Consider This Method for Getting Guest Information

We are routinely asked about the most effective ways to get guests to fill out communication cards or to turn them in. What if your church could get information on guests before they even set foot on campus? With an online registration form on your website, you can.

Whether you utilize this on a “Plan Your Visit” page, the home page, or the kids ministry page on your website, by offering an online guest registration form you are already ahead of the game when it comes to making a good first impression with a guest. Other than that, here are five reasons you should consider using online guest registration forms.

  1. It shows you expect guests. First and foremost, having an online guest registration form sends the message that you are expecting guests and want to be ready for them. This small detail communicates that your church is a guest-friendly one.
  2. Sunday mornings are typically hectic for parents. Online registration forms are great for all guests, but especially for those with kids. When my family visits a church for the first time, we dread the paperwork that comes with dropping our kids off in the nursery. We know we have to leave earlier than normal because of how long it will take. And we worry about how our kids will act while we fill out the information forms. Online registration allows parents to breathe easier and not dread the drop-off process. Parents will greatly appreciate the efficiency of an online guest registration form.
  3. You can prepare your volunteers. If you know to expect two or three extra guests in a toddler class, you can prepare those teachers for the extra kids. Volunteers are less likely to be stressed by larger-than-normal class numbers when they know what to expect ahead of time.
  4. It allows you to make an impression on kids and parents. On a positive note, knowing whom to expect allows volunteers to add a personal touch to their care. Imagine the impression a teacher can make on a hesitant child if they are able to greet them by name at first sight.
  5. You are more likely to receive accurate information. When a guest is unhurried to fill out a registration form, they’re more likely to fill it out completely and accurately. Also, handwriting issues are eliminated if forms are filled out electronically.

Does your church use online registration forms for guests? Have you ever visited a church that used them? Would you consider using them in your current church?

> Read more from Jonathan.


Learn more about your online guest registration – 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 Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Howe

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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Clarity Process

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Startling New Findings on How Churches Welcome Guests

Every church sends a message through how they welcome and treat guests. Those with no strategy send the loudest message: “What we believe has not impacted how we treat you.” Not to be hospitable is to prove the message of God’s grace hasn’t impacted the totality of the church.

Hospitality is the combination of two words: stranger and love. It literally means to show love to strangers and it is very biblical. God’s hospitality toward us is the foundation and motivation for our hospitality toward others. God loved us while we were still strangers. While we were His enemies, He pursued us. And now we are to accept others the way Christ has accepted us. Being hospitable is even a qualification for being a leader in the church (1 Timothy 3:2). Churches must have a plan for how they show love to those who are their guests.

So what are churches doing in terms of their hospitality toward guests? LifeWay Researchinterviewed more than 1,000 pastors on how their churches welcome guests, and here are a few points from what the research revealed:

  • Nearly 80% of the churches have a centralized location where guests can learn about the church.
  • 40% of the churches gift some type of gift to first-time guests.
  • Churches with less than 100 people in attendance are much more likely to ask guests to stand and be recognized than churches with more than 250 people in attendance.
  • The vast majority of churches (96%) with more than 250 people in attendance ask guests to provide their information on cards the church provides.
  • 85% of the churches with more than 250 people in attendance provide some type of informational class for new people to learn about the church. 50% of the churches with less than 50 people in attendance do.

The research is encouraging in that most churches have a plan for hospitality, for showing love to those who visit. When thinking about hospitality to guests who visit your church, it is helpful to think in terms of systems and culture. They feed off one another in that a church culture that values hospitality will ensure systems are in place, and systems will help reinforce a culture. Both are important.

Systems for hospitality include:

  • A plan to ensure guests know where to park, where to bring their children, where the worship gathering takes place
  • Signage and greeters placed at strategic places in a guest’s path (parking lot, doorways, etc.)
  • A process to gather information from guests
  • A plan for follow-up for those who have attended

But if you do not have joyful and loving people in your church, your systems won’t be able to overcome the lack of hospitality from the people.

A culture of hospitality is based upon the following important principles:

  • Ministry leaders must continually remind people that we were once strangers and God pursued us.
  • Those serving as greeters, ushers, etc. must be friendly and joyful people who love the church.

