How to Design an Exceptional Guest Experience

Did you know that a first time guest will typically decide to come back in the first 11 minutes of visiting your church? And yet, we spend very little time thinking about how to shape those first few minutes in a powerful way, much less the rest of their time with us.

The fact of the matter is that defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen.

We can be the author of them.

In today’s increasingly fast-paced and unpredictable environment, church leaders need to be involved in design thinking more than ever. Design is all about action, and churches too often get stuck at the talking stage.

Face it – despite all our planning and analyzing and controlling, the typical church’s track record at translating its rhetoric into results is not impressive.

Moments matter. And what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance!

  • All it takes is a bit of insight and forethought.
  • All it takes is for you to think like a designer.

Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp will help you and your team do just that.

 

Here’s what some past participants have said:

  • I loved all the content.  It was made even more meaningful as we spent a chunk of time working on a personal plan for our church. Thank you for building that time in.
  • The content was killer. Can’t wait to process it all when I go back home. I loved how you gave us time to design it in the moment with our team.

  • My team used the information we learned to actually plan out the improvements of our church’s guest experience.

  • We loved the process of learning some new principles and paradigms and the opportunity to apply them to our context in teams.

The Guest Experience Boot Camp will introduce your team to developing powerful moments through design thinking…

…because Designing Guest Experiences is more important than delivering guest services.

 

Find out more about the Guest Experience Boot Camp coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.

 

> Register for the Guest Experience Boot Camp here.

 

> Would you like a discount code? Get one here!!

> Here’s a “magical” bonus – especially if you are an Orlando area church! Find out more here.

 

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

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. 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 39 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Here’s 5 Reasons OTHER Church First Impression Team Leaders Think YOU Should Attend the Guest Experience Boot Camp in Orlando

There are quite a few reasons I could come up with to encourage you to participate in Auxano’s upcoming Guest Experience Boot Camp in Orlando. Given the vast array of conferences and workshops you could attend, you might be wondering if bringing a team to Orlando is worth the investment of time and resources? So rather than hear my reasons, I thought it would be great to hear from recent attendees of our Guest Experience Boot Camp in Southern California.

Here are five reasons, when asked what they liked best about their Boot Camp experience, other Guest and Church Hospitality leaders think you should attend:

1. Because hoping to create a better Sunday experience is not the same as actually creating an intentional plan for welcoming first-time guests.

“We loved the space and coaching to think intentionally – and create a plan for our church.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp is the only conference, workshop or seminar that includes the time and tools to create an actionable plan.

2. Because your church is not like any other church, yet has the potential to learn something from every other church.

“Our team really enjoyed how practical the whole thing was. You understood each church had a different dynamic and gave us opportunities to discuss but also learn from others.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp fosters church-to-church interaction and collaborative learning from other leaders across the country.

3. Because learning from experienced practitioners helps more than listening to accomplished speakers.

“I thought the presenters were knowledgeable and engaging. I also enjoyed the Disney references.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp trainers have worked with hundreds of churches and leverage real-time experience in your real-world context.

This year we are offering a unique BONUS day of learning at the World’s Best hospitality company: Walt Disney World.

4. Because leading a team over the long term requires practical tools that supplement training.

“The workbook is gold, and if I lose it, I will probably cry. Thank you for developing such an incredible resource!“

The Guest Experience Boot Camp workbook functions as an “evergreen” resource in training your new, and seasoned leaders to create an atmosphere of hospitality every Sunday.

5. Because engaging, fresh content creates more energy than watching yet another talking head speaker.

“The passion that Bob and Bryan demonstrated for what they believe will make a difference through the stories they shared.”

The Guest Experience Boot Camp combines the inspiration and information you are looking for with a plan for implementation that creates second-and-third time guests.

If you need more information, reach out to one of the Auxano Boot Camp Navigator team here.

Register your team today, right here, and save 25% with the code: 5REASONS

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Breakthrough Guest Experience Ideas with Danny Franks

On a recent episode of the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast, Danny Franks tells the incredible story of a parking lot volunteer that eventually became a church planter in China. It all started with a conversation with some visiting exchange students and a leader taking the time to do more than only help someone park their car. This ordained moment fuels Danny’s calling as Pastor of Guest Services at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And it also challenges him to ensure that, each weekend, there is always at least one more volunteer than he actually needs. You can listen to the whole conversation here.

