to think different

  • Actively explore attention blindness, withholding judgment, accepting our own offers, how to notice more and the power of collaboration in solution finding.

Mastering Tough Customer Service Situations

  • Do you face difficult situations that involve customers who seem angry, rude, unreasonable, out of control, threatening – or just plain impossible to please?

  • Are you confused when your very reasonable solution to a customer problem is met with resistance or anger?

  • Would you like to learn (and practice) the skills for handling the stress of problem situations such as a customer who won't listen, is emotionally upset, or demands that you make exceptions?

In this workshop we'll explore the elements of great customer service and look at which areas you can affect. We'll work to understand the customer's experience and determine what you do when a tough customer service situation turns into a behavior problem.

You will leave with a new understanding of all of the elements of customer service, a deeper understanding of your customer's behaviors and a set of active listening skills that can be used in any situation. You will practice applying the skills to a variety of typical "challenging" library situations. This workshop is designed to provide participants with a unique dual perspective on customer service - from the point of view of both the library staff member, who wants to be successful and enjoy work, and the customer who comes to the library with a need for service.

Work Has Changed, How Do We Survive? Management Training Workshop

The workshop is targeted at leaders and managers at all levels.

The world is changing fast. Between technological advances, easy access to information, and changing library customer expectations, "we've always done it this way" probably isn't the best strategy for creating sustainable library services. The collective wisdom in the world of creating sustainable organizations says that to move forward, we need new management styles, new communication styles, and new skills. We want to move away from bosses who criticize to leaders who support.

In this workshop we will discuss the what, the why, and the how, so that you can start (or keep) moving towards creating a flexible and nimble organization that moves from the old "command and control" management style to a new collaborative style--where managers act more as coaches and facilitators than as directors and critics, and where employees feel engaged and committed to the purpose of the library and feel empowered to get things done.

Communicating Up

Have you ever wondered why some people are able to get their ideas taken seriously, even if they are not in positions of power? What does it take to become visible and gain your leaders' acceptance and respect? And how do you disagree with leaders without putting the brakes on your career?

In this workshop we'll explore how to build credibility, trust and relationships that will help your work get noticed. We'll review common mistakes and practice techniques for stepping up and speaking up to keep your library moving forward.

People with Soft Skills Get More Done and Are More Fun to Work With

Providing training for hard (task oriented, functional) skills is a given. How about softer skills, those less tangible, personal growth competencies? That's less clear. Come develop some self-awareness and soft skills in this session and question the mental model that they aren’t learnable. You'll learn the current neuroscience behind the challenges of communication and practice new behaviors to overcome the challenges. Let’s build capacity in your organization (or yourself) by investing in skills like communication, listening, imagination, and risk-taking, then watch great customer service, teamwork, and creativity happen. It’s not as fuzzy as it seems!

Leadership is All About Communication

    • Are you finding that in meetings, people find it hard to offer up suggestions because they are afraid of being shot down.

    • Do you find that everyone is so busy with their urgent tasks that there is never time to stop and have a real moment of conversation.

    • Do you find yourself wishing you were more comfortable with not knowing what will happen next?

Most libraries continue to face a barrage of disorienting, uncontrollable changes. Nobody knows what’s ahead. The skills needed to survive in this ever-changing, high stress environment are the same skills improvisers practice to succeed on stage: listening, being present, supporting your partner and taking “safe” risks. In order to get the flexibility and collaborative behaviors we need to navigate this new environment, we need leadership to learn and model these behaviors. Through a series of exercises and discussions, we will practice these learnable skills and become aware of how we sometimes get in our own way. Increasing leaderships ability to be spontaneous and work together generously, will improve not only the leadership teams functionality but all the staff they manage.

Improvisation at Work: New Ways to Communicate and Innovate

You never know what the next customer will need, or when a program will be a wild success or when a local or global event will require new directions for your collections. You need to be flexible, adaptable and you need to be able to build on your previous knowledge to create new solutions in partnership with colleagues and customers. The good news is these are the same skills Improvisers use on stage, so why not borrow from the deep body of work that stage improvisers use to practice so they can get on stage without a script, much like you do everyday.

In this workshop we will listen, learn and laugh while we build our improvisational skills.

Don’t be afraid - No theater skills required ;)

Participants will:

  • Understand the difference between planning and improvising

  • Be able to explain the true meaning of “Yes, And”

  • Practice re-framing failure into a learning experience

All Work is Team Work

Whether working a public desk, implementing your library’s strategic plan, or altering services to accommodate shrinking budgets, work involves interactions with other people to get things done. There are a few basic principles of working as a team which will improve performance. In this workshop we will explore group dynamics as well as the personal characteristics that come into play when working with others to create high functioning teams.

Other workshops that are ready to go. (Many of these topics make lively and engaging library all-staff days.)

  • Multi-Day Management and Leadership training to Create a Culture of Innovation

  • New Management Styles: Working From Strengths

  • Facilitation Skills (For great meetings or for community engagement)

  • Excelling in Any Situation: How to Thrive in Changing Times

  • Got Stress: Build Your Personal Change Resilience

  • Fully Engaged Teams

  • Fully Engaged Management Teams

  • What's a Learning Organization and How Do We Create One

  • Building Trust in the Workplace

  • Maximize Learning with Active Experiential Training

  • Exploring Library Leadership

  • Positive Thinking

Whether you spend most of your time on the front lines or primarily serve internal customers, your ability to handle your workload will be enhanced when you learn how to complete customer interactions successfully at the first point of contact, while cultivating a positive attitude and keeping stress levels to a minimum.

Improving customer service outcomes requires moving beyond old habits to create a lasting change in behavior. In this safe and friendly environment you will practice simple, powerful techniques for improving

    • Eye contact

    • Facial expression and body language

    • Tone of voice

    • Availability to customers

    • Your ability to listen when distracted

    • Customers’ ability to self-serve in the future

In this session you will practice and experience how to enhance service through being fully engaged to create a win-win experience that saves time for both you and the customer.

Mental Model Busting

This workshop can be targeted towards a specific change to help move beyond resistance to embracing the change.

  • “The library is all about books.”

  • “The customers don’t want to learn”

  • “We must have databases!”

When we have a mental model of something, it shapes our behavior and limits our perception of options. Through conversation, activities, and consideration of some “dangerous” questions, we will first uncover the mental models that limits staff’s ability to move forward and then explore what could happen if we weren’t constrained by those mental models. Shifting your mental model can result in generating simple changes in the way you serve existing customers or it may open up a new world of possibilities for new ways to serve your entire community.

Facilitation Skills for Library Staff

The one-day workshop is an introduction to facilitation. If you are interested in developing facilitation skills for community engagement efforts or expect to facilitate situations where you will run into conflict or need to make significant decisions, I offer a more intensive course that includes learning how to design meetings, manage conflict, and run good decision making processes that produce creative solutions.

This hands-on, experiential workshop provides an understanding of the crucial role of the facilitator in doing work with groups of people. Attendees will be exposed to a wide range of tools and techniques to create high functioning groups where people contribute, feel heard and stay on track to achieve the goals of the meeting.

Participants will:

  • Explore the differences between instruction, facilitation, and management

  • Practice the skills of listening, making people feel heard, equalizing participation, building consensus, and managing dysfunction

  • Learn how to help a group maintain focus and generate ownership of decisions which inspire groups to action.