Several years ago, I was eating lunch with the Pastor of one of the fastest growing and largest churches in the nation. I was attending a conference at his church and he happened to sit at the same table as me for lunch.
I asked him lots of questions, one of which was this.
"How do you follow up with first-time guests?"
He looked at me and said, "We don't follow up with guests until they sign up for a class or small group or take another next step. Instead, we strive to create irresistible environments that are so good it compels guests to come back."
His strategy made sense to me and it is obviously working as they are reaching and discipling thousands of people each year.
So where does an amazing "customer experience" begin. What is the first step you can take to make your ministry irresistible?
I believe the foundation that great customer experiences are built upon is first and foremost the "feeling" guests leave with.
How do you make guests feel? They won't remember everything they heard in the service or how good the coffee was or how hard or soft the seats were or how cool the next gen environments were.
What they will remember is HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.
That being said, training your team members to really care about your guests and regular families, must be a top priority. As you invest in your team members and model for them what it means to give guests and families a great experience, you will see more return for a second visit.
We've all heard the statement - "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." It's true.
When you develop a team that not only knows how to teach, lead worship, guide a small group, greet at the doors and smile, but also knows how to give guests great feelings, you will see growth.
Developing a team of volunteers who know how to give guests a great experience is essential. They must be empowered and equipped to deliver service that exceeds customers' expectations.
As you train, equip and empower your team members to deliver great costumer experiences, remind them that every interaction contributes to people's overall expectations.
Teach your team this principle...
"No one owns the guests, but you do own the moment you are with them."
Even if guests only interact with your team members for a few minutes, every person they come in contact with makes an impact - positive or negative. Guests will base their experience on the sum total of everyone they come in contact with. Every interaction either contributes or damages their overall experience. Your team members must understand and embrace this (with a good attitude).
Studies show that there is a positive connection between the emotional experience you give guests and their likelihood to return. Feelings matter and are a big factor in guests returning or not.
“The way we make the world a better place is one person at a time,
one interaction at a time, one customer at a time.”
– Marylouise Fitzgibbon
As you bring people on your team, it is essential that you look for people who have a great attitude and a heart for serving others and making them feel important.
"Great service comes from great people. Choose your team members carefully.
Especially those who are on the front lines of interaction with guests."
One way you can evaluate how you are making guests and regular attendees feel is to do a survey. Ask guests and church members to fill out a short survey on their experiences. You can do this free with www.surveymonkey.com.
One Monday morning, I received feedback from a first-time family's experience at our church. They said the registration was quick and smooth. The person who walked them to their child's classroom was friendly and seemed genuinely interested in them. The safety and security process was explained so they could understand it.
All of that was good...the family was feeling good emotionally from their interactions so far. But then they arrived at the classroom door. They said the lady at the classroom door seemed grumpy and didn't even smile at them. She got their child checked in okay....it was just her attitude was sour. And that's what the family remembered about their first visit.
I know what some of you are thinking. Families shouldn't pick a church to attend based on what seems to be "petty" things. But it's the petty little things that add up to give families and guests an overall "score" for their visit.
Here's a couple of things you can do to improve how guests and church families "feel" about the ministry you oversee.
Get feedback on a regular basis. This will help you identify people and processes that are negatively affecting people's feelings. This can lead to some big changes. At times, it takes courage to make the changes, but you must if you are going to see guests return more frequently.
Hire a consultant to help you identify and fix weak areas in your ministry. Having outside eyes come in can help you identify things you can't see for yourself. Blind spots can be brought to light and fixed or adjusted. With over 30 years of experience in small churches and humongous churches, I can help you improve your ministry and help people to start getting great feelings when they visit your church. Here is more information for what I offer with consulting.
My prayer is that when children and families walk in your church doors, they will have a feeling that today is going to be a good day.