Because this is such an important aspect of a local church’s effectiveness, I am really excited about Dr. Rainer’s new book, Becoming a Welcoming Church. You can find more information about the book here. I highly recommend it. It would be a great tool to give to people in your church to encourage and challenge them to help make your church a welcoming place.

> Read more from Eric.


Learn more about the importance of how your church welcomes 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 Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Clarity Process

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20 Traits of Great Guest Experience Leaders

Editor’s 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.


Companies that have the strongest customer experiences often have the best leaders. Whether they are individual contributors, executives or customer-facing employees, they know what it takes to motivate and inspire others to create a positive experience. And it shows—customers can tell when an organization is focused on providing a great experience and that attitude is reflected in their people.

Here are the top 20 traits of customer experience leaders:

1. Communication. From emails to in-person conversations and written memos, leaders know how to communicate clearly and powerfully. They get their message across concisely and by using the right channel. Good leaders say what they mean and are as comfortable communicating with customers as they are with executives.

2. Listening. Great leaders listen to people and welcome feedback. They apply what they hear, involve others, and consider what would be best for customers. These skills include listening to comments from both employees and customers to learn what the company can do to create a better experience.

3. Empathy. Leaders have to connect with others. They must put themselves in the shoes of their customers and employees to understand how other people are feeling. It’s about more than just the purchase or the service received—it’s about the emotions that customers feel.

4. Delegation. Customer experience leaders know they can’t do it all on their own, and they share the workload with other people who are qualified to do the job. Great leaders know the skillsets of the people around them and assign tasks to the right people. Delegating involves knowing what needs to get done and providing enough details without micromanaging.

5. Motivation. Great leaders know how to inspire greatness in others and use this to encourage their employees to do their best to serve customers. They encourage each employee in his or her career and help them develop professionally. In order to best motivate employees, a leader must truly know them and help them set and reach their goals.

6. Trustworthy. Employees and customers won’t listen to a leader or give their best effort if they don’t think they can trust them. Leaders need to stand by their word and not get involved in office gossip or politics. Customers and employees should know that a leader won’t back out of a promise or go back on something they said.

7. Humility. Leaders are humble enough to realize that it isn’t all about them. They are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and resources to make sure other people succeed. Humility can also mean turning to people who are more experienced for a task and focusing more on customers and results than on job titles and salaries.

8. Positivity. It can be easy to get bogged down with negative customers and experiences, but leaders rise above it and share their positive attitude with others. When stressful situations arise, leaders set the tone of positivity and encouragement for everyone around them. They think about the good that can come from a situation instead of jumping to the worst conclusions.

9. Creativity. Leaders think outside the box, especially when it comes to finding the best way to solve customer problems and create a great experience. They are willing to try new things and take risks that could potentially lead to great rewards. Creative leaders know the customers want something different that meets their needs, and they are willing to consider all options to find the right solution.

10. Responsibility. Instead of blaming others when things go wrong or taking all the credit when things go right, leaders win and lose with their team. They take responsibility for failures and make plans of how to improve in the future. Instead of just being the figurehead in charge of a team, they are alongside the employees to get the work done and make sure it is done right.

11. Commitment. Great leaders follow through on their promises to customers and employees and do what they say they will do. They are committed to the mission of the company and do what it takes to succeed. Even when times are difficult, they stand by their employees to ensure that customers are always satisfied.

12. Flexibility. Plans change, and leaders need to be agile enough to make adjustments without being totally thrown off course. This also means understanding human issues and making flexible procedures to meet people’s needs. The best leaders stick to their principles but also know that not everything is black and white and can make changes as needed.

13. Honesty. Transparency is key for leadership. Great leaders don’t keep things from employees and customers. They are honest and open about their actions, motivations, and the state of the company. Is something goes wrong, a leader doesn’t try to hide it or avoid talking about it—they are open and address every situation.

14. Organization. When managing numerous employees and customers, the ability to stay organized is key. Leaders focused on customer experience create efficient processes to get the work done and solve customer issues as quickly as possible. Leaders teach their employees how to stay organized in their work so customers know they can depend on the company to get things done the right way.

15. Strategy. Good leaders don’t fly by the seat of their pants. They have a strategic vision and reason for their actions. They use customer experience to strategically help other areas of the company and know the importance customers play in the overall goals of the company.

