convoEven with the greatest technology and 24/7 coverage, your service is worthless if patrons give up because they had to wait too long, or if librarians don’t have the time to thoroughly address the patrons’ questions. We’ve found that the extra mile is really the most important mile- it is when patrons finally get to access that article, or realize how to search accurately or are able to download that ebook. It makes all the difference.

Our team consists of ALA-accredited librarians with years of experience providing virtual reference service to academic and public patrons, within the scope of their library’s resources. We are a small company committed to growing slowly as to maintain our advantage in offering quality service.

Q: Can I review the Chatstaff librarians’ work myself?
A: Absolutely, local administrators and managers have access to complete transcripts and are welcome to review them at any time. They are encouraged to offer feedback to the Quality Control manager. Often this helps us clarify other aspects of the service, such as the information surrounding the widget or the profile information.

Q: How can Chatstaff librarians know the answers to local knowledge questions?
A: We encourage all libraries to set up a brief profile about themselves using our handy profile editor. The editor guides you through the most common questions, and your answers let us help your patrons so efficiently many of them don’t know they’re not talking with a local librarian. These profiles can only be accessed by Chatstaff and your own local librarians, so it’s safe to put things like database access instructions in them.

Q: What if the question isn’t answered in the profile?
A: If it’s not in your profile but it is on your website, our general experience with the patterns of library sites helps us find things that a patron might have missed.

Q: What if they absolutely cannot answer a question?
A: Occasionally a patron will ask something that only a local librarian could answer. In these situations we can get an email address from the patron and send a copy of the transcript directly to the local library’s reference department. We’ve found that most patrons, having already had an instant response to convince them that there really is someone real on the other end of things, are quite content to be referred and receive an email response.