Here are some key breakthrough ideas with Danny:

  • When God says “I am doing something…” words begin to create worlds.
  • Learn why nobody wants to give their life away to show up and help somebody find a parking space.
  • Why serving on a hospitality team is a lot of fun for about three weeks but becomes a lousy hobby if there is no substance.
  • If all we are calling people to do is show up to check off a box, they will only be excited for a short time. Train for this instead.
  • How vital is a welcoming ministry in a church where there is so much emphasis on the gospel and missions?
  • Is a First Impressions ministry essential? Answering this question with the Gospel is critical, here’s why.
  • Could it be that there roles in the church that we are presenting as family chores? Serving should never feel like taking out the garbage.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to offend people and make them uncomfortable when you see with first-time guest eyes.
  • We can do everything possible to make 60-75 minutes inside the worship service flawless, but if we are not thinking through what somebody sees first, it may not matter.
  • Do we need to ask – what do they see first?
  • Make sure that the messages from the stage hold up to the messages on the sidewalk.
  • The gospel is offensive but nothing else should be, especially your welcome.
  • Guests far from God may disagree with points of your sermon, but they cannot argue with the love of your people.
  • There are all kinds of offenses on a Sunday that we can fix… the gospel is one offense we shouldn’t try to fix.
  • If we make it feel like we love people, we planned for them, and we cannot wait for them to come back, people hostile to the gospel will eventually take hold.
  • Helping people understand the purpose behind needed changes is critical to keeping volunteer hearts engaged.
  • The why behind The Summit’s hospitality begins and ends with the gospel.
  • The big win of the weekend is that everyone hears the gospel communicated.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The gospel is offensive, nothing else should be
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The why is more important than the what.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Everything speaks.
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: The first visit should set up the second visit
  • The Summit First Impressions Plumbline: Make it personal – every weekend is someone’s first weekend, meet people where they are
  • The why has to be more caught than taught. People should understand what matters most beyond just hearing words at a training meeting.
  • Leaders must be present and in conversation to ensure that culture is stewarded well from campus to campus.
  • Stories are the most significant indicator of cultural health.
  • Asking guests about their experience is a way to hear from guests and listen for systemic issues in your hospitality experience.
  • The first time guest experience is a health indicator for the entire church.
  • Stats don’t grab people’s hearts the way stories do… tell stories to motivate and to cultivate the results you want to see.
  • Gospel discipleship in every ministry means that people can move from parking cars to planting churches.
  • The majority of guest services conversations are transactional, but are your people available to connect beyond the welcome and into the relational?
  • The bare minimum number of volunteers result in the bare minimum number of gospel experiences.
  • You always need more volunteers – more people engaged in the mission creates more opportunities to engage people.
  • There has to be a passion for the guest experience… your volunteers need to see welcoming people as more than just family chores.
  • Nobody dreams of being a guest services pastor, but the reality is that Biblical hospitality is a critical component of following Jesus.
  • Guest Services are a biblical virtue expressed on an organizational level.
  • Essential Qualities of a Great Hospitality Leader: People person, Attention to detail, Dreamer not afraid to take measured risks
  • We don’t always need to learn something new; we need to revisit the truth over and over again.
  • Leaders sharpen their tools by reading – and not just leadership books.
  • You can engineer EPIC moments to engage First Time Guests.
  • Relax… let go of the perfect plan and the ideal event. Outside of salvation, there are very few things in ministry that are as life and death as we think they are.
  • We can sacrifice people on the altar of our idol the plan.
  • We are not here for the plans we are here for the people.

Listen to the whole podcast here.

If you want to learn how to create an exceptional Guest Experience at your church, check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp coming up January 29-30 in Newport Beach, CA

Click here for more information and registration.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

This Matters to Every Guest You See

There are a lot of reasons a church might grow. Sometimes people come because of the preaching. Sometimes people come because of the music. Some people like the great programs for kids and youth.

But I’m convinced that amid all of our emphasis in the last few decades on building weekend services that are more attractive to outsiders, there’s an often overlooked factor in church growth . . .

Growing churches are friendly to guests.

