When Students Ask, College Libraries Answer: the askON Service Transformation

December 5, 2016

The askON virtual reference service has transformed in the years since it launched in 2008, keeping pace with developments in online learning. Through the hard work, dedication, and direction of the askON college library staff, askON has flourished into an exceptional service for college students, faculty, and staff.

With a significant traffic increase from both increased student and faculty awareness as well as a proactive chat pilot, the fall 2016 semester has brought changes to the askON staff experience, and they have adjusted to higher traffic levels remarkably while continuing to provide an excellent level of customer service.

Visitor answers to "Tell us how we did today"The recent askON evaluation reveals that visitors are satisfied with the service they receive through askON (96%), and most visitors feel they've received better information than they could have found on their own (65%), which is the mandate of the askON service. This satisfaction rate has held steady in fall 2016 as traffic increased by 88%. 

A recent pilot project to explore proactive chat has further contributed to the traffic increase. The first phase of this project launched in May 2016 with 5 member libraries. Encouraged by the positive feedback from phase one, the pilot was extended in September to include 4 additional libraries.

Why do visitors use askON?Proactive chat allows askON staff to invite visitors to chat at their point of need. By integrating with the databases and electronic resources that students use during the research process, proactive chat has shown to uncover typically unasked questions. For some students, proactive chat was their first interaction with the library, and led them to discover services and resources that they were unaware of.

askON visitor testimonialsPhase 2 of the pilot will run until the end of 2016, with a task force exploring how to effectively implement proactive chat while maintaining excellent customer service.

The exceptional service provided by askON staff as well as other significant findings and recent developments are documented in the 2015 askON evaluation. An Evaluation Summary has been posted on the OCLS website, for you to check out when you have a chance.