Operating 23 public libraries across two London boroughs means Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) knows the importance of keeping things simple. An easy online payment system for customers’ overdue charges and fees helps achieve this, which is why the team at GLL implemented the ePayments module for ESS’s library management system (LMS).
As a charitable social enterprise with a 22-year track record in public services, GLL wanted its libraries to offer an excellent service to customers. GLL already offered an online payment system for its library users, a service which few public libraries provide, but it was rather unwieldy and in need of an overhaul. The opportunity to move to a much more efficient ePayment system came when GLL moved to ESS's LMS.
Daniel Andrews, deputy head of libraries at GLL, explains, “We evaluated the library systems on the market and discovered that the ePayments module within ESS's LMS was one of the ways it could help us deliver a much-improved customer experience and ensure our library users could make payments when and where they wanted.”
When the LMS went live across GLL’s Wandsworth libraries, ESS integrated their ePayments module and it went live simultaneously. The ePayments module is linked to GLL’s online catalogue and allows customers to access details regarding their accounts, see any outstanding fees and gives them the option to pay immediately online.
As a result, customers can now settle their overdue charges and reservation fees quickly and simply, without being restricted by library opening hours.
Simplifying online payments
GLL is already experiencing the benefits of the new online payments system. “Previously, our online payments had gone through the council, and the onus was onus to reclaim the funds,” says Daniel. “Now, the money is paid straight through to our organisation, which is much simpler and better for our audit trail.”
Following the success of the ePayments module at Wandsworth, online payments have been rolled out in the Borough of Greenwich as well.
The new approach is better for GLL’s library users. “Our old system was credit based,” explains Daniel. “Customers used to manually place money on an account, which was available if they had a charge or a fee to pay. “ESS's ePayments module makes it easy for customers to pay their overdue charges and library fees online, quickly and simply, wherever and whenever needed. They simply log on to their account to pay for all their necessary items in one go. It is a much more sensible, straightforward and customerfriendly system.”
The new payments system has been straightforward to set up, according to Daniel. “We work very well with ESS. They are always ready to move things forward and we went live earlier than expected.”
Daniel is pleased with the level of support he receives too. “We don’t need support on a regular basis, but if there is ever an issue, ESS gets things sorted for us quickly. The team are very approachable.”
Getting priorities right
GLL has achieved considerable efficiencies thanks to the ePayments module, and this helps them achieve their overall aim of improved customer service, according to Daniel. “ESS's ePayments module has enabled us to deliver the improved customer experience that we were aiming for.”