Thursday, March 09, 2006

Technical issues, Overexplaining

When patrons complain about dead links on your library's web site, out-of-service databases, or a disabled online catalog, help them understand what's going on by explaining the technical problems in excruciating detail. Patrons really care about the javascript code running behind your library's web site and what kind of server your link resolver is running on. Really, nothing dissolves patrons' frustrations like dense, technical, jargon-filled hypothetical explanations of your library catalog's problems. When you're finished rambling, refer patrons to an online form to report the problem and tell them to "check back" to see when it's up and running again.


Anonymous said...

I use the shorthand "The actual explanation is too boring to get into, trust me. That part of the web site is broken and we'll have it fixed as soon as we can."

I've had co-workers who do the huge explanation thing. Things never to say to a patron, esp. one who is pissed off that your Byzantine, counter-intuitive search tools have screwed them again: thesaurus, findability, code, script, cookie, etc.

Anonymous said...

Here is another way to deal with technical issues questions-
I keep a special library e-mail account that I never check. This way I can tell patrons where to send their comments/complaints . They feel like they have taken action and I don't have to deal with the complaints!