All churches think they’re friendly, but when you take a good look at them, you often discover they’re friendly to people who have been attending for 15 years or more—not to new people.

A guest’s experience in the first 12 minutes dramatically influences whether they’re coming back or not. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

When non-Christians come to your church for the first time, their number one emotion is fear. What will people think? What are they going to do? Am I going to have to sign something, sing something, sacrifice something, or say something?

They don’t know what’s going on, and they’re scared to death.

Your first goal with guests (and by the way, I never call them visitors) is to get them to relax. Then you can communicate with them. When people are afraid, their barriers are up and it becomes a case of, “I dare you to teach me something!” No matter how good your sermon is, they won’t listen to the Good News about Jesus until they get past those fears.

You need to put guests at ease.

How do you do that? Here are some ideas:

  • Reserve your best parking spots for guests. It just shows you’re thinking about them. If you had guests for dinner at your house, you’d probably do whatever it took to make them feel more comfortable. You’d use your best silverware and your best dishes. You might ask them about food preferences before you plan the meal. You should show similar courtesies to guests at your church.
  • Station greeters outside your building. You need people strategically placed around your campus to greet guests. At Saddleback, we used to play a game. I would dare people to get into the building without having their hand shaken at least three times. We place greeters way out in the parking lot. Why? We’ve found that some people hate to be greeted publicly during the service, but they love to be greeted personally.
  • Set up an information table. Put all sorts of information on the table that might help people find their way around. Put maps out with classrooms and restrooms easily marked. Put out brochures about the church that give people information they can take home and read at their convenience. Most importantly, have hosts stationed there to help people find their way around. Make sure your hosts know where the restrooms are and where the children should go!
  • Have music playing when people enter. In America almost every public building has music playing. Even in the elevator, music is playing. You go into the restroom and music is playing. You go into a restaurant and music is playing. People expect to hear music. If you walked into a church right now and everyone was dead silent, you’d probably be uncomfortable. On the other hand, if you heard fairly loud praise music playing, you’d probably feel much more comfortable. Here’s something interesting I’ve found: If you play soft music, people talk softly. But if you play loud music, people talk louder. When non-Christians come into your church, they want it to be noisy.
  • Allow guests to remain anonymous in the service. Please don’t make guests stand up. The three greatest fears people have are going to a party with strangers, having to speak before a crowd, and being asked personal questions in public. So when we ask our guests to tell us their name and where they are from in front of everyone, we subject them to all three of their greatest fears at one time. Bad idea. How do you identify guests if you don’t have them stand up? Have them fill out a welcome card. Then someone from the church can connect with them later.
  • Offer a warm, casual public welcome that relaxes people. If you want to make guests feel welcome, you’ve got to be at ease yourself. That’s what most people expect—just watch the late-night TV shows. Like it or not, how the pastor and the worship leader interact with each other sets the tone for good or for bad in a service.
  • Use technology to break down the barrier. Have an app or web-based connection card. Allow people to send a text to a short number to get more information. Ask people to check in on Facebook. And help people know where to go online for more information if they skip the information desk (because most of them will).

In the early years at Saddleback we used to say, “If this is your first time at Saddleback, we’re glad you’re here. We want you take a deep breath, sit back, relax, and enjoy the service.” You know where I got that? I heard someone say it on an airline once! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight. All we’re trying to do is help people relax and then make them feel comfortable.

You have to break down the fear barriers before people will ever open up to your message and consider coming back to your church. Try these guest-friendly tips in the coming weeks, and help your church grow this year.

> Read more from Rick.


Learn more about your how you can become a friendlier church – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.


Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Timeless Call of Guest Engagement

Epiphany at the Gas Pump

In a recent conversation with a friend, I was asked the question, “Where does your passion for Guest Experiences come from?”

Regular readers of this website know of my borderline fanaticism in the area of Guest Experiences related to ChurchWorld, and how much we can learn from the world of “Customer Experience.” Some leaders cringe at those words, but the fact is people who come to church are consumers, and leaders in ChurchWorld can learn a lot from good customer experience practices wherever they find them – even in a 1946 training manual for Gulf Dealers.

The answer to my friend’s question became a little clearer several years ago.

My father.

