All You Need To Know About Getting Customers To Use Self-Service In Public Libraries


A lot of people are curious about self-service options in public libraries and in retail, but many customers will avoid trying self-service if it seems complicated. No one wants to add more stress to their lives, so if it looks hard, they’ll skip it, and work with a real person instead.

Here are 6 keys to guiding you through exactly how to teach first-time users to master self-service in your library branch or retail store.

1. Introduce Self-Service

A great way to get customers to try self-service is for you to just mention the option.

While you’re helping a customer check out a book, for example, you could ask, “Have you ever tried using self-checkout?” You could then walk over to self-checkout, and walk the customer through how to do it themselves. You just may introduce a customer to something they never would have tried on their own. In that way, you’ll be empowering your customer.

2. Politely Probe To Determine If Your Help Is Needed

If you spot a customer eying self-service, but not actually diving in to try, you can gently probe to see if they are willing to check it out. You could say, “Have you ever used this? It’s quick and easy. Let me show you.”
Another way to politely probe is when customers are trying out self-service for the first time. You could ask, “Have you used this before?” And from there you’ll determine if your help for a walk-through is needed.

3. Focus On Training, Not On Doing It For Customers

The goal of self-service is for your customers to be able to do it for themselves. So, when you have an opportunity to teach, make your focus on giving them the skills, and confidence to do it on their own.

4. Talk Through Each Step of Self-service, Carefully Explaining Each Step

In this way, you indeed are a teacher. You are specific, you check to make sure your customer “understands” what you’re showing them, and you’re patient with them. Teaching in this way gives your customers the confidence they’ll need to try self-service again.

5. Engage Customers By Having Them Select Prompts

This step goes hand in hand with talking through each step. As you’re teaching your customers, signal the prompts they are to use, and have them actually select the prompts. This engages them in the experience at a higher level, and it will make it easier for them to take on self-service by themselves – next time.

6. Share the Benefit of Using Self-service Options

Say something like, “Customers love this because it saves time” or share feedback you’ve heard from delighted self-service-using customers.

Use these 6 keys to guide you through training customers to use your self-service. When you use these keys, you’ll find that you are clear, helpful, and persuasive in your training, and this approach will get more customers to use self-service.

Myra is a favorite training partner to public libraries and Fortune 500 companies with her customized, engaging, behavior-changing (and fun) customer service workshops, working with Tulsa City-County Library, Oklahoma Library Association, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Michelin, Vera Bradley, and other brands. She’s also an Author at LinkedIn Learning.

Get More Ideas Like This

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches, and phrases to help your employees help your customers.