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Student Technical Assistant- Student Worker Training LibGuide: Customer Service

Customer Service

One of your roles as a student worker is to be a representative of the library. When interacting with patrons, it is important that you display excellent customer service.  It can be intimidating to ask for help, especially in a busy room.  By being friendly and polite, we can help make the library a resource that UNO students enjoy using.

Reference BLISS: 5 Steps to an Awesome Reference Interaction (Adapted from UW-Eau Claire Library)


  • Look up! Smile! Make eye contact!
  • Don't look too busy doing something else
  • Be seen! Sit up straight
  • Use language to put patron at ease


  • Don't be a know-it-all
  • Ask open-ended questions (those that cant' be answered with yes or no) and then LISTEN
  • Sometimes a pause will elicit more information
  • If the question is something about which you know very little and you feel panic setting in, ask the patron to talk about his/her topic. It will put him/her at ease, and give you more time and information to use in developing a search strategy.
  • Helpful open-ended questions:
    Please tell me more about your topic.
    What are you interested in finding out about this topic
    What else can you tell me about this topic?
  • Rephrase or paraphrase the patron's question back to him/her so that you ensure that you understand.
  • Ask clarifying questions to better understand:
    What have you already found?
    What type of information do you need (books, articles, etc.)?
    Do you need current or historical information?


  • Engage and be interested in the patron's question and need
  • Face patron, maintain eye contact
  • Be aware of your body language (smile, lean forward, get up and move around if the situation calls for it)
  • Face patron and resist temptation to start typing immediately while they are still stating their need
  • Helpful phrases:
    How can I help you?
    Can I help you find something?


  • As you try search strategies, explain to patron what you are doing and why
  • Invite patron to contribute ideas while searching, and to provide feedback on results


  • Make sure question is answered thoroughly
  • Make a referral if the results are inadequate or if you're not sure what to do
  • Encourage patron to come back with additional questions or needs if necessary
  • Helpful questions and phrases:
    Is this enough to get you started?
    Does this look like what you need?
    If you don’t find what you are looking for, please come back and we’ll try something else.
    Is there anything else I can help you with?


Please complete this activity.

(DVD summary and critical response videos.)

Answering, Placing and Transferring Phone Calls

Answering the Phone

Smile when you answer the phone! It makes you sound more friendly, and patrons will respond in kind.

"Hello, UNO Library Reference Desk. This is [Your First Name]. How may I help you?"

Placing a Phone Call

There will be times that you need to call both on and off campus numbers.  Smile when you use the phone,  identify yourself by name, and that you are calling from the library.

To call on-campus: Press 3 and then the last 4 digits of the phone number. For example, if you were calling the reference desk from another on-campus location, you would press 3-6549.

Off campus (local): Press 9 and then the seven digit phone number.  You can only call 504 numbers from the reference desk.  If you need to call outside of the 504 area code, please speak to a staff member.

Transferring a Phone Call

  1. Give the patron the phone number in case the call gets disconnected
  2. Push the flash button (green phone)
  3. Enter 3+the four digit extension
  4. When someone answers the phone, tell them that you are transferring a call from the Reference Desk*
  5. Push the flash button (green phone)
  6. Let everyone know that they should be connected.
  7. Hang up

*If you dial a wrong number or get an answering machine (and the patron doesn't want that option):

Press the green flash button before hanging up.  This will end the transfer, but allow to finish talking with the original caller.

Set up a time with your supervisor to practice placing, answering and transfering calls.

What you should be able to do. . .

  • Demonstrate a positive, welcoming and friendly attitude when approached by patrons for assistance.
  • Address and appropriately refer problems with patrons to Learning Commons and Circulation staff and faculty
  • Appropriately answer and/or transfer phone calls