After my father was discharged from the Army Air Corps following WWII, he worked at several jobs before he and his brother built a Gulf Service Station outside of Nashville TN. My father operated it for 44 years, closing it when he retired in 1993. Growing up in that gas station (literally – our house was about 100 feet away) I learned a lot about how to deal with people by watching my father interact with his “customers.” What I didn’t realize until recently was that his natural, easygoing style was augmented by customer service training materials supplied by the Gulf Oil Company.

It seems that good customer experience is never out of date.

My father passed away in 2012, and changes in my mother’s health required that she move out of the house in which she and my father had started their family in 1954. As my brother and I were going through the process of moving her from her home of 61 years, I took great delight in looking through some of the items my dad had saved and stored over his life. When I found the manual pictured below, I knew it would become a special part of my Guest Experience resources.

Notice the orange dotted line around the vehicle – that’s the suggested travel path for the service man – or two – to take when a customer pulled up to the gas pumps to have gasoline put into his tank (I realize many readers have no clue nor experience of this, but it did happen!). Starting by engaging the driver, here are a few of the suggestions for engaging the customer:

  • Always be prompt – the service plan starts when you see a customer driving into your station. Whenever possible, be alert and at his side when his car stops, ready to greet him.
  • Greet the customer – your greeting is your first important step in showing courtesy to the customer, and it should be friendly, cheerful, and always in your own words.
  • Acknowledge the other customer – when a second car drives in, you should immediately recognize the other customer and saying you’ll be right with him. This kind of greeting pays off because you not only please the customer who is waiting but you also please the customer you are waiting on, who notices that you are courteous to others.
  • Improve the rear view – while you are at the rear of the vehicle putting gas in, wipe the rear window and tail lights. Should a light be out, call it to the attention to your customer at the proper time.
  • Look at those tires – while you are back there, take a look at both rear tires for cuts, blisters under inflation, etc. and make a mental note to tell your customer before he leaves your station.
  • Work to the front end – walk around the right side, cleaning the right windshield, checking the wiper blades, and inspecting the front tires.
  • Under the hood – check the oil and water levels; it’s your responsibility to protect your customer’s car. If any is needed, ask him if you may bring the levels up to the correct level.
  • Keep alert under the hood – while you have the hood open, keep alert for other service needs. Train yourself to quickly observe all needs, informing the customer as appropriate.
  • Collect for the sale – it is important to give the customer the right change, so count the change back into his hand. If he is using a credit card (yes, they had those in 1946!), learn to fill out the invoice quickly and accurately.
  • Courtesy is pleasant – before your customer leaves the station thank him and ask him to come in again. By this time you should have learned his name, so make it personal.
  • Help him safely on his way – if your station is on a busy street where it’s difficult to get into traffic, give your customer a hand. Guide him into the moving traffic safely. He may not expect this added courtesy, but he’ll be glad to get it and remember it. Every courteous act will be appreciated by your customers, and make them regular patrons of your station.

And a closing reminder:

With the Gulf Service Plan, every time you do some little service for the customer, it makes him realize that you know your business, and that you’re looking after his welfare. These services keep your customer coming back again and again. Good will – the tendency of the motorist to return to a place where he has been well-treated – is being created every time you give him not only what he wants, but what he needs. He remembers you are the man who looks after his best interests by taking good care of one of his most prized possessions – his car.

To all of us who live in a 24/7, always-connected world, the actions above probably seem like a throwback or an anachronism of the good old days.

I happen to think they are a timeless reminder that experience still matters – especially in ChurchWorld, where there is no “product” per se, but the outcome of the interactions with our Guests may be eternal.

Thanks Dad, for the lessons you taught me even when I didn’t realize it, and for the lessons you still teach me after you’re gone.

> Read more from Bob.


Learn more about your engaging your Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

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. 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 39 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

This Concept is Tanking Your Guest Experience

I was in a well-known retail store recently and overheard a customer say to her friend, “I am not coming back in this store again. It is always cookie cutter service…the same ‘how may I help you,’ the same, ‘credit or debit,’ and the same boring ‘thank you for shopping at Acme’ spoken with the enthusiasm of a blooming rock!”

Her friend agreed. I heard them talking about going online as they exited the large store.

