There are many benefits of self-service kiosks, but arguably the greatest comes from freeing staff to have higher value interactions with their customers. In fact you could say that library self-service goes hand in hand with developing progressive services. Many head to the library for valued advice from the professionals they trust, whether on digital inclusion, literacy, health information or an array of other topics. Self-service improves staff availability for providing this support, while giving a convenient, modern experience for those who simply wish to print a document or return a book.
Such are the benefits it’s led to a large number of libraries pursuing a strategy of increased self-service this year. Fortunately the ESPO framework relaunched a few months ago and offers libraries a handy procurement path for RFID and other library technologies. The framework helps libraries wishing to introduce, upgrade or increase their self-service provision. This is great news for those planning to rejuvenate their services or deliver new initiatives with the support of self-service. Staff will be effectively mobilised to add value where it counts while customers’ expectations for self-service will be better met.
It’s interesting to consider what libraries need to take into account with these projects. When self-service is convenient for customers to use, it’s considered largely successful. Equally important though is that it’s easy for staff to support. Netloan integration on bibliotheca selfCheck kiosks is designed to ensure this is true in both cases.
In this blog, we’re reflecting on the experience of Hertfordshire Libraries who talked about their recent kiosk project at last autumn’s user group for our London and South East customers. Herts had been using Bibliotheca smartServe kiosks for some time and planned to roll out new selfCheck 1000 units across its branches. This included integration of netloan PC booking and print management, to continue providing a single service point for all book, PC and print self-service transactions.
The complete roll out project took 8 weeks for 48 kiosks in 44 libraries. Last year’s netloan release enhanced the bibliotheca kiosk functions in a number of ways, helping with the transition. Development of admin functions on the kiosk allow for more information and troubleshooting in kiosk operation. Plus there’s support for kiosk set up at the point of installation within the netloan web interface. Going forward if technical support is needed, key configuration data is readily available from the kiosk to support faster resolution.
Herts’ new kiosk project included a week of User Acceptance Testing, followed by a two-week pilot to check users were successfully using the new quickConnect integration. QuickConnect is the self-service software that powers the selfCheck kiosks and now integrates with netloan. Although customers had liked the old kiosks due to familiarity, the experience of using the new kiosks was very positive. They also liked the fact that they now had a consistent experience across all kiosks in the library, following a period of having both selfCheck 1000 and smartServe 400 units.
Herts library staff visited two libraries a day with bibliotheca to carry out the kiosk upgrades. They found that it paid off being on the ground throughout the project, gaining invaluable feedback directly from users. As well as the positive, consistent experience being reported, transaction times were found to be generally quicker, with all payments faster to make.
Further benefits provided by quickConnect include the ability to advertise events and services on the kiosk screens.
Staff have found it very easy to upload these adverts through the system manager.
With the selfCheck also comes a new lights system, which makes it easier to diagnose and troubleshoot if there’s an issue. The selfCheck’s lights system tells you what the issue is. It changes colour depending on what needs attention e.g. the lights turn blue or yellow or green or red, with each colour indicating if it’s a problem with going offline, if the bin’s full, if the bin’s nearly full, if there’s a payment problem or if it needs more receipt paper etc.
There’s now smoother float and cashing up procedures as well. And there’s simplified reporting on the receipts e.g. an account status summary is provided to the customer. Staff also get one receipt providing all totals rather than needing different figures across several receipt print outs.
Library self-service from netloan on selfCheck kiosks offers a modern and efficient experience for Herts library users. Here at Lorensbergs, we look forward to supporting more of our public library customers as they roll out netloan integration on their bibliotheca kiosks. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your netloan account manager.