At Aurora this past week, I was chatting with one of the facilitators, Becky Schreiber, who mentioned that she had bought a year’s worth of training along with her MacBook, using Apple’s One to One program. For $99 a year, you can take advantage of up to 52 one hour sessions with a Mac trainer. The training takes place in Apple stores, one-on-one, and covers a huge variety of topics. (I’ve never heard of this before: do they do this in Australia?)
Why is this so great?
- First up, they’re making money from this – not a great deal, but they’re making some money where their staff would otherwise be idle.
- They’re maximising the amount of productive time their store staff have (I think – I’m working on the assumption that the training is run by sales staff – correct me if I’m wrong) – instead of downtime between customers, store staff could potentially be training customers.
- They’re up-skilling their users and creating power users. Power users are going to use products to their full and to my mind, are probably going to be a whole lot more likely to invest in other products
- Cost/benefit wise, this program has the potential to yield excellent return on investment for customers, and for Apple.
- They’re helping customers to become fully acquainted with the product, and to learn about all the features and benefits that they might otherwise never discover. Enlightened customers have the potential to use products to their fullest. I don’t know about you, but every time I discover something new I can do with one of my gadgets, I’m even more satisfied with my decision to buy it.
Becky suggested that it would be great if libraries could figure out a way to do something similar. How could we capitalise on the time when we’re not interacting with customers in our traditional roles to provide this kind of personalised, value added service? What a great idea, and one that warrants some thinking.
Instead of just signing customers up and handing over their membership cards, what if we offered them an appointment to come back and spend half an hour with a librarian, to assist them discover what the library has to offer? It wouldn’t even necessarily need to be a one-on-one session. We could simply offer every new customer the chance to book in for a group-based new customer tutorial, where we could feasibly run through the features and benefits of the product (ie. the library) they’ve just bought into and show them how to get the most out of it.
What if we invested even ten minutes orienting every new customer with, for example, the catalogue and our online resources before we hand their card over and send them on their merry way? We’d be on the way to creating happy, power users, and happy, power users are more likely to become regular users who want more of what we have to offer.
A number of libraries already offer customers the opportunity to make an appointment to chat with a librarian, through “book a librarian” or “book an information coach” sessions. But what if we said, to every new customer, “would you like a librarian with that library card?”
How many of our customers really know what the library can do for them, and how they can get the most out of the library? Getting them in the door is only half the battle. How do we keep them coming back?
After sales care and training for library customers? What a great idea! Thanks, Becky!