GREAT Customer Service Guidelines

Great logo. Text Reads 'GREAT'.


Whether we call our clientele “customers” or “patrons” or “users” or “colleagues,” we are dedicated to providing excellent service that satisfies or exceeds their expectations.  These guidelines reflect the Library’s and University’s core values and are meant to be carried out within the framework of University, state, and federal laws.  The GREAT guidelines are a foundation for training, delivery and assessment of Library customer service.

Service Guidelines:

Greet all customers and make them feel welcomed

We understand that every customer interaction is an opportunity to showcase the University and University Library as a whole. To create a welcoming and positive work environment, we will…

  • be visible, approachable, proactive, and ready to assist
  • be professional in attire, language and etiquette
  • watch for customers who need help
  • make eye contact and greet the customer
  • acknowledge promptly (e.g. within two working days) to external and internal customers be it in person, via email, phone, or instant message
  • actively listen to the customer’s query
  • acknowledge waiting customers

Respect cultural and other personal differences

We serve an inclusive community with customers who come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, practices, generations, and languages. To show respect for personal differences, we will…

  • attend training on diversity issues
  • respect personal space and customer’s privacy
  • display neutrality regardless of topic or request
  • be patient with customers who need additional assistance and provide services to meet their individual needs
  • speak clearly and concisely and avoid or explain library jargon
  • recognize unique needs that will impact how the service is delivered (e.g. location, disability, status, affiliation, English skills, etc.)

Evaluate and clarify customer’s expectations

We strive to fully understand our customers’ questions and needs. To understand their needs, we will…

  • allow customer to finish a thought before responding
  • restate the customer’s question
  • ask open ended questions about information and resource needs
  • clarify the customer’s expectations and desired outcomes
  • request additional assistance if necessary
  • gather relevant information; this may include affiliation, status, and accessibility
  • acknowledge complaints and suggest next steps, including lodging a complaint

Address and respond to customer’s needs

We understand each customer’s needs are different and respond promptly, professionally, and thoroughly. To address their needs, we will…

  • look for teachable moments
  • check back with the customer to let them know we are still working on their request
  • continue to ask for clarification
  • acknowledge a customer’s frustration
  • make appropriate referrals by contacting the referral to verify availability, providing the referral with the customer’s contact information (with the customer’s permission) and inquiry, and giving the customer the referral’s name and contact information
  • understand the role, responsibilities and limits of your position
  • when appropriate, let referring staff know when we have received and acted on a referral

Thank and verify that needs have been met

We take responsibility to ensure that our customers’ expectations have been fully met. To verify needs have been met, we will…

  • ask for feedback and clarification
  • verify that the question has been answered in full; however, if the customer’s question cannot be answered in full, let them know what is possible and why
  • encourage customers to return if they need more help
  • ask if there is anything else we can help with
  • provide contact information if customer has additional questions
  • thank customer for using library services

The GREAT Customer Service initiative was started in fall 2014, as the User Services Advisory Committee worked to draft standards for the whole library.  Their work was completed in 2015.  Organization Development and Training has training available on using the GREAT guidelines.