7 Ways to Help Your Church Guests Feel Welcome Without Selling Out

We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing. – Craig Groeschel

I know there are some church leaders who read that quotation from Craig Groeschel and throw up a little in their mouths. They’re convinced that their job is to preach the word and disciple people and not worry about stuff like guests’ experiences at services. In fact, some leaders look down their noses at churches that go out of their way to create environments that unchurched people love to attend. They’re concerned about growing Christ-followers and don’t want to worry about marketing, customer service, communications or similar issues. They just want to preach the word courageously and not concern themselves with pedestrian matters such as how people feel when they come to church.

The problem is that the Scriptures are clear that to worry about the outsider is core to being a follower of Christ. In fact, the entire weight of Scripture is about creating space for people who are outside of the faith to join us. Even in the Old Testament, we see God instructing his people to defer to strangers and make room for them at the table. In an age when faiths were divided along racial and ethnic lines, Jesus presented the crazy notion that anyone from any background can gain access to God through faith in him alone. (What a radical idea!) We see New Testament leaders attempting to live out a faith that created space for a broader community of people … they made space for outsiders.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” – Colossians 4:5 (ESV)

Today, that leaves us to work out what this looks like for our churches. How can we create spaces where people feel welcome at our churches regardless of their spiritual background? What can we do to ensure that unchurched people know they are welcome to our experiences every weekend? How can we do this in a way that doesn’t compromise the core of our experiences, if we’re concerned about that? Here are 7 ways to help unchurched people feel welcome that don’t impact our teaching or music ministries:

  • Create Helpful Signage // Do people know how to find their way around your facility? Can they easily get from their cars to wherever they drop off their kids to their seats in the main auditorium? Most churches I’ve been to don’t have enough signage. They assume people know way too much. Exterior signage lets newcomers know they are in the right place. Interior signage should guide them through the experience while reducing stress.
  • Introduce Platform People // When someone gets up to talk from the platform, make sure they introduce themselves or that someone else does a quick introduction. “Hi, my name is James and I’m one of the pastors around here.” A simple introduction helps unchurched people get a sense of who everyone is and helps them know who they should talk to afterward. When people just get up and start talking or leading without any context, it leaves guests wondering who the person is and why they are talking.
  • Expect Guests // You know that feeling when you go a friend’s house and it feels like they were ready for you? It feels great, right? What about the opposite feeling: when you go over to someone’s house and you get the distinct feeling that they aren’t ready for you? It’s easy to start wondering whether they want you over at all, isn’t it? The same is true when guests visit your church. Even a few things that anticipate guests communicate that you are ready and expecting them. Examples include signs in the parking lot for new guests, a gift ready for them at an information desk, or trained volunteers at the kids’ check-in who know how to handle new guests well.
  • Explain What’s Happening // Every church has some form of ritual or patterns that it follows. If we don’t take a moment to explain them to people, they can be confusing to follow. Don’t assume people understand what is happening or that they know how they should engage. Communion is a particularly thorny one for people … are they supposed to dip not sip or take a gulp and then some bread? Slowing down and giving a brief explanation of what is taking place goes a long way in making sure people feel welcome! Taking time to frame what’s happening in your church during the announcements is also an important part of making guests feel welcome!
  • Give Context to Passages // Many people don’t know the Bible but they want to understand it better … that’s why they are coming to your church! Don’t assume people know anything about the passages that you are talking about; instead, provide a little context. This doesn’t need to be heavy Greek or a never-ending history lesson, just some understanding of where the Bible verses you are talking about fall into the broader narrative. Give some context so people can dig into the content you are presenting.
  • Serve Their Kids Well // When parents come to your church, they usually look at the experience through the eyes of their kids. When you go out of your way to serve their kids, you also serve their parents. Often, kids are nervous when they go into a new space. Make sure your team is ready to receive new kids well. Have activities that can engage kids right away. Guests often arrive earlier than your typical church attendee, so make sure your team is in place in plenty of time to greet guests well. Work hard to make sure the check-in process is smooth, simple and secure. Family ministry is a critical area for churches, so lead this team well.
  • Fix Your Website // 46% of church guests said that a church’s website was important in picking a church to visit. [ref] It really is the front door to your church. Chances are good that your guests will check out your site before they check out your services. Make sure the basic contact information is easy to find, including service times, the location and the phone number to call if people have any questions. Let people know what to expect by answering key questions, such as how long the service will be, what people usually wear and what services are provided for kids. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly so people can use it on their phone or tablet.

