Effective communication is essential in order to provide good customer service and to fulfil our standards of service. This communication policy aims to outline our commitment to effective communication by documenting the ways in which we communicate with you, our communication objectives and our on-going endeavour to listen to and respond to you through active consultation and feedback.
- Communication Purpose
We provide you with a range of information. Broadly speaking our communication approaches fall under the following categories:
- To inform: we provide up to date and transparent information to you about our services (e.g. opening hours, loan entitlements), our policies (e.g. fines policy), our resources (eg. ejournals) and our procedures (e.g. ILL procedures).
- To notify: we provide you with notification reminders when your requested books are available for collection and when your books have been recalled or are overdue.
- To respond: we respond to queries within agreed timeframes from you by face-to-face, by email, by phone, through Library Chat and via social media outlets.
- To consult with you.
2. Methods of Communcation
We communicate with you through a variety of appropriate channels and mechanisms, in ways which meet individual needs and preferences. These currently include:
|Library Guides||Telephone Calls|
|Library Help||Text Messaging|
|Guides, leaflets, flyers||Library News||Tours|
|Library Webpages||Training Sessions|
|Intranet||Microsoft Teams||Transaction Desks|
|Liaison Meetings||Pop-up Libraries||User Experience Exercises|
These methods will be reviewed regularly and advances in communication technology will be adapted where appropriate.
3. Communication Principles
To ensure effective communication with you, we aim to embody the following principles:
- Our communication will be clear and concise in order to deliver our message succinctly.
- We aim to use plain English and develop an acceptable glossary of Library terms so our communication is easily understood.
- We will deliver timely communication that is relevant to you at your point of need and ensure that agreed standards of service targets are met.
- We will reply promptly to all your queries, ensuring that agreed standards of service targets are met.
- We will adopt a flexible communication approach, delivering our messages in a variety of ways that meet your needs and preferences.
- We endeavour to standardise our communication where possible in order to ensure customer clarity by creating templates for letters and emails.
4. Internal Communication
To deliver effective communication to you, we must ensure that our internal communication is effective. We will do this by:
- Setting an Out of Office email to alert colleagues to our absence from work.
- Recording an appropriate voicemail to allow colleagues to leave a message and also to redirect colleagues to an alternative colleague/department if we are unavailable.
- Encourage staff to offer feedback on our communication methods and information provision.
- Distributing Monthly Information Services Team Brief.
- Holding regular Library Staff updates.
- Effectively utilise Microsoft Teams as a staff update and communication tool.
5. Policy Evaluation
Our Communication Policy will be kept up to date with an annual review.
We will also review any of our policies that impact on our Communication Policy, for example our Social Media Policy and the Website Development Strategy detailed below.
6. Evaluating our Communication
In order to ensure the effectiveness of our communication, we will regularly evaluate our communication approach by:
- Seeking regular customer feedback (both formal and informal) on our communication and information provision.
- Making changes to our communication methods or principles where necessary.
- Regularly review and update all information content to ensure accuracy and currency.
- Gather and analyse statistics regarding the usage of our communication channels where possible. We will use these statistics to inform our policy and decision making regarding communication and information provision in the Library (table 1 summarises the channels and media we currently use to communicate with our users and, where possible, how we can gather evidence of use).
- Listening to and responding to user suggestions regarding our communication and information provision.
|Medium||Channel||One to one||One to many||One-or two-way||How measured?||Mainly used for|
|electronic||yes||yes||two||manually||reliably reaching individuals or groups|
|social media||yes||yes||two||system||news and updates|
|Guides, leaflets, flyers||yes||one||manually||subject, database and service information|
|social media||yes||yes||two||system||news and updates|
|Intranet||web||yes||one||system||library services and contact details|
|Liaison meetings||in person||yes||two||n/a||presenting library updates|
|Library chat||web||yes||two||system||providing help and advice|
|Library guides||web||yes||two||system||subject specific information|
|library help||web||yes||two||system||faq and queries|
|Libary news||web||yes||two||system||news about resources and events|
|Library webpages||web||yes||two||system||library services and contact details|
|Microsoft Teams||electronic||yes||yes||two||n/a||communication tool|
|Plasma screens||electronic||yes||one||n/a||current events and statuses|
|Pop-up library||in person||yes||two||manually||providing help and advice|
|Telephone calls||in person||yes||two||manually||providing help and advice|
|Text messaging||electronic||yes||yes||one||system||reaching individuals or groups|
|Tours||in person||yes||yes||two||manually||providing orientation|
|Training sessions||in person||yes||yes||two||manually||giving instruction|
|Transaction desks||in person||yes||two||manually||providing help and advice|
|social media||yes||yes||two||system||brief updates, urgent messages|
|User Experience Exercises||in person||yes||yes||two||manually||gathering customer feedback|
IS Social Media Group – Social Media Strategy
The purpose of this document to record how social media is being exploited by Information Services. It does not include information on the legal and acceptable use aspects of social media because there are institutional guides and policies on these issues.
