When a guest pulls into your parking lot for your weekend worship experience, do you consider that the beginning of your guest Experience process?
I hope not.
How you answer the question asked in the title of this post may very well be one of the most important determining factors of the success of your guest Experiences.
Your guest's experience with your organization begins well in advance of pulling into your parking lot and finishes long after leaving.
Consider that many first time guests to your church "check you out" online in advance of coming. For many, your "digital doorway" is their first impression. How's that working for you?
Another, less obvious connection is with your physical facility owned, leased, whatever. Everyone driving by 24/7 gets a subtle but sometimes very overt message about you from your facility. What do your guests see Monday Friday? What about the weekend?
Any kind of communication print, digital, verbal is also making an impression on your guests. Are you intentional in your communication? When your guest arrives, will their experience in reality match up with the expectations created by your communications?
There are other examples, but I think you get the point: your guest experience starts long before and continues well after your guest is physically present.
So where does your guest experience actually begin?
Is it a thought process triggered by events in a guest's life (good or bad)? People undergoing life change will often instinctively reach out to the church for comfort or growth opportunities.
Is it when your regular attenders verbally ask their friends and neighbors to join them for the new series you're starting next week?
Is it a more direct contact, like a print piece or other form of marketing that landed in their mailbox, or their inbox?
Is it the story your facility tells one that invites people into a place, expecting something positive and uplifting to occur?
Is it when your church is seen out and about in the community, serving others in a visible and noticeable way?
All of the above and many more you can think of occur before a guest physically comes onto your property.
For whatever reason, a guest is thinking about, or has decided, to come to your church.
For them, the guest experience has already begun.