Read more from Rich.

 


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Habits Behind a Successful Guest Experience

The most important 2 feet can be found on the front lines of your church’s Guest Services or Hospitality teams:

  1. They belong to the team members who are the “first face” of your church – parking lot crews, greeters, ushers – anyone who is making the first impression with your Guests.
  2. They also represent the space and distance where the words you use and the actions you take make the most powerful impact with your Guest.

The interactions that take place in that space (two feet) by your team member (two feet) are rich with expectations – and can also be filled with missed opportunities. In that space your front-line team members have become the face and voice of your organization. Creating a great Guest Experience comes down to having great people on your front line teams and training them well. Many churches struggle with Guest services. Often the primary barrier is translating the organization’s vision into action at the front line. An article in HBR.org outlined four activities that your church can learn from when it comes to your front line teams. 

  1. Listen to team members. Want your team to take great care of your Guest? Start by taking great care of them.
  2. Hire for attitude, not aptitude — and then reinforce attitude. To get friendly service, enlist friendly people. Having selected people with the right attitudes, leaders need to ensure they reinforce the behaviors they want to see.
  3. Give people purpose, not rules. Rules have their place, but they go only so far. When people are given clear expectations and trusted to do their jobs, they feel valued and empowered. They choose to go that extra mile through passion, not compliance.
  4. Tap into the creativity of your front line. Giving frontline team members responsibility and autonomy inspires them to do whatever they can to improve the Guest experience. When they see a problem, they fix it without waiting to be asked.

Engaging with Guests is primarily through personal contact, and that starts on the front lines with your team. The care and energy your teams use to connect with Guests reflect the care and energy you as a leader use to connect with your team.

A release of our SUMS free book summaries spoke directly to this topic. Judgment on the Front Line by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy outlines how front-line team members can be one of your greatest assets and shows how to tap their rich vein of insight and leadership. Download a copy of this free summary here.

Sums2-7Judgment

 How your front line teams represent your church – what they do (or don’t do), what they say (or don’t say) – that’s the powerful human “first impression” your Guest is experiencing – and will remember.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Best of all, he is a front-line practitioner at Elevation Church, serving in various roles at the Uptown and Lake Norman Campuses. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experience Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 38 years. They have 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

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COMMENTS

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Joel Sprenger — 07/12/14 12:08 pm

Remember that Churches are different from businesses. More important in a church setting than the staff being friendly and welcoming is if the church people themselves are friendly and welcoming. It is a difficult thing to teach. It is difficult enough to teach Christians to give a percentage of their wealth to God, teaching Christians to give a percentage of their lives to God by being friendly towards and friends with people who will never have any network value is even more difficult.

Tere Jackson — 02/08/14 4:04 pm

Yes! In 2013 Houston Methodist West Hospital Ambulatory Surgery Patient Satisfaction Scores ranked above superior in all quarters. This has placed our hospital Outpatient Surgery Department in the top 10th percentile nationally!!! Our staff and front line volunteers live the ICARE values providing a positive Methodist Experience and personalized care for our patients! I believe in the 4 habits of a successful Guest Experience!

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
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— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

8 Tools to Help Get Everyone on the Same Guest Experience Page

– a note from the Vision Room Curator: During August we are focusing on Guest Experience in churches, but some of the most powerful learning for churches can occur by reading about customer service – all you have to do is substitute the word “Guest” every time you see “customer.” The following content was graciously supplied by Annette Franz, a customer experience expert. Enjoy!

