So that we may foster an environment that supports the best learning and research outcomes for GW students and faculty, we hold ourselves to high standards of customer service at service desks across LAI.
Service Desk Expectations
- When you arrive, greet the manager/supervisor on duty, if required by your supervisor.
- Do not eat or have food at the service desk. It is unprofessional and should be reserved for breaks.
- Eating may make patrons less likely to approach you, and we do not want to create an unclean environment that invites unwanted pests.
- Drinks are allowed, but only in sealed containers or covered cups. Drinks should not be visible to patrons as it could be interpreted that you are on a coffee break.
- Notify your colleagues if you need to step away from the desk for any reason, including taking a break or assisting patrons. Let your colleagues know what time you will be back. You should not be away from the desk for more than five minutes unless it is a break or you are assisting a patron.
- In some departments, breaks are scheduled, while in others they are unscheduled. Talk with your supervisor to determine the specifics of breaks in your department.
- Never leave the desk unattended or without notification. Refer to your supervisor for further instructions.
- There should be no music at the desk. Please do not wear headphones, as this impairs your ability to assist customers and monitor activity.
- Limit personal conversations with friends and staff at the desk to 1-2 minutes.
- Whether you are in a personal or work-related conversation, immediately end the conversation to assist a patron – do not continue the other conversation until the patron has their question answered. Try not to interrupt transactions, unless necessary – your undivided attention shows patrons that they are important, and provides the quality service.
- Do not use your personal phone (even if on vibrate).
- Do not use your personal electronic devices (ex: computer, tablet, etc.).
- Books and loose papers are not permitted at the desk.
- Keeping the desk neat and clean is a shared responsibility. Items such as logbooks should be cleared from the desk. At the end of your shift, remove your belongings including trash.
Customer Service Expectations
- Practice professionalism at all times.
- Smile and let people know you are there to help them.
- Greet patrons as they walk up to your service point. If you cannot verbally greet a guest, make eye contact and smile. Please acknowledge their presence.
- The patron is your number one priority at all times, which means that if someone approaches you at the desk, you should drop whatever you’re doing to assist them.
- Please don’t hide behind your computer -- approachability is key to customer service.
- Work with your supervisor to determine at what point when problem-solving you should refer to someone else, as well as to whom you should refer.
How to Handle Difficult Patrons
- Be positive, calm, and flexible.
- Request help from supervisors or managers if necessary.
- If a patron begins to argue with you and you feel upset, take yourself out of the situation and get a supervisor.
- Follow your department’s guidelines for referrals, but always feel free to get a supervisor.
- Offer alternatives.
- Ex: If someone is unhappy because they cannot check out an item (due to having no photo ID or various other holds), suggest that they place their items on the overnight hold shelf. Sometimes we can minimize stress at the desk by giving the patron choices.
- Be precise and clear.
- Ask questions to see if you can get to the heart of the problem and clear up any possible misunderstandings.
- Explain the situation clearly and calmly – make sure the patron understands what is going on.
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