16. Approachable. Customers and employees know they can come to a leader with their concerns or questions and that they will be listened to and appreciated. A good leader doesn’t just sit in their office and watch over their employees; they get their hands dirty and get involved with all areas of the work. No job is too small for a good leader, and customers and employees know they can come to them with anything.

17. Innovative. Customers and trends are always changing, and leaders find innovative and new solutions to meet their needs. They are willing to take risks that could pay off with a great customer experience and a competitive advantage. Leaders encourage using new ideas and technology and promote a culture where employees aren’t afraid of failure because it leads to something better.

18. Forward-Thinking. Instead of only thinking of what is happening this month or year, leaders look to the future to prepare their organizations and employees for what is coming next. In customer experience, this means keeping up with trends and incorporating new technology. Leaders don’t wait for customers to tell them what technology they are using. They stay on top of developments so their company can be a leader in a new space.

19. Caring. For customer experience leaders, it’s about more than just the money—it’s about caring for people and helping make their lives easier and better. Leaders know the importance of helping customers through difficult times and encourage their employees to go the extra mile to help customers. They are less concerned about sticking to the letter of the law and more concerned about solving customer needs.

20. Decision-Making. Nothing will happen without a smart leader who is willing to pull the trigger, make tough decisions, and get things done. Leaders are smart and decisive. They know that business moves fast and in order to keep up, they have to make quick decisions.

> Read more from Blake.


 

Learn more about your developing Guest Experience leaders – 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 Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blake Morgan

Blake Morgan

Blake Morgan is a leader in customer experience. She is a keynote speaker and customer experience futurist currently working on her second book with HarperCollins on customer experience technology. Her first book is “More is More: How The Best Companies Work Harder And Go Farther To Create Knock Your Socks Off Customer Experiences.” Blake is adjunct faculty at the Rutgers executive education MBA program. Blake contributes to Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and Hemispheres Magazine. She is the host of The Modern Customer Podcast and a weekly customer experience video series on YouTube. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.

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Clarity Process

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Gauge Your Guest Focus With This Simple Test

Editor’s 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.


A potential client called for help. His plea was, “We are so NOT customer-focused, and we need to be!” He then shared what may be one of the most crystal-clear examples of the difference between a company that is customer focused and one that isn’t.

By the way, the name of the company has been “changed to protect the innocent,” as they say. We’ll refer to them as Company X.

Two brand new identical buildings were built, side by side. One was a well-known bank. The other was Company X. In front of each building was a parking lot with about 30 spaces, while across the street were much larger parking lots. The parking spaces in front of the bank building had a sign that read: Visitor Parking. The parking spaces in front of Company X’s building didn’t.

The bank employees parked across the street and walked over. Company X’s employees insisted that they get to park close to their building. The first ones there that day got the best spaces.

My client – wow, I’m already referring to him as my client – confided that he wanted the visitors to be able to park in the closer spots without crossing the street, but he said you would have thought I’d taken away their “first-born child.” Obviously, a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

While it’s not that inconvenient to walk across the street from the parking lot to the building, not giving the closer parking spots to customers sends a message – not to the customers, who may or may not notice, but to the employees. The message is linked to the culture and values that employees grow to know and understand about the company they work for. If the employees won’t let their customers park in the spaces most convenient to the entrance, what other “anti-customer” decisions are being made? What other unfriendly processes do they have? And, that’s where our discussion really started to take off.

We had a tough discussion about his people. Some people would embrace and be excited about a new customer-focused culture, although he confided in me that many would not. I shared that the cost of keeping employees who aren’t in alignment with a company’s vision can be financially detrimental to the company. And achieving alignment is a big project. We also talked about the various processes and procedures that could be changed. I could write a small book about that discussion.

Whether you’re customer-focused or not, this exercise is helpful. Identify all the touchpoints your customers have with your people and your organization’s processes. Where is the potential for friction? Is it easy for your customers or not? For example, when they visit your website, are there self-service options available to them? And if those self-service options fail, is there an easy way for them to reach a human? Rate these touchpoints and interactions one of three ways: company focused, customer focused, or neutral. That will give you an idea of whether your policies and procedures are more focused on what’s easiest and best for your company or what’s easiest and best for your customer? If you aren’t focused like a laser on your customers, then you are at risk of losing them to a competitor who is.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go twww.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken


Learn more about your Guest touchpoints – 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 Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

Download PDF

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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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Clarity Process

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Three Signs of a Toxic Guest Culture

Poison is a funny thing.