How do we ensure that everyone in the organization is on the same page when it comes to customer experience? 

My latest post has me thinking about a quote I stumbled upon the other day from Edmund Wilson:  

No two persons ever read the same book.

Wow! Isn’t that the truth.

Think about books you’ve read; think about books you’ve discussed, either back in school or with friends or colleagues. I’m pretty sure you all came away with different lessons, interpretations, and favorite characters. You probably loved it, while someone else hated it. You might have been bored with it after two chapters, while others totally related to it. Never mind books… think about conversations you’ve had. Were they all interpreted the same way by every party involved?

How does this apply to customer experience?

It got me thinking about customer-centricity and getting the organization focused on the customer. How do we get everyone on the same page? How do we ensure that everyone is reading the same book?

A few tools you can use within your organization include:

Employee CX Assessment: I wrote about this last month. Use it to find out what employees know about the customer and the customer experience? Then use the results to better frame our training efforts and to provide other (the right) tools needed to ensure employees have a clear line of sight to customers and are equipped to deliver the experience we need (and customers want) them to deliver.

CX Vision: Your customer experience vision will be inspirational and aspirational; it will outline what you see as the future state of the customer experience. It will briefly describe the experience you plan to deliver. And it will serve as a guide to help choose future courses of action. It should align with your corporate vision.

Corporate Vision: An inspirational and aspirational statement, your vision not only outlines what the company is trying to achieve near-term and long-term but also guides decision-making processes and your subsequent, resultant course of action. Presumably, your vision will (a) draw the line between what you’re doing and for whom you’re doing it and (b) create alignment within the organization.

Brand Promise: A brand promise is the expectation you set with your customers; it’s a promise you make to your customers. Everything you and your employees do should reflect this promise. Consistently. It’s a combination of the brand purpose and the reality of what the brand can deliver. In most cases, defines the benefits a customer can expect to receive when experiencing your brand at every touch point.

Core Values: Your core values are guiding principles for your employees; they outline which behaviors and actions are right and which are wrong, both for your employees and toward your customers. Everything you do must be aligned with your values, and they should be integrated into everything you do.

Purpose: It’s your reason for being, your Why. Customers buy from brands with which they align; similarly, employees want to work for companies with which they are aligned. Make sure everyone in the organization understands your Why.

Journey Maps: A journey map is the ultimate tool to help everyone understand the customer and his experience, to walk in his shoes. Journey maps also connect employees to how they contribute to – and impact – the customer experience.

Personas: Personas help put the experience in the customer’s perspective and make you think about the customer as a “real human.” They help everyone understand the customer and keep people from forming their own opinions about who the customer really is.

What other tools have you used to get everyone on the same page when it comes to customer experience?

If you feel like you’re not on the same page as me, maybe it’s time to change the story. – Unknown

> Read more from Annette.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Franz

Annette Franz

Annette Franz is Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer, of course!) of CX Journey Inc. She has 25 years of experience helping companies understand their customers and employees and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience. She is active in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), as: an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, a CX Mentor, and a SoCal Local Networking Lead. Annette is also a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP).

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What Would It Take to Elevate the Dignity of Each Guest in Your Church?

The guest that enters our church should feel welcomed, comfortable, and honored.

I am obsessed with exploring the answer to one question: What would it take to elevate the dignity of each guest in our church? 

I attended a Guest Services Conference this week, and also had the opportunity to speak during a session to the group of influencers. I asked everyone one question, “What would it take to elevate the dignity of each guest in our churches?” To better set the stage, we watched this funny video of Target lady from SNL on how not to elevate the dignity of each guest.

I believe the answer to the above question is discovered when we unearth and respond to eight subsequent questions.

Question 1: Do we allow our interactions with a team member and guest to remain active in front of the backdrop of hospitality?