Cookie cutters make every cookie the same size. But, it is the wrong metaphor. Rubber stamps make more sense. A cookie cutter never changes its shape, but a rubber stamp sooner or later runs out of ink; its lack of relevance and usefulness become its demise. These ladies were not fussing about bad service; their disdain was for indifferent, ‘no light on inside’ kind of service. They were lamenting customer service that had run out of ink.

We live in an era of sparkly. Customers everywhere are highly stimulated and occasionally entertained by their service experiences. It changes their expectations and ramps up their standards. Today’s fad can quickly become tomorrow’s antique.

When soldiers from American farms went off to fight in World War I, they fought in places like Paris, Brussels and London. Their wide-eyed, golly gee whiz impressions spawned the popular song, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree.”

The message is the same today for your customers. How you gonna get ‘em shopping in the store, after they’ve seen Chick-fil-A and Walt Disney World and Amazon and… Never let the ink run dry in the spirit of your enterprise.

Because once you bore them out the door, you may never get them back.

> Read more from Chip.


 

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Exceptional Guest Experience, Part 2: PROCESS

At Auxano, we’ve walked with more than 500 churches through a process called the Guest Perspective Evaluation. And when they’re done, they all ask, “What’s next?”

Amazingly, most church leaders don’t actually have a plan they can use to improve their Guest Experience!

Ask them about their strategy and you’ll discover it boils down to this:

We’ll be friendlier.

It’s understandable. Church leaders are too busy on the weekend to actually understand what Guests see – and experience – to really know how to make things better. After all, your church is “friendly,” right? And that is all you need to have a good Guest Experience.

But why settle for good?

An exceptional Guest Experience ministry doesn’t have to be complicated. We recommend you execute on just three things:

  1. Place
  2. Process
  3. People

Focusing on these three things will allow you to welcome first time Guests, welcome back returning Guests, and create a culture of hospitality within your church that extends your ministry beyond your walls.

The catch?

Each of these three elements shares one requirement: paying attention to details.

It’s impossible to have an exceptional Guest Experience unless you pay attention to details.

Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL, April 3-4.

The PROCESS you use to welcome Guests

THE QUICK SUMMARYDisney U, by Doug Lipp

In helping Walt Disney create “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Van France and his team started a business revolution in 1955 that eventually became the Disney University—the employee training and development program that powers one of the most famous brands on earth.

Disney U examines how Van France’s timeless company values and leadership expertise have turned into a training and development dynasty: the Disney U. The book reveals the heart of the Disney Culture and describes the company’s values and operational philosophies that support the world-famous Disney brand.

Doug Lipp is an internationally acclaimed expert on customer service, leadership, change management and global competitiveness, specializing in the lessons he learned at the Disney U.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Walt Disney knew that the key to delivering a great experience in a living movie setting like Disneyland meant designing defect-free processes and flawlessly repeating them. However, the setting of Disneyland itself – having different “lands” requiring different sets of operations, maintenance, cast members, and a myriad of other details – became complicated very quickly.

The same thing happens at your church: the enemy of your Guest Experience is complexity.

Walt Disney was able to work out a solution, and that solution can be instructive for your church, too.

Providing the Happiest Place on Earth means that cast members must manage a delicate balance of priorities; without clarity, the task becomes overwhelming.

As Disneyland exploded onto the scene in 1955, Disney Guest Experience pioneers Van France and Dick Nunis recognized the challenge. In response, they simplified the inherently complex environment of a theme park by providing every cast member with crystal-clear marching orders during his or her Disney University orientation.

Dick Nunis came up with a program which, at the time, was a totally new concept for operations. The four elements of theme park operations were listed in order of their importance.

Van France

Simple service standards can be powerful tools in any organization.

What happens when a child at a Disney Park drops a Mickey ice cream bar?

  • Is it tough luck for the unhappy child?
  • What about the sticky mess on the busy sidewalk?
  • How would you handle a tired, irate parent?
  • What’s the impact on the bottom line?

There’s not an easy answer for the situation above – or for the tens of thousands of other daily occurrences that happen in a Disney theme park. But somehow most front-line Cast Members manage to take care of situations quickly in ways that keep the Guests happy.

How do you train cast members to handle whatever may come up in a normal – or not so normal – day in the park?

