How Casey Cardinia Library tapped its CX tech in lockdown

Cardinia Library, one of Victoria's largest public libraries, adopted a CX platform several years ago that has helped it serve members during lockdown

The humble local library, once the domain for school kids and older people checking out a few books, has been transformed into a digital destination, where a customer focus has given rise to improved services and a raft of new digital tools.

At least that’s the experience with Casey Cardinia Library, one of Victoria’s largest public library networks.  

“A lot of people don't understand what libraries actually about," Casey Cardinia Library, GM of digital operations, Daniel Lewis told CMO. “Yes, we still have books in there as a big part of the library, they always will be. But we have library services across our region, and pre-COVID, we would get approximately 1.3 million people through our doors every year, we'd also see over a million Wi-Fi users coming in to use the Internet." 

The list of services and devices the library provides is long, and growing. “We have public PCs, gaming consoles, we do code club events. There various different pieces of individual equipment, like graphic tablets for people wanting to learn and get into graphic design. We have been working with 3D printers. And we have just recently also brought in podcasting equipment. We actually set up a little podcasting room just before COVID hit,” Lewis said.  

Funded principally by the City of Casey, Cardinia Shire Council and the Victorian State Government, it includes libraries at Bunjil Place, Cranbourne, Doveton, Emerald, Endeavour Hills, Hampton Park and Pakenham. What was an IT manager’s role in the past has been transformed into a manager of digital operations that reflects the outward, customer focus of the library’s services in 2020.

And the list of innovative, digital services on offer may not stop there. Citing Melbourne city library that has Raspberry Pis and even sewing machines, Lewis explained how modern public libraries are quite a bit different to what they used to be, and constantly growing and changing.

“That’s why I’m not called an IT manager, I'm a general manager of operations because I handle everything that's the digital component within the library service. And we're really trying to push the boundaries and change those mindsets and the capacity that we give to our community,” Lewis told CMO.

Adopting a CX mindset

About four years ago, the library adopted Freshworks, firstly migrating its customer query ticketing system to the platform, and then adding tools to manage its IT services. It was shortly after Lewis started with the library, he noticed that the managed service provider wasn't using any systems. “And we really had a lot of issues that we just didn't even know about,” he said.

Choosing Freshworks, the initial adoption saw an “exponential time saving” because instead of getting a ticket for every single issue, they were now able to identify repetitive issues, resolve and then remove them entirely. The time saved could then be fed back into the processes to work on new projects.  

“Every time we made a step forward or improved a process, it meant the team’s time was freed up, so then I was able to use that time to improve or remove more pain points, which then actually gave them more time to work on more projects. It was kind of this nice little cycle,” Lewis said.

The library has been using Freshworks for a couple of years now, adding additional tools. “We use multiple different platforms, we've got the Freshservice as the main internal customer service ticketing components, and then we're also using Freshdesk and Freshchat for the use with customers. And they tie into all the information services in the library,” he said.

Freshworks Australia GM, Sreelesh Pillai, said the library has been able to continue servicing its community of over 130,000 members throughout the isolation during COVID thanks to diverse, off-site teams and digital platforms that had been integrated into the library’s existing infrastructure.

“A lot of credit should be given to the teams and leadership at CCL who have an agile, outcome oriented work culture that is today reaping benefits of automation and bot technology,” Pillai told CMO. “COVID-19 has only underscored the importance of customer and employee experience and we’re happy to have helped the CCL team to continue to serve its community through a very trying time.”

Bots and more

Continuing its CX innovation journey, next up is a chatbot, delayed because of COVID, that is on the agenda as the library looks beyond 2020. Added to this is further automation in customer assistance, which frees up people who can then be redeployed for new services.

Lewis said it’s about providing information as a service to the library member customers across the various branches.

“They all tie into information services, from people wanting to book a librarian or help with books to asset management, marketing and business intelligence,” he added.

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