Yes, IM is still a great way for patrons to reach you

I work every Monday night. The business students all know that I work every Monday night, as my hours are posted on my Contact Page, and I tell them in every class I teach when I work. So here is what one Monday night looked like a few weeks ago, between 6:00 and 7:30.

Busy Night on IM

Yep, that’s a lot of IMs. My fingers were going crazy. I was in my office monitoring our general IM/chat reference service, but I also had my own IM open as well. You know what’s funny?  Nearly all of those students were in our group study rooms about 150 feet from my office. They could have just come to my office to ask a question, and actually a few other students did. But these students chose to contact me in a way that worked for them.  Wonder what would happen if I didn’t make myself available via IM?  I would bet that most of those questions would have gone unanswered, and I would have lost a valuable customer.  How are you making yourself available to your patrons?