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10 Keys to Providing Excellent Customer Service

This weekend, a new family will walk into your church. The customer service they receive will determine if they return or not. Here are 10 keys that can help your ministry provide excellent customer service.

1. Always walk...never point. Ever had this happen? You are in a new place where you don't know where to go. You find an employee and ask them how to get to the place you are looking for. They begin giving you directions.

"Go three aisles over. Take a left. Walk down that aisle until it ends. Go to the middle of that aisle and look on the 3rd shelf. It will be there."

If you're like me, they lost me on the "take a left" step.

Excellent customer service doesn't give directions. Excellent customer service personally walks people to what they are looking for.

2. Realize that everyone owns their moment. Every person who comes in contact with a guest leaves an impression. This means your costumer service experience is equivalent to all of the connections a guest makes when they are interacting with your team. It's crucial to help your weakest links in the chain grow and personally be responsible for their interactions with guests.

3. Instead of saying "I don't know" say "That's a great question. Let me find out for you." Don't you hate when you ask an employee for assistance and they respond by saying "I don't know." And with that statement they leave you hanging.

Great customer service doesn't take the "easy" approach and leave people hanging. Rather it finds the answer and helps the costumer.

4. Smile. Smile. Smile. The attitude that is displayed speaks volumes without saying a word.

5. Short wait times. People hate to wait in line. Monitor the wait times for check-in, check-out, first-time guest sign-in, event registration, etc.

6. Go the second mile. The goal is to exceed your guests' expectations. Do this and you will gain a lifelong fan.

Here's an example. One weekend we had a new family check-in. As we walked him to the classroom, we found out he loved to play basketball and liked M&M's.

We decided to go the second mile to bless this family. So we jumped in the car, drove to Target, bought a basketball and a big bag of M&M's. When the parents came to pick him up, we gave them a bag that contained the basketball and the M&M's. Needless to say, they were surprised that we had gone to that amount of "trouble" just for them.

The second mile is where extraordinary customer service happens. The second mile is where you set yourself apart as a place that provides excellence customer service.

7. Care. Really care. People can tell if you really care about them. And they can tell if you don't care about them.

Have you ever been to a place of business where they didn't care about you or what you needed help with? They make you feel like you are "bothering" them. That type of vibe will cause people to not return.

Excellent customer service is grounded in truly caring about people and how you can serve them.

8. Listen. Listen. Listen. People want to be heard. As they talk and share with you, show them you really want to know them better by listening. Ask questions about them and then listen. When they are upset, listen to them. When they don't understand a policy or procedure, listen to them. When they make suggestions, listen to them.

9. Resolve issues quickly. When an issue arises, resolve it as quickly as possible. It's not enjoyable to be passed around from leader to leader when you are trying to get resolution. Empower team members to make decisions rather than having to pass people around.

10. Know what's happening. It's obviously important to know what is happening in your area of ministry. But if you want to provide excellent customer service, you will know what is happening in other ministry areas in the church as well. This can be accomplished by providing key volunteers with the information they need to be in the know. Give them a card that contains a list of all the events, programs, classes, etc. that are happening that day / week. This will enable them to give proper information instead of having to say, "I don't know...that's not my area." We know this...people decide on their first visit if they are going to return or not. If you can provide excellent customer service, it greatly enhances the chance that they will return.

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