They yet forget another important component which is also supposed to be ffered by the libraries if they are to sustain and increase their membership. This important component is customer care. According to Jamier L. Scott (2002), from Wikipedia defines customer care service as a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation. Thus the customer should feel at home when he or she is in the library and should leave while they are contented that they have really been assisted.
Customer care is the watchword in both private and public sectors as e move into the service age of 21st century (De Saez, 2002:126). The client is firmly at the centre of missions and strategic policies. Libraries and information services must demonstrate this constantly and consistently if they are to succeed. The need to feel that one is respected is vital to an individual’s concept of self. De Saez (2002:66) argues that a welcoming atmosphere can be created by staff well trained in customer care.
This means that I ibrary statt should be knowledgeable in customer care and should see to it that they maintain welcoming environment at all times. Library ustomers or users should be welcomed warmly. De Saez (2002:75) further suggests that however, all library employees be encouraged to recognise their very real role as salespeople for the organisation. Their role will be to make a customer care a high- level priority, presenting a professional face at all times to establish and develop good public relations. Kotler… et al (2008: n. ) says that todays companies are going beyond designing strategies to attract new customers and create transactions with them. Companies are now using customer relations management to retain customers nd build profitable, long-term relationship with them. Likewise libraries should use customer relations management, customer care inclusive, to retain their customers or attract new members or users. Once a customer is mistreated and disappointed, he would not want to come back and will definitely be discouraging others from coming to the library sighting his experience of mistreatment as an example.
Library staffs need to be nice to their users if they are to continue patronizing the libraries. Rice (1997:17) also argues that if you do not care for your customers you will surely go ut of business. The customer will definitely go where they feel that they are welcomed. This implies that in case of a library they will shun coming to the library and prefer other information sources like the internet where they will not meet hostility. So if people do not come to the library then the library will be dysfunctional.
Therefore it is as well very important nowadays, like in any other business institutions for librarians to observe customer care in libraries. 1. 2 Background College of Medicine (COM) is one of the five constituent colleges of University of Malawi. Other colleges are the Polytechnic in Blantyre, Chancellor College in Zomba, Bunda College of Agriculture in Lilongwe and Kamuzu College of Nursing with campuses in Lilongwe and Blantyre. COM was established in 1991 and enrolled returning students from abroad. Before the College was established, medical students were being sent to Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
With the establishments of College of Medicine, the country is now training its own doctors locally. The students’ mode of enrollment is in two phases. The first group is that of premedical students. This refers to O-level students. They study A-level science subjects like mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics. After successful completion, they are enrolled for five years in the medical course. The other group is that of students with A-level science subjects obtained from Chancellor College, Kamuzu Academy or any other high school. These students are enrolled straight into the first year of medical course for five years.
COM like any other institution of higher learning has a library at its campus. It is situated along Mahatma Ghandi road. For the first ten years, the library operated from the Polytechnic library complex until October 2000 when it moved to its present location (Mangumbi, 2006:1-2). The library is relatively small and a new and bigger one is under construction which is expected to be occupied by the end of the year 2010. The mission of the library is to support teaching, learning and research activities for the college by providing up-to-date information resources and promoting effective usage of library facilities.
The community that the college of medicine serves is composed of the following. All academic, academic related and administration staff; All registered students ot the college tor the entire duration ot their study; Members f University of Malawi; All college of Medicine members of staff; Visiting lectures, research fellows and other visitors; Interns and other medical personnel and external paid up members. The COM library offers various services to its clientele. These are lending services (long loan and short loan), Reference services, Malawiana and interlibrary services Just to mention a few.
In its holding the library also offers electronic resources like e-books and subscribes to online Journals through the Malawi Library and Information Consortium (MALICO), WHO and INASP. The collection includes CD-ROMs and DVDs hich are also lent to people. (College of Medicine 2009 Prospectus) 1. 3 Statement of the problem Although a library may provide a number of services to its clientele it is very important to serve these customers with courtesy and satisfy their needs in a friendly environment. No matter how well stocked the library may be, if it has hostile staff and environment then members will not be attracted to the resources.
They will definitely shun the library and opt for other information sources. Not only that, with information overload such as that available through the internet, some people may ot hesitate to stop patronizing the library if they feel are being ill treated at the library. It is for this reason that a research will be conducted to find out if there are customer services at College of Medicine. The research will find out how clients are being treated if they come to the library. If they have a query, how are they assisted? Are they treated warmly and with courtesy? 1. Aim of the Research The research aims at finding out if the customer care services are available at College of Medicine Library. 1. 5 Specific Research Objectives 1. To find out the customer care services at College of Medicine Library 2. To find out if library staff are always friendly 3. To find out if library staff are eager to assist library users. 4. To find out user satisfaction, 5. To find out how library staff treat customers. 6. To find out if queries are solved peacefully and amicably. 1. 6 Research Questions 1 . How do library staffs welcome you in the library i. e are you greeted when you reach the counter? . Are they always willing and eager to assist when you need a special help at the counter or in the library in general? 3. How do you rate friendliness of staffs? 4. Which group of library staff is friendly? . Do you have any suggestion on how best the library can improve its customer care services? 1. 7 Significance of the Study The study will assist the library management to make recommendations in coming up with plans on how to improve the customer care services in order to retain its clientele and encourage those that are graduating to continue being members and patronize the library.
