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Customer Satisfaction Surveys

The British Library Customer Services team is constantly looking for new ways to ensure our services meet the changing needs of all our customers. Last year we embarked on a Continuous Improvement Programme. A major part of this programme is to focus on 'delighting our customers'. By this we mean to ensure we are delivering a service that not only meets expectations but goes beyond them.

In order to establish a ‘measure of success’ we designed a new system of grasping the ‘voice of the customer’ and launched a programme of Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

We are currently contacting a random selection of Document Supply customers directly each month. Customers are asked a selection of questions to gauge how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with our services and how important those services are to them.

The results of these surveys will be used to feedback to service providers and stimulate improvement activities that will close the gap between the current situation and our customers’ ideal scenario.

Below we outline areas of concern gathered from feedback and the actions we are taking to address these.

If you have any questions or comments with regards to our customer surveys please email


Summary of Customer Feedback December 2010 to March 2011






Asbestos problems are delaying delivery times

Access to some of the collection items held at the Library's Boston Spa site has been restricted following the discovery of small traces of asbestos in some areas. This has impacted on delivery times.

Although some areas of the Boston Spa site remain closed, leading to unavailability of items, a major programme of asbestos removal and management has been ongoing since February. Our priority has been to get the higher use collection items back in service as quickly as possible.

The cleaning of 11.5km of the most heavily used current serials stock (1985-present), which accounts for 55% of the affected document supply orders, will be completed by the end of May. Work on cleaning the current monographs stock, the next most heavily used content, will start in June. The bulk of the programme is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, although some low use items will continue to be affected into next year.

As an interim solution, we have introduced a number of initiatives to complete customer orders from alternative sources - in particular fulfilling requests from e-journal resources where licences for document supply are held, and making greater use of duplicates in our London stock. 

We are making every effort to make stock from the affected areas available again as soon as possible.

It would be nice if articles could be supplied in PDF format


Our Copyright licensing agreements demand that the electronic documents we supply are encrypted to protect against unauthorised printing. A Digital Rights Management tool (DRM) is used to apply this encryption. This prevents us from supplying documents as a simple PDF.

If your organisation holds a current CLA Digital Pharmaceutical Licence or CLA HE Photocopy and Scanning Licence, the British Library can supply electronic documents with no DRM through this service.

We would like to know from the catalogue if items are available or not


Unfortunately we do not currently have a circulation control system in place that allows customers to view the availability of items.

Our new Document Supply search and order platform to be launched in Autumn 2011 will give real time detail of item availability.








One customer said that they always found our services good and our staff knowledgeable and helpful.

Another customer thought that the service they received was generally of high quality

Another customer said that they couldn’t provide the service that they do to their customers without the BL


Electronic Delivery


One customer felt that their experience of using the BL had improved since they started using electronic delivery


Customer Services Staff


Another customer found  that Customer Service staff are always friendly and patient



Summary of Previous Customer Feedback