Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jan: Customer Service Challenges: Dealing with Difficult Patron Behavior

January 7-February 3
$75 (CA) $150 (outside CA)

Public libraries face some unique customer service challenges. They provide free and open access to resources and services, ideally in an environment that is safe and respectful to staff, patrons, volunteers, and others. The peaceful co-existence of service, safety, and respect may be challenged by difficult, disruptive, or even dangerous behaviors of library patrons.

Difficult patron behaviors have many causes: stress over job loss, anger at something that happened outside the library, substance abuse, mental illness, and sometimes even staff actions perceived by patrons as disrespectful or rude. This course will help you develop an understanding of and skills to deal with:

A range of difficult behaviors from merely annoying to potentially harmful
External “trigger factors” and internal stress points
Prevention and proactive approaches
Consistent enforcement of your library’s policies and procedures
Safety in small or minimally-staffed libraries
Follow-up after an incident occurs
As a result of the course, you will be able to provide a range of responses, from active listening and de-escalating a confrontation, to getting help from other staff or contacting law enforcement. You will learn skills to manage your own reactions to the tension caused by difficult behaviors.

This course is being repeated because of interest in the topic. Some of those who took the first course commented that: "I was able to learn more from this online course than any other 'Difficult Patron' course I have taken so far."  "A lot of extremely useful skills in patron interaction."