We’re not talking about the late 80’s hair band, here, although they were very funny. (Some would say those guys were nothin’ but a good time.)

No, I mean funny more in an odd sense because – though poison is deadly – it’s often unnoticeable until it’s too late. It can be tasteless, odorless, and seemingly harmless. And then…bam. You’re gone.

Poison can wreak havoc on biological systems, but it also can kill cultural systems. Take your guest services culture, for example. Apply the poison of a toxic greeter, and the deadly effects will soon spread throughout the attitude and actions of every volunteer. Tap into the toxicity of an unhealthy approach – for example, not having a plan for serving guests – and soon your church growth and health will stagnate, decline, and die.

So how can you spot a toxic guest services culture? Like poison, it’s often unnoticeable until it’s too late. But there are three attitudes that might indicate toxicity amidst your team:

1. Having a guest services plan is a necessary evil.

We’d never say that. Nobody in their right mind would formulate those words and force them off of our tongues. Of course we want guests in our churches. No guests mean no growth. But in the way we plan for, resource, and maintain our guest services culture may very well reflect our core belief that this is more trouble than it’s worth. Caring for guests interrupts the status quo, because suddenly it’s not about us and what makes us comfortable. And while the above statement may never be articulated, it’s assumed by heavy sighs and eye rolls every time you bring up the need for a plan.

2. “We’ll do whatever it takes to bring ’em in.”

I refer to this as the “shock and awe” plan. We want guests to like us enough that they want to come back a second time, so we pull out all the stops when they show up the first time. We go way beyond inviting environments and assault the senses with a sense of desperation. Our all-encompassing goal is to get first-timers to take notice of our church, yet we fail to help them take notice of Jesus. And by the way…this is often an accusation lobbed at megachurches, but small churches can overdo it, too. It feels a little like the single male seminary student who uses the “God told me to marry you” line…it’s too much, too soon, and it’s off-putting.

3. We don’t need a team, because we’re already friendly.

I’ve been in a lot of churches, and I’ve yet to find one that’s not friendly. A quick five minute glance around the sanctuary or Sunday School room reveals people who are freely trading hugs and high fives, catching up on the news of the week, and even praying for each other’s needs. But there’s the rub…most church people are friendly to each other…to those we already know. It takes a great deal of intentionality to move beyond friendly to each other in order to be friendly to “others.” And if that intentionality isn’t intentionally installed, it’ll cause the culture of welcoming guests to shrivel up and die.

> Read more from Danny.


Learn more about the danger of a toxic Guest Experience – 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 Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

 

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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.

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Clarity Process

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Ten Better Practices for Effective Guest Response

The most-asked questions at each Auxano Guest Experience Boot Camp consistently revolve around recognizing, and hopefully eliciting, some kind of response from First Time Guests. After serving more than 100 churches and campuses while curating Guest Perspective Evaluations, I have observed various styles of church Welcome Team best practices in this arena. Here are a few common forms of Guest recognition that ultimately end in failure to produce a second visit:

The Family Reunion – We are very friendly and love it when we have first timers and they will definitely feel welcomed. But like the “last boyfriend,” we don’t expect them to be here the next time we gather so we do not invest much real effort.

The Sorority Ceremony – We quickly forget that we invited that guy to be Santa at our Christmas Party and leave him in the corner while we conduct some weird “OMG! You got engaged!” ritual. We feel sorry that he was uncomfortable and we wasted his time during exams week, but it’s our house and our rules.

The Eggshell Walk – We work hard to make sure our Guests can remain completely anonymous. However, in consciously sidestepping Guest parking spots or welcome centers, it becomes MORE conspicuous and uncomfortable to visit our campus and wander helplessly around for the first time.

The Humanitarian Relief – We are so tired from keeping the ministry held together and the lights turned on, that whenever a new family visits, they are mobbed like aid workers during a third-world famine. Every smile carries a certain sense of desperation and the hopes that “you are the one” that return us to our former glory.