From a sociological perspective, hospitality was the bedrock of the Middle Eastern culture because only by caring for others could societies, or even individuals, guarantee their survival.The harsh, arid climate, coupled with the nomadic lifestyle of the region’s early residents, made kindness towards guests an imperative. To deny a traveler hospitality – whether it be someone familiar to you or someone completely unknown – was to deny them life. Like any society, a mutual understanding arose that those who were in need could find relief at any house, and would repay the kindness whenever a stranger or guest came knocking at their door. Hospitality found its cultural staying power in the exchange of mutual survival, the willingness to see the value in another life because your life is bound to it, even if not obviously so.

From a theological perspective, the first acts of hospitality were not from human to human – they were from God to man via creation and His grace in the aftermath of the Fall. The specificity of the universe, its fine-tuning and precision, are the first and most excellent examples of creating an environment for guests that makes them feel at home and frees them to interact with God. In the Fall, we see God’s graciousness (which is the root of all hospitality – the extension of grace to the weak) in the fact that he provided clothes to cover their nakedness and a closing off of the Tree of Life to ensure that mankind wouldn’t die in sin. The implications of both of these acts formed a clear through-line for Semitic culture and history: human life is precious, and must be cared for and shown grace. This belief was codified in the Mosaic Law with its statutes on how to treat strangers and sojourners among the Nation of Israel.

Romans 12:13…’practice hospitality’ is included in the list of qualities of a Christ follower. These two words mean one who goes after someone unfamiliar with an environment. You pursue them as if you were pursuing a criminal or enemy. However, you are doing it because you have a love for the stranger.”

Question 2: Are the feelings we have for a guest coming in reflected in how they feel about us when they leave?

“Yes. The Image of God is not selective; it does not appear in some people and disappear in others. All human beings bear the Image and thus have the ability to be moved by displays of the Image in another person. Human beings are wired for goodness—and the best way to draw goodness out is pour goodness in. We see this image most fully in the person of Jesus Christ and in his interactions during his ministry. If you consider how Jesus treated the marginalized, sick, and lost, you see he brought people to faith not by doctrinal savvy but by touch, compassion, and kindness. Jesus brought out the good in people by extending goodness to them—he resurrected the image of God by deliberately appealing to it in his work.”

Question 3: Does our church culture provide freedom for team members to make quick decisions that create a better experience for the guest?

“Is caring for people assigned to a specific team (i.e., Guest Services) or is it the responsibility of everyone regardless of an ‘official’ role – staff and volunteers. The church that has the guest as the priority in its DNA empowers volunteers to make quick decisions to care for the guest. This is seen and felt from the top down.

Think of a something being widespread versus isolated. If something is widespread, everyone in the midst feels it. When something is isolated, only a few are involved and feel the impact.”

Question 4: Do we empathetically prioritize the guest enough to naturally go the second and third mile?

“Do we prioritize the guest so much that it becomes our DNA to never think of going the extra mile as the exception? Rather, we gladly go as many miles as it takes to deliver a feeling of comfort and care. This becomes the expectation and norm.

Our view of three words influence our response to this question:

1. Hospitality – focus is on the guest and the feeling being delivered

2. Service – focus is only on the actions

3. Entertain – focus is on you, the experience provider”

Question 5: Do we break the big picture down into scenes that are more manageable and yield a better guest experience?

“Designing an end-to-end experience can be overwhelming. Writers, directors, and producers, don’t write and shoot everything in one scene. They break it down into manageable and individual scenes and then thread them together. Start small and then thread it together. Your experience will be better!”

Question 6: Do we discipline ourselves and help our team members to be fully present?

“Jesus came into a house. Martha was busy doing and Mary was fully present with the person who mattered. One was caught up in doing everything but hosting the person. Jesus said what Mary was doing was better.

When we choose to be fully present, we are telling the guest that we value them above everything, even all that must get done.”

Question 7: Do we lead in such a way that our team members feel empowered to show care in ways that the guest has a story to tell later?

“Every guest drives on our properties and walks into our buildings with a story that involves a number of characters, mountaintop moments, tragedies, and baggage. Perhaps they have even had a bad church experience in their past. When we posture ourselves to be sensitive to the person driving on our property or walking in our building, we are better prepared to listen and respond.

