If Guest Experience Were a Hymn

Hymn singing is a ritual in just about every religion on the planet.  It helps a collection of people share a common expression of belief in a manner that is joyful or celebrative.

John Wesley, with his brother Charles, founded what is now the Methodist Church.  In his 1761 book, Select Hymns, he wrote the “Directions for Singing” currently found in the front of most Methodist hymnals. If you substituted the word “Guest Experience” for “singing,” Wesley’s directions would also provide powerful tenants for delivering a remarkable Guest Experience.  And, while churches may refer to their constituents as parishioners, members, or “the congregation,” always remember on the other side of the worshiper’s eyes is the perspective of a customer.

“Sing lustily and with good courageBeware of singing as if you were half dead or half asleep.”  Guests abhor handing their hard-earned funds or limited time to a team member who acts completely indifferent.  When they witness front line members “taking their own sweet time” to respond to a request, it makes them search for other service providers (including churches) who serve “lustily and with good courage.”

“Sing modestly…that you may not destroy the harmony but unite your voices together.”  Remarkable Guest Experiences require teamwork.  If the housekeeper is slow getting hotel rooms ready, the front desk clerks continues to disappoint the guest with “Your room is not quite ready.”  The waiter looks foolish if the chef failed to prepare the meal as described.  In the same way, if the minister makes a promise the staff cannot keep, the disharmony leaves customers disappointed.

“Sing all…let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you.”  Great Guest Experiences are about good closure.  It means ensuring theGuests’ real need is met, not just their request.  It involves ensuring the Guest is pleased with the outcome, not just satisfied with the effort.  And, it takes going the extra mile even when we are tired and ready to go home.

“Above all, sing spiritually.  Aim at pleasing God more than yourself…so the Lord will approve and reward you…” While a religious song has a spiritual goal, the end game for Guest Experience is somewhat similar.  It is not about pleasing yourself; it is about pleasing your those you serve.  Service processes should be designed for the Guest, not for internal convenience.   And, making Guests happy yields the rewards of growth and the pleasure of knowing your team made a difference.

If your Guest Experience were a hymn, would it elevate the spirits of your Guests?  Would it unite the passions of those who “sing” with you?

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Chip Bell

Chip Bell

Chip R. Bell is the author of several best-selling books including his newest: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service. He can be reached at www.chipbell.com.

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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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