Category Archives: Public Library

Top 5 Challenges in Serials Management

Over the centuries libraries have become no strangers to change. Which is why they’re so adaptable. And in today’s rapidly changing environment, they’re required to be more flexible than ever before. Ask any librarian and they’ll say they’re being asked to do more with less. Shrinking budgets mean lower staff numbers, but the workload doesn’t go down.

It’s the same story, whatever the library, wherever you are. But what are the most pressing issues specific to serials management? At WT Cox we’ve been in the business long enough to anticipate our customers’ challenges, and we are well positioned to help them through the problem areas.

According to our customers, these are the top 5 challenges:

#1 – Transitioning

We hear from many new customers that they’re apprehensive about transitioning to a new Subscription Agency. They often say they’d wanted to make the change for a while, but were nervous about switching from their old vendor. Quite understandably, as there’s a lot of work involved, and new trust has to be established.

One of the first things we do at WT Cox, in customer service, is talk through the challenges each of our customers face in their particular library. We come up with a transition plan, together, which allows us to tailor our service to their needs. This takes all the stress out of the migration of their serials.

#2 – Invoicing

When a new customer comes to us at WT Cox, one of the top challenges they talk about is invoicing. It sounds simple but it’s actually quite a precarious area. All too often invoices arrive in a format that finance departments won’t accept.

So, during the transition period, we talk with our customers to find out what really suits their needs best. And we’re able to be truly flexible as our CoxNet account management system allows for invoices to be generated in a variety of ways – alphabetical by title, sorted by fund code and split invoices by fiscal year, for example.

#3 – ILS Set-Up

No migration is without its problems. Setting up a new ILS can seem a particularly arduous task.

This is why at WT Cox we have a dedicated team who walk both new and existing customers through the ILS set-up process. We’re happy to explain what is needed to complete the process and run tests to ensure everything’s running smoothly. We do this for both invoicing as well as claims, to make sure live invoices and claims are transmitted without errors.

#4 – Customer Service

We pride ourselves in providing the best customer service in the industry.

Dawn Babich, Customer Service Manager – Academics

Customer service can be a major pitfall. It makes all the difference when it comes to managing your library services. If it works, you don’t notice it’s happening, but with poor customer service, you can end up chasing your tail. And that’s when problems start to snowball.

We know how crucial good customer service is. At WT Cox we assign each client a Customer Service Specialist, who learns the ins and outs of their individual account. Our specialists are quick and responsive. In fact, our customer service team considers themselves to be an extension of your library staff – that’s how closely connected we are, and how seriously we take this. We’re here to help, after all.

#5 – Systems

The amount of systems librarians must deal with can be a real problem. Different vendors have different systems, which work in different ways. It’s vital to minimize the workload on libraries, and make things as simple as possible.

CoxNet is WT Cox’s proprietary system, which we provide to all our customers. It’s easy to use, but even so we provide training for everyone, both new and existing clients. It’s the most user-friendly interface we know, in fact, and our customers love it.

With CoxNet you can view orders, place claims and view responses, view electronic details, edit and submit renewals, and a lot more. Plus, we are always open to suggestions about how to improve your serials management system. We add enhancements regularly and always welcome customer feedback. We’re listening!

So take a look at the services we provide at WT Cox. We’re known for our outstanding commitment. We make your serials management our business.

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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Getting More Bang For Your Buck

3 Steps Towards Optimizing Vendor Support

Library expenditure on serials is on the up. In today’s knowledge economy, information is king. Knowledge is power.

But you all know that. And you know too that library budgets are shrinking, all the time. Which means that something has to give, and that includes staff numbers. In particular, staffing of serials operations is declining, which presents a challenge for libraries the world over. According to Ithaka’s 2019 Report Library Acquisition Patterns, serials and other ongoing resources make up over 70% of total library expenditure. So the challenge for library staff is significant, and it’s not going to go away.

Sound advice

At NASIG’s 34th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh this June, Maria Hatfield addressed exactly this issue. Maria is VP of Integrated Solutions at WT Cox, and has years of experience working with publishers, libraries and library technology. Her session at NASIG, Getting more bang for your buck: working with your vendor in the age of the shrinking staff , faced this issue head on, and offered sound advice on how best to move forward. As a Member at Large on the NASIG Executive Board and a member of the ISO ISSN Revision Working Group Committee, Maria has her ear to the ground and knows what libraries want. Here’s what she had to say.

It’s all about support

Your vendor is there to support you, so make the most of this. Maria knows that establishing an effective new vendor-library relationship is the number one priority for any library to get the most support possible. In order to optimize your serials workflows, tap in to your vendor services. Here are three vital steps in establishing the most effective vendor-library relationship from the beginning:

  1. Set clear expectations. Both library and vendor need to be direct about their requirements and needs in this partnership. Right from the start. This is the basis upon which the entire business relationship will be built, so it’s pretty crucial.
  2. Communicate these needs. Yes, it’s all about communication. As vendors, at WT Cox we have two account management teams who are there to act as advisers and consultants whenever you might need them. Our Sales Team is responsible for looking at everything from cost impact analysis to assessing support service needs. And our Customer Relationship team actually view themselves as an extension of your staff – their relationship with your library is close and responsive.
  3. Establish a transition plan. You’ll need a timeline clearly indicating who is responsible for each step of the transition. At WT Cox we have an established transition plan that has evolved through years of experience doing many successful transitions for new customers. Our transition team and account management teams start by collecting data about your library and end with the order invoice. Our aim is to ensure as smooth and continuous a service as possible.

Most importantly…

“The most important thing a library can do is communicate with their vendor.” Maria Hatfield, VP Integrated Solutions, WT Cox

Communication. Throughout the whole transition process, communication is the number one priority. And ongoing, it’s probably the most important aspect throughout your entire relationship with your vendor. It’s worth spending a bit of time at the start to establish clear expectations on both sides, and to promote a full understanding of your library’s needs and special requirements. If you do this, and ensure you have a sound understanding of the transition plan, you’ll save yourself hours of staff time further down the line.

Get the most bang for your buck!

So, follow these simple steps and get your vendor on board. Streamlining this partnership will save you invaluable time. And it’ll save you money too, if you let your vendor take an active role in the running of your library. Take a look at the services we provide at WT Cox  – and we’re known for our outstanding commitment to serials management. We ensure you get the most bang for your buck!

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