By Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, New Jersey State Library

The ALA annual pre-conference program “Be My Guest: Customer Service from the Best”, which began as a partnership between the New Jersey State Library and Trump Entertainment Resorts to deliver a unique customer service training experience to the staff of New Jersey public libraries, evolved into a program at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference.

Jennifer Babcock, Director of Training and Development for Trump Entertainment Resorts, presented a half-day version of a Trump Entertainment Resorts training on their customer service standards called ACT, which stands for Acknowledge, Connect and Thank. Babcock did an amazing job relating the world of the casino and resort industry with that of libraries. For instance, libraries are concerned about our customers continuing to see value in what we do in a world of the Internet, Google and Barnes and Noble. The casino industry is just as concerned with their customers returning, since they also have the choice of gambling on the Internet, going to nearby states that have started casino industries, or even going to neighboring casinos linked via walkways!

Jennifer gave the group numerous opportunities to practice the skills she was teaching with one another. At one point she had everyone stand up and face one another in two lines. First we simply thanked the person across from us by saying “thanks”. Then she had us add more expressiveness to our voices and body language as well as extend the thank you by repeating the phrase “thank you so much for visiting us today, I hope that we see you again very soon”. Hearing and seeing is believing…we all noticed the dramatic difference between the two versions.

At the end of the day the group was privileged to view a short video that gave a sneak peek at the next Trump customer service initiative. The group was so enthusiastic in their response to this training that New Jersey State Library staff are now working with the Trump Taj on a regional East Coast session.

Stay tuned…we may be coming your way in the Spring of 2010!