Scope and Limitations Since the research will only focus on students, the findings will not reflect the real results that are on the ground. It would have been better if the research involved all ossible library members. Lack of enough time and money will also be a limiting factor to this research. 3. 0 METHODOLOGY Research methodology is a process whereby data is collected for the research project. It is simply a set of procedures and methods used to carry out a research. Macmillan and Schumacher (1997:n. ) define research methodology as a design whereby a researcher selects data collection instruments and uses analysis procedures to investigate specific research problems. On the other hand, research methodologies according to Powell and Connaway (2004:286-287) refer to strategies urrounding the use of multiple methods of data collection as required by different types of attempts to achieve higher degree of reliability and validity. This involves gathering the opinions of people on a particular topic. Neuman (2000:122) has divided methodology into categories thus quantitative and qualitative.
Qualitative research stresses the experiences and meanings of phenomenon. While quantitative puts emphasis on the empirical exploration and explanation of phenomenon, where generalization from the sample to population is the goal (Newman & Benz, 1998 n p). This research will use quantitative and qualitative methods to allow the researcher to get the in-depth information form students on how they are treated in the library. 3. 1 Research Method This basically is the specific method that is used in a research. Social sciences use various methods in research but the common one is survey method.
Powell & Connaway (2004:61) define research method as specific means of collecting data. One of the research methods used in social science is survey. Survey is the research strategy where one collects data from all or part of a population to assess the relative ncidence, distribution and interrelations of naturally occurring variables (Powell 2004:61). Aina and AJiferuke (2002:32) observe that a social survey research involves a systematic and comprehensive collection of information about the opinions, attitudes, feelings, beliefs and behavior of people.
Therefore this research will use survey method as it is widely used in social sciences, and library and information science being one of them. It is also flexible because a wide range of data can be collected. 3. 2 Target Population According to Powell (2004:84) population is the total of all cases that conform to a re-specified criterion or set of criteria. He further states that the population is the aggregate of units to which one wishes to generalize the results of a research study. Since COM is still young, its population is not as big as its other sister colleges.
It has the population of 585 students in its various programs. So this means that the population of this research will be based on the population of the college which is 585 students. The population of the students is presented in table below. Table 1: Population size for students COURSE NUMBER OF STUDENTS Premedical Students 160 Pharmacy Students 71 Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS ) Students 298 Medical Laboratory Science 51 Total number of Students Source: College of Medicine library user’s register, May 2010 3. Sampling Methods Sample as defined by Lo Biondo-Wood and Haber (1998:250) is a portion or a subset of research population selected to participate in a study, representing the research population. Stratified simple random will be used to get the participants. In this method the population will be divided into strata. The population of students will be divided according to courses, levels of study, male and female and then selected randomly. The method is advantageous because it guarantees fair representation of different segments of population and biasness is minimized. 3. Sample Size Chowdhury (2008:83) defines sample as the sub-group of a population to be studied. Sample is a small amount of something or quantity or part of something to be used for study in a research. But Powell (2004:193) defines sample as a selection of units from the total population to be studied. Leedy and Ormrod (2005:207) argues that the larger the sample, the smaller the amount of sampling error. However, a larger sample does not guarantee good results if it is not well represented. The sample size of the students will be calculated at 20% to have a good representation.
Table 2 below illustrates the sample size. Table 2: Sample size 32 Pharmacy students 14 Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Students 59 Medical Laboratory Technology 10 Total number of students 115 3. 5 Research Instruments According to Aina (2004), data collection instruments are instruments used to collect data. Seaman (1991:42) defines data collection instruments as devices used to collect data such as questionnaires, tests, structured interview schedules and checklist. Questionnaires will be used to gather data trom participants tor this study.
They have been chosen because they have an advantage of giving respondents an opportunity to respond at their convenient time. Not only that, but are also quick and simple method of reaching a large sample of people. The questionnaires will contain both open and closed ended questions so as to cater for both qualitative and quantitative techniques. 3. 6 Data Collection Procedures Data is information obtained during the course of investigation or study (Polit ; Hungler 1999:267). The questionnaires will be distributed to students who will be dvised not to write their names.
The questionnaires will be self-administered by the researcher. 3. 7 Pre-Testing of Research Instruments To ensure reliability and validity, the questionnaires will be tested before distributing them to respondents. 3. 8 Ethical Consideration To ensure confidentiality, all questions will not bear names of the respondents. However, numbers will be assigned on each questionnaire for participants to remain anonymous. As Polit and Hungler (1999:132-134) advise that researchers need to exercise care that the rights of individuals and institutions are safeguarded.
Permission will be sought from the College of Medicine Registrar to conduct the study. And also legal and ethical issues regarding this research will be observed. 3. 9 Data Analysis Data analysis is the technique used to interpret, organize and present data that has been collected. Powell (2004:53) defines data analysis as the process of analyzing the data gathered basically involves coding the responses or placing each item in the appropriate category tabulating the data and performing appropriate statistical computation. The data from questionnaires will be checked and processed using.
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