Before I go any further, I'd like to state that I'm not advocating for any invasion of privacy, and I understand a library's role in patron privacy. I only want to talk about these interactions as an idea, rather than for practical implementation.
If we were to document the library customer's journey, what would it look like? Many of us have this conversation over and over again - especially in the world of instruction specialists. How are we to guarantee we are delivering effective content over time, when we're only able to offer one-shot sessions? As a business librarian, I would be extraordinarily concerned if a customer's record showed they had checked out several books, but never had a research consultation nor used an e-resource. How many emails does it typically take for a student to schedule a consultation? Do they meet with the same librarian every time, or are they meeting with a different person for each appointment? Are they buying textbooks they could get from the library?
These questions may never be answered. Hypothetically, tracking a user's behavior at a library may not be too difficult. We could see how many times they have scanned into the building, checked out books, attended workshops or accessed the e-resources. Using other University resources, we may even be able to track their GPA's, determine which of them have jobs, and which of them have a record of plagiarism. We could deliver custom solutions to students on academic probation, document more accurately which resources are best fit for certain assignments or course levels, and directly target customers likely to attend (or in need of extra credit) library workshops with direct email marketing.
I think we're able to estimate a customer journey fairly well, once we get some one-on-one interactions with students. I always start my research consultations by asking how familiar they are with library resources, or what they've already done to research this assignment. This immediately contextualizes the individual student's current situation, as well as their past history with our resources and services. While this does not fully capture their entire "journey" - it enables me to adequately help them during a specific interaction. However - I can't help but this we can do better. Formal assessment strategies help us analyze how effective we were in certain circumstances, but a customer journey would give merit to the assessment data, and help us derive better insights from our results.
I would love to see an experimental database marketing strategy conducted with library patrons to see what conclusions could be drawn and creative strategies developed out of the data, but perhaps that is another issue for a future time.