AFAIK PLS KISS - Best Practices for Effective Chat Service

With the second year of the successful implementation of the MOBIUS consortium purchase of LibraryH3lp and Chatstaff , a discussion of chat best practices is a valuable avenue to review chat etiquette and basic policies and procedures. Using the Virtual Reference Companion web page sponsored by the Reference and Users Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) as a template the subject librarians at Saint Louis University developed their own guidelines for chat best practice. The presentation will review the RUSA recommendations, describe the process of creating our own policy at Saint Louis University, and invite participants to describe their individual policies and challenges with providing competent and efficient chat service.

Saint Louis University Chat Best Practices Summer 2016
• Read the question
If subject specific – look to see if liaison is on chat – if liaison is on chat

Wait at least three “dings” - if not picked-up in six “dings” answer

If no subject is specified, e.x. “Hi”

Wait at least two “dings” to answer – allow others to pick-up

• Greet patron and identify yourself – patrons not sure if you are human
11:01 AM Guest 1926 Is this a SLU librarian or someone at EBSCO? – CHAT CLIP
Sample greeting – Hi, this is Martha, a librarian at Pius
• Perform a reference interview – similar to an in-person reference interview – shorter, more concise -
How may I help you
What is your topic
What types of information do you need
What sources have you already searched
Is this an assignment for a paper, presentation, etc.

• Answer chat to best of your ability
Identify/recommend resources
Identify/ recommend keywords
If having trouble with chat question – transfer to liaison (if logged in) or email chat transcript to liaison for follow-up - *Make sure to ask for patron email or phone or general contact information so liaison can follow up with patron*
• Follow-up with patron
Do you have any question
Have I answered your question

General Guidelines
• Give on-call librarian opportunity to answer chat – give three “dings” before you pick-up
• Keep text concise – think like a tweet
• Try to keep chat transactions under 20 minutes – if chat is more than 20 minutes consider asking patron to call

Presenter Info: 
Presenter Name: 
Martha Allen
Presenter Employer: 
Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University
Presenter Email: 
Presenter Job Title: 
Chair, Research and Instruction Services
Public/Access Services
Submitter Email: