4 Simple Steps for Exponentially Better Guest Experience

What would it look like if this coming Sunday morning, your church’s entire Guest Services Ministry Team didn’t show? Imagine no neon-vested minions directing traffic or over-caffeinated greeters guiding guests. I wonder if the scene might border on apocalyptic, with panicked pastors pacing the hallways, pandemonium in the parking lot and zombie-eyed parents with kids in tow left to fend for themselves?

What if you were forced to rely solely upon your facility’s design to guide each guest?

Think about it: could every visitor flawlessly navigate an entire Sunday morning experience intuitively or would the self-guided experience result in a blundered debacle? And what happens to those people, often first-timers, who want to navigate your building on their own and manage to skillfully evade your welcome team each week? You know it happens.

Here’s the cold hard truth: if newcomers are unable to intuitively navigate your facility, it indicates you’ve got a huge design problem on your hands. Because good design always makes usability more intuitive. And intuitive environments empower great guest experiences.

Often, churches use their guest services ministry as a duct tape to patch the holes of defective design. It’s true– your building may need a complete overhaul. But maybe you could begin to curate a better guest experience now by making your building a little more intuitive.

HERE ARE FOUR OF THE MOST BASIC RULES TO CURATING A MORE INTUITIVE GUEST EXPERIENCE:
1. POINT THE WAY

Thoughtful “way-finding” and quality signage is absolutely the best way to curate a more intuitive experience. Clear and strategic directional signs that guide and move people through ministry environments will empower guests to take control of their own spiritual experience from day one.

Guest Experience
Eastside Christian Church – Anaheim, CA

Keep in mind that “way-finding” doesn’t always demand a huge ugly directional sign mounted to the wall. Sometimes, the best label is a strong branded space that intuitively directs your guests. For example, your main entry door should be unmistakable – no sign required. Four-year-olds should intuitively know where they belong and be naturally drawn to your kids’ environment.

Guest Experience
Eastside Christian Church – Anaheim, CA
2. SIMPLIFY THE OPTIONS

Some of the best apps on your phone only contain 2-4 buttons on your screen at a time. The app may organize the library of a billion songs, yet there are still only 2-4 choices available. Simplicity is what makes complexity usable.

The parking lot is a great place to begin thinking about simplifying the user’s options. Add a dozen orange cones to reduce a driver’s turn choices and forge a unified traffic flow (and for the record, the need of traffic cones could indicates poor parking design).

Guest Experience
Calvary Baptist Church – St College, PA
3. DEVELOP MINISTRY DISTRICTS

Another way to simplify complexity is to consolidate what you have. Think about it, grocery stores group all of the dairy, meat and bread into their own individual districts. It’s what makes finding hamburger so intuitive. Home improvement stores have both plumbing and painting districts. It’s even likely that your socks and jeans don’t live in the same dresser drawer but have their own “districts.”

If you want to make your building more intuitive, then your ministries should also be grouped into similar districts throughout your building. For example, children should all be together in their own secure district that is visually differentiated from all the other parts of the building. Additionally, there should be a youth district, worship district, admin district and connecting space.

Guest Experience
Calvary Baptist Church – St College, PA
4. FAVOR CLARITY OVER CREATIVITY

Guests crave simplicity and clarity. So, for heaven’s sake, make sure the names of your environments actually describe what they are. As a guest, I just want to know where the coffee is and where to drop off my kids. So when you use the greek word for “coffee” to name coffee corner or some creative nonsensical jib jab to brand your kids check-in, it’s not helpful (even though it may be super creative).

Guest Experience
Bayside Church – Roseville, CA

Know where to get creative and where to use common sense design patterns. And when it comes to creating intuitive spaces, always favor clarity over creativity.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Milam

Dave Milam

Dave Milam is a visioneer, strategist and visual storyteller whose right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect in a uniquely immersive way. As a member of the Visioneering Studios team, Dave equips leaders by leveraging art and science to launch inspired vision into reality.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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