 

The recipe for creating and repeating the magical environment at Disneyland involved boiling down park operations into four priorities that represent the values driving every decision made by front-line Cast Members.

At the time, these four priorities, known as “the Four Keys,” were a totally new concept for operating a complex organization like a theme park. Listed in order of importance, they are:

  • Safety – The most important priority for Guests and cast members. Cast members must often protect Guests from themselves! Guests distracted by the beautiful architecture may walk into lampposts and walls. Every operations and design decision must first address safety.
  • Courtesy – The second most important priority after safety is courtesy. Cast members know the value of the smiles on their faces and in their voices and the importance of engaging Guests. A lack of cast member courtesy will poison the safest and most interesting environment.
  • Show – Once safety and courtesy are assured, attention turns to show. Well-maintained attractions and facilities populated by well-groomed cast members ensure good show, a condition Walt Disney passionately promoted.
  • Efficiency – This last priority refers to the number of Guests enjoying the attractions, restaurants, and retail shops. This is the “hard numbers” portion of a business. By placing numbers last, the SCSE model makes a clear, somewhat paradoxical statement: accomplishing the first three priorities ensures that this fourth one is sustainable in the form of happy and loyal cast members and Guests.

Disney’s Four Keys serve as a compass for creating happiness and serving others. More than five decades after they were created, these Four Keys continue to serve as the foundation for everything Disney does. Any organization would be envious to have several key standards stand that test of time. It is at the heart of what has made Disney the powerful name it is today.

Doug Lipp, Disney U

A NEXT STEP

Simple service standards can be powerful tools in any organization. By establishing a framework of values from which every team member operates, they have a sense of ownership and purpose. The use of standards creates a consistent image across the entire organization.

At a future team meeting, reproduce this SUMS Remix, and ask your team to read this entire section. As a team, discuss the following questions,

Simplify the Complex

  • How are complex operations and processes communicated in your organization?
  • Are priorities succinct and memorable?
  • How are complex and vital procedures and priorities communicated in your organization?

It’s All about the Basics

  • How do you help team members understand standard operating procedures and priorities?
  • Are team members actively involved as change agents, or do they wait for direction?
  • Are policies followed? If not, why not?

Great Trainers Transfer Knowledge

  • How does your training staff leverage experience from one area to another?
  • What do you do to encourage interactions with Guests and attendees?

Making Your Standard Manageable

  • What is your organization’s equivalent of the Four Keys?
  • Can your team member manual be simplified?
  • What are your priorities? Can you summarize your standard operating procedures and priorities, regardless of complexity, with memorable phrases or acronyms?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 72-2, August 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

 


Download PDF

Tags: , , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Your Guests Need Presence, Not Just Proximity

Recently, while listening to Donald Miller’s podcast, I heard a comment from Bob Goff that literally stopped me in my tracks while on my daily podcast walk:

Don’t mistake proximity for presence.

My mind jumped to Amy Cuddy’s book, Presence, and this statement:

Listening is crucial to presence. Real listening can’t happen unless we have a sincere desire to understand what we’re hearing.

Now, put those thoughts together, and apply them to the setting of your Guest Experience teams.

See that Guest approaching? As they draw closer, there is no more important person in the world.

It’s time to move from proximity to presence.

 

You’re in the most important two feet in Guest Experience.

  • It’s your team member on the front line.
  • It’s the Guest standing in front of them.
  • It’s the space between your Guest and your front-line Guest ExperienceTeam member.

Recognizing this important three-way meaning is the starting point for understanding how to be present with your Guest.

The interactions that take place between your team members and the Guests in those 24 inches 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.

There is an idea-generating and innovation factory that remains untapped in most organizations simply because most leaders do not know how to connect the experiences and insights of their front line to solving Guest problems. – Chris DeRose, Judgment on the Front Line

How they represent themselves, 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.

Are your Guest Experience Team Members fully present with your Guests?

…or are they just in proximity?

> Read more from Bob.


Learn more about the power of presence with your Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

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. 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 39 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Great Can Your Guest Experience Really Be?

Editors Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of some great minds.


