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 Experiences Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 35 years. They have 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

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!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

A 5-Step Process for Investing in Your Front Line Team Members

I recently facilitated in a 3-day gathering of Guest Experience leaders from 15 of the largest churches in the U.S. There were many differences in our group when it comes to Guest Experience practices, but a common thread soon developed: the critical importance of the front-line volunteers.

One of the resources we discussed was a book by Chris DeRose and Noel Tichy entitled Judgment on the Front Line. During a study of some of the leading companies in the country, the authors developed a set of principles for moving well beyond the basics of customer (guest) service by putting power, resources and trust in the hands of front line personnel. By doing so, these companies have enabled their employees to more rapidly address customer problems, anticipate unarticulated needs and drive customer-facing innovation.

DeRose and Tichy discuss their findings in an article on HBR.org; here is an excerpt outlining an important process for church leaders to use when investing in their front line team members:

> Step 1: Get Started: Connect the front line to the customer strategy. Senior leaders need to help match their customer promise to the capabilities of the front line while listening closely so they can help align the culture, training, work processes and reward systems.

> Step 2: Empower Your Workforce: Teach people to think for themselves. Employees at every level need to understand the customer strategy and they also need simple problem solving frameworks that are used throughout the organization to promote cross-hierarchical dialogue.

> Step 3: Experiment to Implement: Grant front line workers latitude to experiment. Teaching front line leaders the basics for designing simple experiments enables organizations to test many more ideas than could ever be orchestrated centrally.

> Step 4: Eliminate the Barriers: Break down the hierarchy. Freeing front line capacity requires frequent, diligent effort to eliminate decision processes or administrative work that gets in the way of enabling the front line to expeditiously serve customers.

> Step 5: Invest in Your Frontline: Put budget behind it. Too often, companies reserve big budgets for senior management training while spreading funding thin for front line personnel. Similarly, too many companies are content to hire front line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.

Delivering a great Guest experience is a fundamental that every organization needs to practice, and organizations that excel in this area focus on how to get the most from their front line. As organizations reconsider how their team members interact with customers, they will be challenged to move beyond just rhetoric.

If they are truly serious about turning their people into their greatest asset, they’ll invest in the front line.

Read the full article from HBR here.

Download our SUMS summary of Judgment on the Front Line here.

Want to know about Guest Experiences in your church? Contact me for more information.

 

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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 Experiences Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 35 years. They have 4 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Better Listening Can Improve Your Conversations and Your Leadership

For a leader, listening is perhaps the most important skill of all. As a leader, we must learn to listen while navigating along with the person speaking toward a common destination – mutual understanding.

Whether your talents are in sales, systems engineering, administration, technical support, or leadership, listening to connect with others – requires a new and powerful form of deep listening.

When having a conversation you can improve your precision listening skills by asking questions that will help you gain more insight from the speaker. By intentionally navigating through a conversation, we can move from making assumptions to gaining clarification of meaning and intent – and it happens by asking the right questions.

Judith Glaser, CEO of the Benchmarking Institution and Chair of the Creating WE Institute, has developed examples of these navigational-listening questions that will guide your next important conversation.

You can download these questions along with other practical helps for your next conversation here.

Downloadicon1

 

A recent release of our SUMS free book summaries also spoke directly to this topic.

Conversational Intelligence, also by Judith Glaser, advances the theory that the key to success in life and business is to become a master at “Conversational Intelligence.” It’s not about how smart you are, but how open you are to learn new and effective powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success.

Download a copy of this free summary here.

SUMS_ConversationalIntelligence

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judith Glaser

Judith Glaser

Judith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications and the chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of six books, including Creating WE (Platinum Press, 2005) and Conversational Intelligence (BiblioMotion, 2013), and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Steps in Preparing a Powerful Presentation

The talks I give usually take me a comfortable 45 minutes but in a recent TED talk I needed to get the insights out in 18 minutes. The culling process forces you to convey only the most important information for spreading your idea. The amount of rehearsal time is inversely proportionate to the length of the talk. The shorter the talk, the longer the rehearsal time. In this case, for an 18-minute talk, we took approximately 18 hours to rehearse. An hour a minute? That’s probably fair for someone who’s a professional presenter like me. A less seasoned speaker may need more!

These 18-minute talks are hard to do. It’s easier to blather on for an hour than talk for a tight 18 minutes knowing that if you go over, you (literally) will get the hook.

I delivered one talk at TEDxEast and was thrilled to look up at the clock just as it was ticking down with :06 seconds left on the clock. Victory! Then, I delivered a similar talk at the INK conference in India but was restricted to 15 minutes. Even though I practiced like mad and timed it to a perfect 14 and a half minutes, I was medicated for a severe chest cold and my time somehow spread and I got the dreaded “hook” because I ran one minute over, but would have run two minutes over if I hadn’t had tip #10 in place.

Here are the ten steps I went through in rehearsing for my talks.

1. Print your current slide deck as 9-up handouts. The 9-up format is conveniently the same size as the smallest sticky note. I arranged and re-arranged my message and added sticky notes until I was happy with the flow. I also made sure I cut at least half the slides I use for my 40 minute talk.

