How May I Help You? The Semiotics of Superior Customer Support at the Library’s Service Desks
Pici, Frances Anne
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Semiotics is a method of inquiry that studies how human beings represent the world through a system of signs. The fundamental premise of semiotics is that all human communication and interaction is composed of signs and that the human experience is essentially a social and cultural system that is created, mediated, and sustained by signs. For example, in almost all human cultures signs carry some sort of information that we use to communicate, describe, evaluate, and respond to the world around us. And these signs can be words, images, symbols, gestures, movements, facial expressions, sounds, or anything that human beings routinely enlist to make and send out messages Semiotics can furnish us with the tools needed to identify what constitutes a sign and to decipher what meanings can be discovered behind their representations. One basic goal of a semiotic analysis would be to examine the social function and cultural production of signs in a given society and to offer explanations about how they are used to communicate meanings. The purpose of this presentation is to examine the fundamental principles governing customer support by utilizing the basic theories and analytical tools provided by Semiotics. My aim is to demonstrate how an approach such as this can help to define and improve customer support at the Library’s Service Desks. The body of the presentation is organized in three main ways: 1. Introduction to Semiotics 2. Fundamentals of Customer Service/Support in general 3. Signs of Customer Service/Support at the Library’s Service Desks in particular The presentation will utilize lecture, projected slides, and student training clips to demonstrate the signals we send visually through body language, posture, and facial expressions and audibly through our attitude, tone of voice, and active listening.