Seniors' Wellness Checks During COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s often the little things in life that make the difference. A simple phone call can mean the world to someone, especially during these challenging times. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to isolation. So, since mid-July, a small, dedicated team of 20 or so TPL staff have been calling our senior customers to let them know we are thinking about them.
We began with calling 9,000 of our customers ages 80 and over, as well as all 1,000 of our Home Library Service customers. These calls provide a friendly check-in, and our staff can also share information about our services and offer assistance. Many libraries around the world have implemented a similar service.
We are just about to embark upon calling customers ages 70 to 79, approximately 13,000 more customers!
Feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. These conversations are casual chats on just about anything and everything – great reads, digital services, ebooks, holds, community services, cooking, cleaning and even the weather.
Here's what customers have been saying:
"I very much appreciate the courtesy call and am grateful to have TPL in my life. I consider TPL a lifeline through hard times and the social upside to my day whenever I enter your doors."
"I am delighted you have taken this on as another way to help ease the pandemic’s effects. In fact, I think this kind of kindness is extremely newsworthy and deserves promotion as a reflection on TPL in general. Thanks for making our world a little bit better."
"I’m happy to hear from the library and appreciate the call. I’m very touched that you took the time to check in and offer assistance."
Customers are looking forward to the day when they can browse in our branches again, borrow material and connect with staff. There is lots of love for TPL – customers are missing us just as much as we miss them too!
Our staff are used to having in-depth conversations with customers about their interests and needs. So working on these calls has been incredibly rewarding for the team. Here's what some of them have to say about their experience:
"I've provided some online account help and tech support over the phone that was greatly appreciated. There have been some great laughs shared. Coincidentally, I chatted with a senior who had her art exhibited at Don Mills Branch 12 years ago...I purchased one of her paintings and she actually recognized my voice. What are the chances? An added bonus to this project is that it has helped me feel connected to customers again."
– Stefanie, Library Assistant
"On my first day of calling, I had a great few hours on the phone. I got some real chatty ones, some very interesting seniors. One was picking currants to make jam, another one told me about stamp collecting, others were just glad that the Library was reaching out to them."
– Beverley, Library Assistant
"I have been getting a great response from customers and it feels good to know we are helping with a phone call."
– Rubi, Library Assistant
This important initiative will be continuing well into the new year.