The University of Utah Libraries uses Kayako to receive and answer email reference questions. Our basic reference question web form can be found on the Marriott Library home page under Ask a Librarian, or here: http://chat.lib.utah.edu/index.php?/Tickets/Submit/RenderForm/2
Online patrons should be treated as well as in-person patrons. Questions should be answered in a timely fashion. During the work week between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm it is our service goal to send an initial answer to each research assistance request within 4 hours. There is admin coverage between the hours of 6 pm and 10 pm, and on weekends. Questions allocted to specific groups or individuals over the weekend should be promptly handled on Monday morning.
Assistance with Email Reference via Kayako
If you (a librarian) are having difficulties with theKayako system, please contact Online Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorelei Rutledge and Robin Reid are the service coordinators. Brian McBride is the System Administrator.
Email Reference Best Practices
I. Picking up Emails in Kayako
a. If you begin working on a question in Kayako, make sure that you change that question status to “Closed” or “In Progress” so that others know you are working on it, and that you change the owner to yourself.
II. Response Times
a. Our goal is to answer all questions in one full business day.
b. When you see a question, respond to the patron letting them know that you are working on the question. Give them an estimate of when you will get back to them and let them know that they can call you directly or call the reference desk if they need the information sooner.
III. Structuring the E-mail
a. Every email should welcome the patron to the Ask the Library Service, show your full contact information, let the person know that they are free to contact you or the library for additional assistance, and thank the patron for using the Ask the Library service. Once you set up an automatic signature, you will no longer need to type this by hand.
b. Use complete sentences, proper grammar, and proper capitalization.
c. If you suggest a specific search to the patron, copy and paste the search so that they have it exactly as you entered it and remind them that they can copy and paste directly into the catalog or the database you used
d. If you need more information from the patron, ask for clarification, then change the question status to “In Progress.”
e. Keep in mind that community patrons may need to come to the library to use some resources, so try to make sure you let them know if there is an item that they will not be able to access on their own.