An investigation carried out in a library
A number of people who visited a public library
were photographed with a hidden camera as they had their books checked out
by the staff.
The people who issued the books were asked
to pay as little attention as possible to the borrowers.
They were asked to try to be completely neutral,
no smile, no eye-contact, no greeting and no physical contact at all. At
the exit, the borrowers were interviewed about their impressions of the
They all agreed, the service was bad. This was
the result expected.
What was a surprise to the researchers,
however, was that very few borrowers mentioned the staff when complaining
of the service.
They felt that the poor impression was caused by
bad lighting, a difficult numbering system, etc. A few complained that
they could never find the books they wanted and had to order them.
In the second part of the experiment, the staff
were asked to smile look the borrower in the eye, mention the borrower's
name (printed on the card) and touch the borrower's hand casually when
handing over the books.
The borrowers were again photographed with the
same hidden camera, and interviewed as they left the library.
The reaction was quite different. Almost all
were satisfied with the library's service. Again, very few mentioned the
human aspect of the service, and yet it was the only element that
changed. Many felt the good impression they received was due to good
lighting, convenient numbering and cataloging, etc.
Most people accepted that popular books were
likely to be out and did not find it difficult to have to order them.
So, to give good service it would seem that "all" you have to do is :