If you want your ministry to grow in today's culture, then your GX (Guest eXperience) must be exceptional. . And keep this in mind. People are not just comparing your GX with the church down the street. They are comparing your GX to their GX at the restaurant where they ate yesterday, to the store where they shopped last week and to the phone conversation they recently had with their bank.
How can you improve your GX? Here are some proven ideas that can help.
Rather than pointing to a destination or giving directions, walk people there. Never point. Always walk with them.
Keep your lines short. People hate to wait in line. One of my pet peeves about the GX at Wal-Mart is they often have long check-out lines. What makes it even more frustrating are the 2,000 check out stations that are not even being used. I'm not sure if they build all of the check-out lines with Black Friday in mind? My suggestion is to not build as many check out lines and instead use the money to buy some new shopping carts that don't go "clank, clank clank" when you push them.
Make sure you have enough check-in stations so that people don't have to wait to check-in. And have a separate area for guests to check-in.
Say hello and good by. Have greeters to welcome people as they arrive. But don't stop there. If you want to have exceptional GX, greet people as they are leaving as well. A few months ago, I was visiting one of the fastest growing churches in the country. I was impressed by the friendly greeters they had as I walked into the service. But I was even more impressed by the greeters that were in place after the service to thank me for coming as I exited.
Provide great parking for the people you are trying to reach. Another fast growing church I have visited has prime parking reserved for people who are handicapped. But they also have reserved parking for guests and for parents who have babies or preschoolers.
Stats show that people decide if they are going to return to your church in the first 8 minutes they are on your property. You don't want a guest family to spend 5 of those minutes trying to find a parking spot.
Have your GX exceed their expectations. One way I have done this, is by giving them a personal gift. Here's an example. I was walking a new family to their room. On the way, I asked their son what his favorite candy was. He said "MMs." I also asked him what his favorite sport was. He said, "basketball." After we had helped their son get checked into the classroom and walked the parents to the auditorium, we had an idea.
I jumped in my car and drove to Target. I bought 2 big bags of MM's and a basketball. We put them a gift bag and waited for the service to end. When the boy's parents picked him up, we were waiting in the hallway with the gift bag. We presented the bag to the family and wow! You should have seen their expression. They were blown away.
You can't do that for everyone, but you can do for the few, what you'd like to do for everyone.
Great GX is found on the second mile. It happens when you far exceed people's expectations.
Remember that people will primarily remember how you made them feel. A great GX happens when everyone is cued in to this.
No one person owns the guest. But everyone does own the moment they are with the guest. The guest will add up all of the moments and will decide what their experience was based on all of the interactions they had.
We would often get feedback from our guests to find areas we could improve in. One weekend a guest said we had good GX with our greeters. They also said we explained the safety and security very well.
The only negative thing they mentioned was this - the person at the classroom that checked them in, never smiled one time. This caused the guests to feel like they were bothering her or stressing her out.
This was a prime example of one interaction causing a negative effect on our GX. Needless to say, our next training focused on our attitudes, actions and the vibe we project....and smiling more.
I was sitting with the pastor of one of the largest churches in the country. One of the questions I asked him was how his church did follow-up. I was surprised when he said they don't spend a lot of time or resources on follow-up. Rather, he said they spend the majority of their time in creating irresistible environments. If you meet people's needs and give them a great first GX, they will be back.
The opposite is true when a guest doesn't have a good GX on their first visit. It doesn't matter how many times you follow-up, they are more than likely not going to return, no matter how many times you call them, email them or send them a letter.
So how is your GX? It will improve if you are willing to ask the hard questions, examine everything you are doing and make changes if needed.
A great way to get a examine your GX is to invite someone from the outside to come in and do an evaluation. Someone from the outside can see the blind spots you are missing. They can also work with you to create a strategic plan to make your GX better than it currently is and to remove barriers that are standing in the way.
If you are interested in help for your GX, then I'm here to help. I have over 30 years of experience in leading in churches of all sizes. From churches of 200 to churches of 30,000, I have helped churches across the country and overseas to improve their GX.