The volume of a grand piano is determined by more than how hard the pianist presses the keys. The position of the piano lid can impact the decibel level of the sound coming from the instrument. All grand pianos have three positions: closed, half-way open and fully raised. The choice of lid positioning has to do with the priority the grand piano is to play in a performance.

Fully raised piano lids are used when the grand piano has center billing—it is the star of the show. You see this position used during a piano concert. Half open is used on those occasions a grand piano is sharing the spotlight with others in the performance. It might be the orchestra, a vocal soloist, or a choir. Obviously, closed is when the piano is more in the background as an accompanying instrument. Grand piano lids are alike to the priority of the customer in an organization.

Customer-centric is obviously wide open and fully raised. The customer is the star. Employees in customer-centric organizations seem to have unlimited authority to take care of customers and exercise obvious initiative to ensure customers get a consistently great experience. These organizations hire the best, expect the best performance, treat their employees as the best, and hold leaders accountable for achieving the best. Their over-the-top service creates a strong, almost cult-like following among customers who act like zealots.

Customer-focused organizations are those in which the customer is important, but must share top billing with others—like products, processes, or perhaps the bottom line. Customer-focused organizations get good marks from their customers. They not only do the basics exceedingly well, they periodically take actions that yield a story customers enjoy repeating. They place extensive effort on ensuring offerings are based on up-to-date customer intelligence and feedback. They ensure employees are resourced, supported and motivated. Their efforts produce customers who are generally loyal.

Customer-aware is “closed lid” organizations that desire customers to be more in the background. These organizations give enough lip service to customer service that it shows up in pockets of service delivery but not consistently. A friendly branch or store in one location, for example, and another simply going through the motions. Their efforts yield customers who are generally satisfied.  However, satisfied customers only remain as long as a better (or sometimes simply different) option is unavailable. Customer-aware organizations struggle with growth but survive if they can keep the price-service-product (or outcome) in proper balance.

So, where is the lid on your customer priority? As you consider a level of service relevant for your organization, consider these questions:

  • What level of service do your customers expect?
  • What level of service would your customers value and pay for?
  • What level of service can your employees deliver?
  • What level of service will leaders support?
  • What level of service can your culture sustain?

Choosing the position of the “customer lid” can make all the difference in the harmony or dissonance of your bottom line as well as your customers’ desire to be at your next concert!

> Read more from Chip.


 

Learn more about the power of connecting with your Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Change Your Guest Culture – Fast!

You don’t need to lay out a five year plan. You don’t need to bring in an outside consultant. You don’t need to invest in expensive training, read a mountain of books, or hire a ringer from another church staff to up your guest services game.

There’s one solution that will bring about change starting next weekend. One solution that will allow you to see many of the things that you would otherwise pay a “professional” to spot:

Invite a friend.

It’s really that simple. If you have an unchurched friend that you’ve been investing in, praying for, and hoping against hope that she would come to faith in Christ, just invite her to come with you to a weekend service. Suddenly, everything that a guest sees…you will see. It will all come into crystal-clear focus. You’ll take notice of whether others take notice of her. You’ll witness every awkward encounter. You’ll hear every clumsy transition. You’ll see every fleck of peeling paint, every piece of trash on the bathroom floor, and every smudge on the lobby windows.

There’s something about inviting our guests that makes us take notice of all the guests. When our friends show up, things get personal. Priorities get realigned. Items that were once a “good idea one day when we can get around to it” suddenly move up the chain to be of utmost importance.

Don’t get me wrong: you’ll still need a plan of attack, you might want to consider an outside consultant, and you may want to pick up a few books. But getting a jumpstart is as simple as sending a text:

“Hey, want to come with me to church this weekend?”

> Read more from Danny.

> Learn more about Danny’s book, People Are The Mission.


Learn more about the power of connecting with your Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Orlando, FL on April 3-4.


Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danny Franks

Danny Franks

Danny Franks makes his living as a Connections Pastor at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He also makes a life as the husband of an out-of-his-league hottie and the dad of three cool sons and one sweet princess. His blog, dfranks.com, is a reflection of how he interacts with all of these.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks Thom, You’re exactly correct. Now how about some solutions when confronted by one of these wayward actors?
 
— Mike
 
comment_post_ID); ?> This is hilarious. Well done!
 
— RussellC
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Love this
 
— Ann Stokman
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.