The main person in the story is not the church. It is not the team member. It is the guest and they should feel that from us. We can influence their experience with us so that they have a story to tell later. We are influencing environments where life change happens.”

Question 8: Do we focus on brokering an experience for the guest in order to protect them?  

“A bodyguard shields the person they are responsible for guarding. We are trusted with protecting each guest from any feeling that might be a distraction in their experience with us. We have the opportunity to replace an insecurity or negative emotion they have with a positive emotion.”

> Read more from Jason.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Young

Jason Young

I love growing leaders, building volunteer teams, designing guest experiences and being strategic about how they intersect. I am the Director of Guest Services for North Point Ministries. You can also find me helping organizations and churches. I have worked with Ford, LifeChurch.tv, LifeWay, Growing Leaders, PossibleNOW, The Fellowship, WinShape, Loganville Christian Academy, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Chick-fil-A, Catalyst and others. I have fun reading, watching movies, hiking, and visiting Disney World. I live in Atlanta, GA.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Use These 3 Ps to Deliver Guest Experience Magic

Guest Experience Magic may be defined as:

  • An unexpected experience with a touch of style, grace, and imagination the Guest remembers with fondness and a smile.
  • Creating an unexpected, unpredictable, and valuable experience that is both memorable and reproducible.

Today’s Guests are often surrounded by lackluster, mediocre service in every industry. How can you win their attention, admiration, and loyalty?

By using the magic of amazement, delight, and enchantment to create a Guest experience that soars far beyond their highest expectations.

Customer Service wizards Ron Zemke and Chip Bell share their powerful bag of tricks in their book Service Magic. Subtitled “The Art of Amazing Your Customers,” it delivers a powerful bag of tricks to help you add zest, memorability, and value to your customers’ experience in ways they would never expect.

For leaders in ChurchWorld, the translation from customer experience to Guest Experience is an important one – starting with your mindset. You may not think you have “customers” in the traditional mindset – and you don’t. But you do have Guests coming to your church (hopefully!) and they, like you, live in consumer-driven world.

Why not study and learn from some of the best minds and practitioners from the customer experience world, and translate them into Guest Experience practices for your church?

Take Service Magic, for instance.

There is a feeling of awe, wonder, pleasure and delight in Service Magic. When it is present, the customer perceives that something special and unique has been done to, for, or with him or her. It can come from a word spoken, an experience observed, a process experienced, or the context in which the service occurred.

There is magic in Place, Process, and Performance – and all three are available to the skilled service magician and the organization determined to create consistent Service Magic for its Guests.

  • Place Magic: a venue – natural or manmade – with physical attributes that attracts and pleases, and that are subtly enhanced by human endeavor. We vacation at national parks to enjoy the great out-of-doors and visit theme parks for fun and thrills. We remember most of the great views and the rides, but without a little Service Magic, those pleasures would be greatly diminished.

ChurchWorld Application

You meet in a facility – owned or rented – that conveys a powerful impression to your Guests. What does your facility “say”? What are you doing on a regular basis to evaluate your place? What plan do you follow to make sure your place is the best it can be? Does your place invite people to come in – or does it turn people off, or even away? Do you have a plan of constant evaluation and upkeep? How “fresh” are your interiors and exteriors? Does your place fit into your community or does it stand out?

  • Process Magic: the often thankless, almost always invisible effort that makes the difference between policies, procedures, and routines that are difficult, confusing, maddening, and frustrating – and those we experience as surprisingly easy, positive, and memorable. No waiting where once lines were long; sign-ins, sign-ups, and renewals that are hassle-free and even interesting – if not fun – are the result of a little well placed Process Magic.

ChurchWorld Application

Your Guests should experience an invisible, seamless flow of actions from their first contact with you all the way through a worship experience and back again. The processes behind that invisible, seamless flow are probably complicated and maybe even confusing. What are you doing to regularly evaluate and change the process behind the curtains? Do you know what Guests experience when they come to your church? Are you using and speaking with a “churchy” language or do you make things simple to understand and follow?

