The courtesy email

Today I’ll share a small gain we’ve made on a rather mundane topic: overdue notices, produced via Destiny.  For years, this has been our schedule:

7-14 days overdue > regular 1st overdue notice emailed

15-21 days overdue > regular 2nd overdue notice emailed

22+ days overdue  > report produced to me for follow-up individually (ie. I’m the heavy)

The 22+ day report produced was usually 3-4 pages long. Which means not only did we often have popular books being held hostage, but it took a good deal of time and energy to follow up.

Until the dawn of the courtesy email!

I’ve lost the thread of where I heard about this (please tell me if it was you so that I can send you flowers). It’s been a huge improvement.

Sending the following email to borrowers who have materials due in the following week has cut that long overdue report from 3-4 pages to less than one:

“Just a friendly reminder that your book (or books) are coming due soon. Please return by the due date or contact us if you wish a renewal. Thank you.”

Students and staff are renewing and/or returning in greater numbers and people have expressed appreciation to us for giving them a heads up – customer service for the win! It’s also opened up more conversation with readers who take a bit more time to read, which is making me wonder if, rather than having a set borrowing period, we should start asking borrowers how much time they’d like (within reason).

Is anyone out there trying user-driven due dates?

3 thoughts on “The courtesy email

  1. Yes, this is a great step forward and Destiny makes it easy.

    Several years ago, we realized we were spending a disproportionate amount of time overdues. After a conversation with AISL colleagues on a conference bus, I realized that part of the problem was that a 3-week loan period was not long enough for many of our boys to finish a book.

    So we changed our process. It has taken some getting used to but it is working (tho we still have some students who are lax about checking messages).

    Books are now due on the first of the month, and the shortest loan period is 3 weeks, the longest is about 7 weeks. For example, on the 10th of September, books signed out are due November 1st.

    Thanks for this reminder to focus on our students’ needs!

    • Hi Diana – the courtesy, first and second notices are all automated. I deal manually with those remaining after that. ~ Shelagh

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