 

I trimmed and trimmed and trimmed until I felt like it was close to 18 minutes. During this process it became clear to me that my big idea could be communicated much more effectively than it had been.

2. Solicit feedback. Assemble a handful of people you trust to give honest feedback on your mini little sticky note slide deck. Verbally run the ideas by these folks (doesn’t have to be a formal presentation.) The purpose for having them look at all the slides at once is you want feedback on the “whole”, not the parts. Have them give you feedback on the content you’ve chosen and whether they think it will resonate with the TED audience. I did this four times–twice each with my ExComm Manager and twice with my company President. After they added their insights, I was ready to have the slides digitally produced.

3. Rehearse with a great (honest) communicator. In my case, I rehearsed with my ExComm Manager. She is very good at rehearsing me and became a trusted coach. She would say “When you say it that way, it can be interpreted differently than you intended”, “When you use that term, you come across derogatory”, “I thought that when you said it last time it was better, you said…”. She worked hard tracking phrases and rounds of what was said. Honesty is the best policy. Make sure your coach is not afraid to speak up. 18 minutes goes by fast–you love your material and you want to include all of it–-but for a TED-format talk you need someone you trust to help you murder your darlings.

4. Close the loop. A lot of times, as the presenter, you know your material so well that you think you’re making each key point clear. You might not be. Your coach should make sure you are telling people why. It’s the “why” around our ideas that make them spread, not the “how”. Articulate the why so your audience understands what’s magnificent about your big idea.

5. Practice with clock counting up. The first few times, rehearse with the clock counting up. That’s because if you go over, you need to know how much you’re over. Do NOT be looking at the clock at this time. Have your coach look at it because you don’t want to remember any of the timestamps in your mind. Finish your entire talk and then have your coach tell you how much you need to trim. One minute, three minutes. Keep practicing until you’re consistently within 18 minutes. Your coach should be able to tell you to trim 30 seconds here or add 15 seconds there so that your content is weighted toward the most important information.

6. Practice with clock counting down. Once you’re within the timeframe, begin practicing with the clock counting down. You need to set a few places in your talk where you benchmark a time stamp. Calculate where you need to be in the content in six-minute increments. You should know roughly where you should be at 6, 12 and 18 minutes. You should know the slide you should be on and what you’re saying so that you will know immediately from the stage if you’re on time or running over.

7. Noteworthy. Your coach is there to jot down what you say well and what you don’t. They should work from a printout of the slides and write phrases you say well so they can be added to your script. They should help capture phrases so you can type them into your notes.

8. Don’t be camera shy. Videotape some of your final practices. It doesn’t have to be the best setup ever–we used our Flip camera on a tripod in the hotel–you just need to feel like something’s at stake. It helps you get used to looking at the camera, and you can review the video to look at your stage presence, eye contact, gestures plus identify any expressions that need modification. Also, if you do an especially good practice run, you can go back and listen to the audio and add the best snippets to your slide notes.

9. Do one more FULL timed rehearsal right before you walk on stage. This is where I blew it in India. I practiced fully several times that morning but didn’t feel it necessary to pull out a timer. I confess, I didn’t time it for a week, but rehearsed like mad. It would have been even better if I’d rehearsed via Skype with my coach. I would have averted a disaster.

10. Have two natural ending points. I wanted to accuse the India show operators of not really giving me a full 15 minutes on the clock. But I was the one who blew it. It might have been the meds I was on for my chest cold, but my timer was *blinking* before I was done. Fortunately, I’d embedded two natural places to end my talk. I had an ending that made the talk complete and I stopped there. What I didn’t have time to get to was the inspirational ending that would have had them on their feet and screaming (well, they did end up on their feet, they just weren’t screaming.)

Follow these steps and you will be able to transform your presentation into an engaging journey.

Read more from Nancy here.

Learn powerful presentation skills from her resources here.

Download a concise summary of Nancy’s book “Resonate” here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte is a communication expert who has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Wired, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, LA Times and on CNN. Her firm, Duarte, Inc., is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture and has created more than a quarter of a million presentations. As a persuasion specialist, she cracked the code for effectively incorporating story patterns into business communications. Resonate, her second book, spent nearly a year on Amazon’s top 100 business book bestsellers list. Nancy has 20 years of experience working with global companies and thought leaders, and she has influenced how the world perceives some of the most important brands and entities, including Apple, Cisco, Facebook, GE, Google, HP, TED, Twitter, and the World Bank. She is the author of two award-winning books. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences identifies the hidden story structures inherent in great communication, and it spent more than 300 days on Amazon’s top 100 business book bestsellers list. Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations teaches readers to think visually and has been translated into eight languages. Her third book, released in the fall of 2012, is titled HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, which gives readers the tools and confidence they need to master public speaking.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Craig Hadden (@RemotePoss) — 07/13/14 8:18 am

I really like the tip about having 2 natural end points. I research extensively for my own presentation blog, and I've never heard that exact tip before.

Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.