The Ones That Got Away: Minimizing Missed Chats Using an Evidence Based Wait Time Standard

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Steiner, Head of Research and Instruction Services (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
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Abstract: The study explores the length of time online chat (often dubbed “Ask a Librarian” or virtual reference) academic library patrons will wait before leaving without interacting with a library employee. The study investigators* reviewed 400 randomly selected transcripts from three institutions (Agnes Scott College (ASC), University of Georgia (UGA), and Western Carolina University (WCU)) to correlate wait time with patron engagement. The findings establish the ideal wait time on library chat service points is ninety seconds or fewer. Furthermore, the study indicates establishing a goal time for initial greeting within the first ninety seconds leads to a substantial decrease in the number of “missed” questions. *Study contributors are Sarah Steiner (WCU), Casey Long (ASC), and Amber Prentiss (UGA).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
virtual reference, online chat

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