Here are 10 Better Practices for Effective Guest Response:

  1. Remember to leave time for them to fill out the card. If you announce the seat/pew-back connection card immediately before the offering plate or another stand-and-sing song starts, people will not have time to fill it out. Think through your service timing and make welcome announcements intentional not automatic.
  2. Provide pens too. Keep the seats stocked or hand them out at the door. This simple reminder is essential for filling out cards and taking notes on the sermon. Invest in branded pens and invite them to “steal the pens” as long as they leave them for their server at lunch, alongside a generous tip.
  3. Don’t ask for too much information. Think through how much you are asking for on the connection cards and what you will do with it. Do you really need every data point, or just enough to follow-up the next week?
  4. Provide your contact information first. Why would a first time guest give you, a somewhat over-caffeinated announcement maker, their cell phone number? List your contact information, whatever you are asking for from them, first. Unless you are ready for them to call you randomly, do not expect to be able to call them randomly.
  5. Tell them why you want their information. If you need their address or cell phone number, then tell them why. If they know that you are just sending a thank-you note and not going to show up out of the blue some evening, they may be more likely to give it to you.
  6. Trade them for something. One great way to receive a Guest response is to give Guest swag. Consider a “swap” for the connection card in the form of a Bible, book, teaching resource or other tangible items. But be careful, some churches have gone too far with this idea!
  7. Tie their response to your vision. What if you choose to invite your Guests into God’s better future, to share in your missional calling, instead of just making the typical announcement? Let them know how their response demonstrates a core value of your church, represents the next step in their spiritual growth, or forms the foundation of long-term disciple-making success.
  8. Don’t send them to a back room or dark corner. Position any next steps, meet and greet areas, or welcome centers in prime locations within the flow of traffic. Very few people will go against the flow to huddle under the dark balcony stairs – no matter what new swag you have to give them.
  9. Plan for a multi-dimensional response. Create two to three different opportunities to respond rather than just relying on one card. You should provide online web forms, Facebook group pages and regular discovery classes to attend. Move beyond the worship tear-off card and look for other, natural opportunities to connect. Team up with the Kids ministry and share information about Guest families, as every parent will have given contact information at sign-in.
  10. Plan the work and work the plan. Think through the entire experience a new family will have at your church, from their first Google search to the ride home. Now think beyond the first visit and how that family will be engaged and growing in Christ at your church. Create a plan and the supporting systems that move people toward God’s better future, one step at a time. Assign one person to have ownership over the entire process, working with and for every ministry.

At Auxano, we use Seven Checkpoints to frame the Guest Experience process from the web to the welcome center. Interested in learning more? Bring a team of up to five leaders to one of our upcoming Guest Experience Boot Camps and learn how to integrate the seven checkpoints, as well as create an intuitive plan to get an excellent Guest response at your church.

> Read more from Bryan.


 

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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.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The New Trojan Horse

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.


Are you challenged in your efforts to implement organization-wide changes to improve your culture, the employee experience, and the customer experience?

Have you considered how a Trojan Mouse might help you gain traction in these efforts?

Trojan Mouse. What is it? And how does it differ from a Trojan Horse?

Well, right off the top of my head it seems like “Trojan Mouse” elicits an image of smallness, speed, and agility, while “Trojan Horse” makes me think of a larger undertaking that is a bit slower and more labored – in both planning and execution – and likely rejected.

Let’s start with what a Trojan Mouse is. From TrojanMice.com:

Much change is of the “Trojan Horse” variety. At the top of the organisation a decision is taken to introduce a strategic change programme, and consultants or an internal team are commissioned to plan it down to the very last detail. The planned changes are then presented at a grand event (the Trojan Horse) amid much loud music, bright lights, and dry ice. More often than not, however, a few weeks later the organisation will have settled back into its usual ways and rejected much of the change. This is usually because the change was too great to be properly understood and owned by the workforce.

Trojan mice, on the other hand, are small, well-focused changes, which are introduced on an ongoing basis in an inconspicuous way. They are small enough to be understood and owned by all concerned, but their effects can be far-reaching. Collectively a few trojan mice will change more than one Trojan Horse ever could.

What do you think of that?

I am immediately drawn to these two sentences: More often than not, however, a few weeks later the organisation will have settled back into its usual ways and rejected much of the change. This is usually because the change was too great to be properly understood and owned by the workforce.

