AOTUS Imparts Customer Service Wisdom

I attended the annual Triangle Research Library Network (TRLN) annual meeting today. The keynote speaker was none other than David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States (AOTUS).

His address, titled “Creating a Customer Focused Organization,” had some nuggets of inspiration from his many years of experience managing some of the largest and most complicated institutions (MIT, NYPL, Duke, NARA). I wanted to share my notes because I think there are good lessons to be learned here.

General observations from his experience at NARA

  • The farther you get from the top of the organization, the less you feel part of it or that your voice is heard. People should feel they are working as one organization.
  • It’s important to develop a culture of leadership.
  • Your staff are your primary asset. You need to develop a culture of trust and empowerment.

Mr. Ferriero’s six lessons on customer service

  1. Look for good models of customer service and emulate them; be sure to look outside libraries and archives. Good examples are FedEx and Zappos.
  2. Customers don’t come first, employees do.
  3. Look for ways to engage with your customers, they tend to want to talk to you about their research.
  4. Unless you genuinely like working with people, stay out of customer service.
  5. Internal customers are equally as important as external ones.
  6. You are never done improving customer service.
What are your thoughts? what have you learned through your experience on improving customer service?
By the way, Mr. Ferriero’s latest blog post is on conserving the Magna Carta. It’s worth a few minutes to read, and follow the link to the video.
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One Response

  1. [...] blogger at the Preservation and Conservation Administration News summarized AOTUS’s speech in a post published late Monday afternoon. She said he observed of lessons learned so far at NARA that the further away [...]

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