Many libraries, including those at Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Island University and University of British Columbia, have added Summon to their websites. Here is a brief overview of Summon, based on notes from UBC’s Sheryl Adam. Her complete notes can be accessed here (PDF).
One aspect of a regional service, with AskAwayers assisting patrons from all over BC and from Yukon, is that there are small technical differences between libraries which lead to varying network speeds. There are also differences that may vary day-to-day, and affect some institutions sometimes and not other times.
As we move into the beginning of another AskAway term, here’s a couple of tips for ‘getting back in the saddle’:
1. Get familiar with the Staff Portal again. This is where you’ll find links to all the tools you need to staff your shift (QP login, Campfire login, scripts, library guest logins, policy pages, etc..).
Check-out part one of this post Lost call? Here's a few reasons why... first!
So now you have a red dot or unresponsive patron what do you do? Before you end the session, here's a few tips for providing a consistent patron experience for AskAway users:
1. Inform the patron that you are going to end the session, give a reason why, and give them a few moments to respond before you exit.
Recently on AskAway patrons have often appeared to disconnect or disappear without warning. Sometimes this is due to internet outages, navigating away via Qwidget links, QuestionPoint server troubles or the patron finding the resources they need and forgetting to return. The patron status indicator often turns to a red dot in these cases.
There are a variety of helpful indicators available in QuestionPoint to inform us of the current status of our patrons. During these busy times it can be helpful to know at a glance if our:
( ! ) Patron is typing.
(+) Just sent a new response.
Is off searching or may be slow responding.
If they may have disconnected from the session.
With the new mobile AskAway option and the prevalence of laptops in libraries, AskAway service providers are responding more and more to patron security complaints & queries. At times it can be difficult to know what to do when an upset or stressed patron asks for help... Should we provide them with contact information or call and pass along the concern/complaint ourselves?
Managing the patron queue can be difficult, particularly as AskAway gets busier. We're all committed to providing the best patron experience possible and sometimes this means holding back a moment when a new question arrives to ensure it's picked up by the librarian best suited to answer that question. Here's some tips compiled by Myfanwy Postgate, one of our BC ELN AskAway librarians...
10 Tips for Picking Up Patrons
We're getting into the busy part of the term and we're seeing shifts with 20-30 questions per hour. Here's a few strategies to help ease the burden on AskAway service providers and stressed patrons during this time of year...
1. Log into Campfire! In Campfire you're able to quickly communicate with all your AskAway colleagues online.
2. Swamped Scripts. Pick up patrons as quickly as you can, preferably before 60 seconds have passed, and use the swamped scripts to manage patron expectations and queue flow.
Do you work end of the day AskAway shifts? Then you know how frustrating it can be wrapping up your chats while also juggling incoming after-hours questions. Now you don't have to!
QuestionPoint has added the ability to deselect the active Queue and still continue with existing chats at closing time. This allows librarians to finish up with current questions without the added pressure of sending out the Closed scripts to new patrons arriving after hours.