Trojan Mice seem like a great approach to implementing change for a variety of reasons:

  • Trojan Mice address the last point in that second sentence – they are small enough to be understood and owned.
  • We often talk about quick wins and showing some successes before we do a full roll out of a CX strategy. Those small wins, those quick wins, are great examples of Trojan Mice, allowing for gradual adoption of – and engagement with – the larger journey.
  • Making small, nimble changes also limits risk or makes risk more tolerable as you design a new experience, develop new products, and find creative solutions to old problems. Think: fix fast, fail fast, fix fast.
  • You can deploy various changes at the same time, which means you can test which ones work and which don’t – allowing you to quickly retract the ones that won’t have the intended impact, learn from them, and redeploy with updates. Again: fail fast, fix fast.
  • Given that these changes are small and nimble, they will certainly help increase speed to market, i.e., you can get the solution out there quicker.
  • Small changes that are quickly accepted, understood, and owned will add up and make for a bigger impact quickly – and over time – than rolling out a Trojan Horse that baffles people and is immediately rejected.

People hate change. And if they don’t know what it is or why it’s taking place, they ignore it; they certainly don’t want to be a part of it. Why not break it down for them, simplify it, and help them understand and own it.

As I’ve said before, improving the customer experience happens in baby steps; Trojan Mice – small, yet impactful, examples with tangible value – may just be the quickest way to successful adoption of the CX strategy and to transformation success.

> Read more from Annette.


 

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

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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's got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their customers and employees and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience - so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. Annette is active in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), as: an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, and a CX Mentor. And she is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for successful business and career coaches. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience.

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What Mis-en-Place Means to Your Guest Experience

Despite how it may feel, competition for the spiritual attention and Sunday attendance of today’s family is not with the growing church down the road. Church leadership must redirect energy from being “bigger and better” than other churches, and instead see those places that provide “WOW! Experiences” as the real points of comparison among first time guests.

While that may seem like an impossible to achieve negative, this present reality can also be turned into a positive. Churches must start LEARNING from those top-notch places and their leaders.

Eating out at one-of-a-kind experiences has never been more popular or accessible. Celebrity chefs and buzz-creating restaurants are literally popping up in cities across the country, large and small. In the world of hospitality, the culinary segment has unique applications to the Guest Experience ministries of a church. The dining experience at a four-star restaurant provides excellent lessons for EXCEPTIONAL welcoming ministries in your church.

Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

With recommendations from one son who is a general manager for a national restaurant chain and another who is the chef at a conference center, today’s post, along with two more to follow, explores the food industry. In it we will focus on a behind-the-scenes look at the importance of hospitality from some of the best restaurants in the country.

Develop the art of mise-en-place.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Work Clean, by Dan Charnas

The first organizational book inspired by the culinary world, taking mise-en-place outside the kitchen.

Every day, chefs across the globe churn out enormous amounts of high-quality work with efficiency using a system called mise-en-place―a French culinary term that means “putting in place” and signifies an entire lifestyle of readiness and engagement. In “Work Clean,” Dan Charnas reveals how to apply mise-en-place outside the kitchen, in any kind of work.

Culled from dozens of interviews with culinary professionals and executives, including world-renowned chefs like Thomas Keller and Alfred Portale, this essential guide offers a simple system to focus your actions and accomplish your work. Charnas spells out the 10 major principles of mise-en-place for chefs and non chefs alike: (1) planning is prime; (2) arranging spaces and perfecting movements; (3) cleaning as you go; (4) making first moves; (5) finishing actions; (6) slowing down to speed up; (7) call and callback; (8) open ears and eyes; (9) inspect and correct; (10) total utilization.

This journey into the world of chefs and cooks shows you how each principle works in the kitchen, office, home, and virtually any other setting.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Every day, chefs across the globe put out enormous amounts of high quality work with efficiency using a system called mise-en-place – a French culinary term that means “putting in place” and signifies an entire lifestyle of readiness and engagement.

For the culinary student, it is usually the beginning point of their career. But it is a beginning point that is repeated every day of their career – it’s the first thing they will do at the start of each day’s work.