We use the following technologies:
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/QUBLibrary
- Google Places - http://goo.gl/maps/M6AHd
- Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/qublibrary/
- Library News - https://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/InformationServices/TheLibrary/News/
- Twitter - https://twitter.com/QUBLibrary
- YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/QUBLibrary
They are administered by the Social Media Group which consists of:
- Claire McCartan (Chair)
- Sally Bridge
- Christine Carrothers
- Gillian Laverty
- Kriss Leslie
- Ivona Coghlan
- Barry McKinney
- Conor O’Doherty
- Kath Stevenson
Social media has been adopted as a communication tool to:
- Inform you about news and developments.
- Promote services and resources.
- Assist you in using the Library.
- Gather feedback about Information Services.
- Engage with you.
We have adopted a persona to ensure that we communicate in a consistent manner, thus building up trust with you and establishing a solid personality for the Directorate.
The communication style we adopt when posting messages varies according to the service and the subject. For example, an informal style is appropriate when wishing students luck in their exams, but a more serious tone is required when conveying information about library policy.
We have developed a calendar of events and topics and this calendar drives the campaigns throughout each year.
A number of steps have been taken to integrate social media with other forms of communication within Information Services:
- Details about our social media accounts can be added to individual email signatures.
- Tweets from our Twitter account can be set to automatically feed into individual LibGuides pages.
- Induction documentation for new students includes details about our social media accounts.
- Social media buttons are included on the homepage of our website under the banner of ‘Connect with @QUBLibrary’.
A large group of staff is required to ensure that core areas of the Information Services Directorate are represented and that the accounts are covered during core hours. Members of the Social Media Group manage the service during the day. Comments coming through during evening hours or over the weekend are picked up when the service is next managed (Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm).
All members of the Social Media Group post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Posts can be scheduled using Hootsuite Pro. Requests for posts are also filtered to the Social Media Group from the various Task and Finish Groups / Project Groups and Standing Groups operating within the Information Services Directorate.
We are able to retrieve metrics about the various social media accounts, and individual posts / campaigns as and when requested.
Website Development Strategy
The Library website is an important means of communicating with you and should be able to answer any general questions you might have concerning the services and resources provided by the Library as a whole. Any customer should be able to navigate the pages easily and quickly without unnecessary distractions or blocks.
The website is managed and developed by the Library Website Group which consists of:
- Kriss Leslie (Chair)
- Sally Bridge
- Claire McCartan
- Deborah Wilson
- Richard Fallis
- Geraldine O’Beirn
The aim of the website is to be an accessible, dynamic, reliable and secure information resource for our registered and potential customers, and any interested party who wishes to understand Library service.
The content of the site, while considering CMS template restrictions, will cover the full range of services, e.g.:
- Library catalogue, including links to all electronic resources and with clear instructions on the various services associated with it.
- The various services and collections included within QUB Library.
- Information on each Library and their locations.
- Circulation services, including borrowing, requesting, fines, short loans, interbranch services, interlibrary loan services.
- Disability services.
- Help and advice including FAQs and Library Chat.
- Links to Subject Guides containing subject specific information.
- Contact details of relevant staff and service areas.
- Research support details and contacts.
- Library guides to key services.
- Feedback options.
- Access to the Library’s Mission Statement, Customer Charter and Standards of Service.
- Library News.
- Access to personal library accounts.
The website uses plain English and strives to be clear and concise in its approach. Content is provided in such a way that the meaning is clear and accessible to all. Fonts and spacing are consistent and regulated.
- Items reported for updates by colleagues or following feedback from customers will be actioned within 5 working days.
- Links will be monitored regularly and repaired or removed within 5 working days.
- Warnings will be given, as best as possible, when planned maintenance and downtime occurs.
- The upkeep of the site and all content will be reviewed on a regular basis throughout the year.
- The Library Website Group receives bi-weekly reports from Site Improve which provides information on site accessibility compliance and improvements are actioned appropriately.
The Library website will continue to be reviewed, maintained, and developed to ensure that it remains an effective communication tool and information resource for customers. The website is flexible and content can be easily amended or updated. Usage analytics and customer feedback will be collated by the Library Website Group in order to make informed changes to the website, and create a positive experience for all. New technologies will be incorporated where appropriate, and we will collaborate with colleagues across Information Services as required.
Reviewed February 2022