Friday, September 08, 2006

Anticipating Information Needs

Fast Company has released their 2006 Customer First Awards. I was particularly impressed with Mandarin Oriental Hotel's approach to anticipating the customer's needs. By using permission marketing, Mandarin tailors the customer's entire experience.

As we in libraryland continue our consumer-centric approach, we should take note of these types of activities. Giving the patron what they want, where they want it, when they want it (lifted from Don Barlow) is critical for creating long-term relationships. Specifically, giving the patron what they want through personalized, detail-oriented attention will wow our patrons--if they want.

Opt-in provisions for such programs will be vital. We must make our intentions "crystal clear" to our patrons in regards to how we will use their information. Many patrons want value-added services; however, many fear that the library could easily become a sieve for governmental spying. Thus, through opting in, we protect our patrons as well as ourselves.

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