  • Performance Magic: the surprisingly positive interaction with someone from an organization during the acquisition of a service or a product – or even when a problem with a product or service is being resolved. The wait staff who makes the dining experience “work” for you by correctly reading your mood and engaging you in light-hearted banter or by leaving you alone to your solitude are card-carrying, practicing, professional service magicians.

ChurchWorld Application

When it comes down to it, your front-line teams: parking, greeters, ushers, etc. – make the first and most powerful impact on your Guests. Their actions often dictate whether or not a Guest will return – even before, and often no matter what, the worship experience. When was the last time you ventured out to the front lines to observe? How often do your teams receive training – and encouragement? How high are the expectations for your front-line teams?

Each of these three “magics” is powered by a set of principles – which you can learn more about here.

> Read more from Bob.


 

Want to know more about Guest Experiences in your church? Start a conversation with our team. We’re glad to offer our input. Your vision is at stake, so let’s talk.

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Best of all, he is a front-line practitioner at Elevation Church, serving in various roles at the Uptown and Lake Norman Campuses. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experience Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 38 years. They have 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Make Your Guest’s Experience Purposeful

– a note from the Vision Room Curator: During August we are focusing on Guest Experience in churches, but some of the most powerful learning for churches can occur by reading about customer service – all you have to do is substitute the word “Guest” every time you see “customer.” The following content was graciously supplied by Shep Hyken, a customer service and experience expert. Enjoy!

The customer experience shouldn’t happen by accident. It should be planned and thought out well in advance of the success you hope to have with your customers.

I recently had a conversation with someone who helped focus my long term strategic plans. We talked about the success I had in the past and what I hoped would be continued success in the future. I am very goal-oriented and shared my goals for the upcoming quarter, for the year, and even for ten years. These included the number of speaking engagements I wanted to do, the number of training dates our trainers would book, the growth in our online university and more. While she seemed impressed, she asked me how I planned to make those goals a reality. I told her what had been successful in the past, and how it should continue to take me into the future. 

Her response took me by surprise. She informed me that I had been successful by accident. While I had my goals, the detail about how I planned to achieve these goals was minimal. 



That made me think about how many organizations go about delivering great customer service. In effect, they do it by accident.

They hire good people and hope they will deliver based on their past experience. Some companies take it a step further and have some training. Still they are just hoping to achieve what the customer would consider to be a great customer service experience.

Customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It starts with hiring the right people and training them, but that still may not be enough. The best companies don’t take a chance. They actually design the experience. So here are a few steps in the process to help you move from accidental to purposeful amazing customer service.

  1. Already mentioned is hiring and training. By the way, training should be ongoing – not a one-time thing. Training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do. It doesn’t always have to be a big training session. If you have a weekly meeting, take several minutes to highlight customer service and share a tip.
  2. Create the customer journey map. This is plotting out all of the touch-pointsthat the customer has with your organization. This shows the obvious places where the customer can form an impression, and where the opportunities are to make that impression a Moment of Magic®.
  3. When you are looking at the journey map, determine what goes on behind the scenes that drives the experience at any particular touch-point. For example, a server at a restaurant may take the customer’s order and five minutes later come back with the food. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to ensure that food comes out in a timely manner and is prepared the way it is meant to be. What are the friction points that could hurt the front line touch-point? How can they be mitigated or even eliminated? What can you do to enhance or make the frontline touch-point better?
  4. Train people on how to deal with mistakes and complaints. It’s not a matter of if you will ever have one of these Moments of Misery™, it’s when. The best companies make mistakes and have complaints, but they have trained their people and have a system that turns that Moment of Misery™ into a Moment of Magic®.

Don’t rely on chance or luck to make you successful. Be purposeful. Plan with detail.

A long term successful customer service initiative doesn’t happen by accident. 


Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken – www.Hyken.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For more information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.Hyken.com.

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