Workflow | October 04, 2017
It’s National Customer Service Week! Meet long-time EBSCO employee Rebecca Day Tucker, who oversees customer service for the Subscription Services Division in the U.S.
Customer service has been a core value of EBSCO’s since the company was founded almost 75 years ago. To recognize National Customer Service Week, meet long-time employee Rebecca Day Tucker, who oversees customer service for the Subscription Services Division in the U.S. Learn how her different roles at EBSCO have given her a distinct understanding of the subscription services industry and what advice she offers to libraries to help make the renewal process go smoothly.
Tell us about your role at EBSCO. I have been with EBSCO for 20 years, and I am the Director of Customer Service for the United States. My responsibilities include first and foremost making sure that we provide excellent service to our subscription customers by addressing queries in a timely manner, solving problems and essentially serving as an extension of their library staff. In addition, I work with our management team here to identify opportunities to improve our internal workflows so that we can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on customer-facing activities.
What other roles have you had during your tenure at EBSCO? I started out in our Corporate Communications department as a writer and editor. After that, I worked for several years in our Southeast U.S. subscription office and was responsible for working with customers and consortia who were transitioning to e-journal packages. I held this role in the early 2000s when e-journal packages had just come onto the scene and we were all learning together. After that, I spearheaded our worldwide efforts for e-package services — both customer and publisher facing. Most recently, I managed our bids and contracts teams in the U.S. and U.K. And in August, I assumed the position as Director of Customer Service. Each role I’ve had has given me a different perspective on the role of EBSCO and on the serials industry overall. I have opportunities to work directly with customers, publishers and internal EBSCO staff, and all of those experiences have been valuable as I lead our Customer Service team.
What is the biggest industry change you’ve experienced during your tenure at EBSCO? Several major changes have occurred in the industry since 1997, when I started at EBSCO. I am sure many of our customers could recite them with me … the switch from print to electronic, the move to packaged content, libraries transitioning from repositories of physical content to networked spaces with more room for social interaction. On the academic side, I think possibly the biggest change is publisher consolidation; this change has been the driving force behind other more obvious changes. There was a group of key publishers when I began my career, but it was quite diverse; now there are only a handful of publishers that really dominate the academic publishing market. These publishers bring economies of scale to libraries in terms of access to content, but they also drive the purchasing models that are available to libraries and the content that gets purchased.
Rebecca Day Tucker, Director of Customer Service, EBSCO Information Services
For public and school libraries, much of the move to online content has been via databases, so while the number of computers in those libraries have expanded exponentially and access to information has increased, magazine and journal subscriptions have largely still been purchased in print. However, with the advent of digital versions over the past several years, we are seeing more of a shift to electronic formats for those titles. Although I read a digital version occasionally, I also like to flip through a paper magazine. I am curious to see whether digital replaces print at some point for the next generation of readers.
As you are entering the busiest time of the year (renewal time for many customers), what advice would you give customers about how to make the renewal process go smoothly?
Return your renewals early. If there is a delay, let your Customer Service Representative know as soon as possible. If you anticipate major changes (for example, you plan to purchase a new e-journal package), you can let us know that up front even before you return the renewal. And if you need additional information to make renewal decisions and you can’t easily find it in EBSCONET, let us know. Your representative will be glad to help you through the process.
What is one of the most unusual things you’ve experienced from working at EBSCO? Unusual. Hmmm. Well, I am not sure I could identify one “unusual” thing — I have been here so long that the unusual has become usual. I suppose one thing that’s interesting, though, is the number of relationships I’ve developed with EBSCO staff around the world. I consider several of our international team members to be close friends based on our years of working (and occasionally playing) together over the years. On September 11, 2001, we were hosting a meeting of our international customer service and operations managers here in Birmingham; of course, once the terrorist attacks happened, no one could return home. We had several evening gatherings during the time they were “stuck” here in the U.S. Although it was a frightening time in many ways, it gave us all the chance to get to know each other when otherwise we might have only been acquaintances.
Each role I’ve had has given me a different perspective on the role of EBSCO and on the serials industry overall. I have opportunities to work directly with customers, publishers and internal EBSCO staff, and all of those experiences have been valuable as I lead our Customer Service team.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you while working at EBSCO?
I can think of a number of funny things that have happened — some of which might not be fit for print. One thing that comes to mind was very early in my career. I was editing a long article on reporting, and EBSCO was misspelled throughout. I couldn’t believe whoever had written it (a VP, I believe) would make that many mistakes, but I dutifully went through and changed “EBOSC” to “EBSCO” in multiple places. Only after it was printed did I find out “EBOSC” was a report that we offer (the EBSCO Bulletin of Serials Changes) — and not a misspelling after all!
What are two things most people don’t know about you?
I am not that secretive, so I don’t think this list is long. But a couple of things some people may not know are that: 1. I used to be a serious runner. I completed several half marathons and one marathon. I had to give it up due to an injury, and I miss it — completing a long race is quite a thrill, even if you aren’t leading the pack. 2. My husband and I are licensed foster parents. We had one child who stayed with us for a weekend, and our second placement stayed three and a half years! He has just gone back to live with his family in the past few weeks. We miss him, but he is an awesome kid and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to watch him grow up. We’re taking a break before we jump back in — three years+ is a long time!
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