Guest Services in the church is a passion of mine. I want churches to realize that they have a chance—usually a single chance—to make a WOW! first impression on guests coming to their facility this weekend. They’ve already been to your digital front door, your online presence, and now they are checking you out in person.
Here’s a thought that will change your mindset on this topic: when it comes to ChurchWorld, more often than not we have visitors.
Do you have visitor parking? Visitor packets? A Visitor’s Center? Do you welcome your visitors during the worship experience? And on and on….
The first step in creating a WOW! Guest Services experience is to remove the word visitor from your vocabulary—never to be used again.
It may be a little thing to you, just a word, but I think it’s actually a powerful first impression that will impact how you create the rest of the experience at your church.
You are expecting guests this weekend.
Guests come to your place, looking for a warm greeting, a smiling face, and an experience designed to make them feel like, well, guests. Nothing phony, manipulative, or in-your-face; just welcome them as guests with the most sincere, energizing, and loving experiences you can.
In conversations with hundreds of church leaders on the topic of Guest Services over the past several years, that one word has been like a light bulb being turned on—it’s like, “Wow—I get it!”
Now that you’ve got it, it’s time for a Guest Services math lesson:
Guest Services = Product + Place + Process + People
PRODUCT – What business is your church in?
Only you and your leadership team can answer that, but I am suggesting your church is in the people business. Your church doesn’t manufacture and sell an object, but you do seek to produce something: changed lives.
Churches that understand their “product” and create vital, life-changing experiences—those are the churches that are making a difference in our world today.
What are you creating at your church?
PLACE – Are you ready to be an environmental architect?
If you were to own the architectural responsibility for every environment in your church, you should be asking questions like:
• What’s the purpose of this environment?
• Who will use this environment?
• What do we want people to experience?
• What do we want people to leave with?
• Who’s responsible for quality control?
Now just in case you were wondering, this concept of space is not limited to physical place. Environments (the physical kind) matter very much. But a good environmental architect is also creating psychological space in much the same way.
How will you create experiences that keep people coming back?
PROCESS – Leaders need to understand design thinking.
Just as a product begins with an engineering blueprint and a building with an architectural blueprint, an experience blueprint provides the framework for working out the details of a human interaction, including emotive elements, from beginning to end.
Are you ready to create an experience blueprint for your Guest Services?
PEOPLE – The most important part, the starting place, the foundation from which all else is built—it’s people.
You need to have a great team in place first before you can begin to deliver excellent experiences; you don’t get anywhere without the people.
People want to be a part of something bigger than them. They want to be a part of something that touches their hearts.
Everything matters—but everyone matters more.
Intrigued about the possibilities for improved Guest Services at your church? Look for more information in upcoming issues of WFM and for special class sessions at Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX) coming to Atlanta on Sept. 19-21, 2012.