Mise-en-place means far more than simply assembling all the ingredients, pots and pans, plates, and serving pieces needed for a particular period. Mise-en-place is also a state of mind. Someone who has truly grasped the concept is able to keep many tasks in mind simultaneously, weighing and assigning each its proper value and priority. This assures that the chef has anticipated and prepared for every situation that could logically occur during a service period.

Mise-en-place as a simple guide to focusing your actions and accomplishing your work is a necessary first step on the way to an exceptional guest experience.

Mise-en-place comprises three central values: preparation, process, and presence. When practiced by great chefs, these three mundane words become profound. The byproduct of these values may be wealth or productivity, but the true goal is excellence.

Preparation

Chefs commit to a life where preparation is central, not an add-on or an afterthought. To become a chef is to accept the fact that you will always have to think ahead, and to be a chef means that thinking and preparation are as integral to the job as cooking. For the chef, cooking comes second. Cooking can’t happen without prep coming first.

Embracing preparation also means jettisoning the notion that prep work is somehow menial, beneath us. Your preparation – and its intellectual cousin, planning – thus becomes a kind of spiritual practice: humble, tireless, and nonnegotiable.

Process

Preparation and planning along are not enough to create excellence. Chefs must also execute that prepared plan in an excellent way. S they ensure excellent execution by tenacious pursuit of the bet process to do just about everything.

A commitment to process doesn’t mean following tedious procedures and guidelines for their own sake. It’s not about turning humans into hyper-efficient robots. Process is, quite the contrary, about becoming a high-functioning human being and being happier for it.

Excellence arises from refining good process – how can I do this better or easier, or with less waste? It’s a job, like preparation, that never ends.

Presence

Chefs commit to being present in ways from the mundane to the sublime.

After months and years of repeated prep and process, the cook acquires a deeper kind of presence – becoming one with the work, and the work becoming kind of meditation. “Kitchen awareness” demands that one not only be “with” the work, but also “with” your comrades and their work at the same time.

This kind of awareness isn’t scatteredness. It is, quite the contrary, something closer to what the Eastern traditions call mindfulness.

Presence in all its forms – getting there, staying there, being focused, being open, and cultivating boundaries – helps us adjust our preparation and process as the circumstances shift around us.

Dan Charnas, Work Clean – What Great Chefs Can Teach Us About Organization

A NEXT STEP

The three values listed above – preparation, process, and presence- aren’t ideals to admire and applaud. They must be practiced – and can be, by anyone, anywhere.

To apply the values listed above to your hospitality ministry, begin by creating three chart tablets, writing the values above, one word per page.

Read the descriptions listed for each value.

In a discussion with your team, walk through your guest experience from beginning to end, and list each action on the appropriate page. If it fits on more than one page, put it on the page it makes most sense, or is strongest.

Review the lists with your team.

  • What’s missing? Write it in, and assign it to a leader, along with a timeline, for development.
  • What needs to be made stronger? Write it in, and assign it to a leader, along with a timeline, for strengthening.
  • What’s unnecessary? Remove it from the list, and your regular activities.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 73-1, released 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 <<


 

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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.

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The Single Greatest Sacrifice You Can Make for a Guest

August kicks off “Guest Experience Month” on Auxano’s content platforms, and there’s no better way to get an early start than with a guest post from Jason Young, Director of Guest Experience at Buckhead Church and Northpoint Ministries.


 

A single mother came into our services looking for a seat. She requested a seat at the end of a row so she could quickly slip out in the event that her child needed attention during the service. I found a row where this might be possible and asked a woman who was already seated, “Ma’am, would it be possible for you to scoot down? This lady needs an aisle seat this morning.”

The woman in the seat looked down, then back up and said, “She can walk around me.”

I apologetically looked at my guest, walked her away from the seat, and said, “I’m sorry ma’am. If you would like to sit in an aisle seat, we don’t have to sit there because that doesn’t feel like the most enjoyable place to sit.” Then I escorted her to another seating area.

If I had said nothing or seated her next to the inconsiderate lady, I would have left my guest feeling the embarrassment and shame of the situation. But because I acknowledged the situation and protected my guest, she felt empowered again. She felt comfortable and respected.

We’re all familiar with the idea of a bodyguard. In fact, you’ve probably seen a dramatic scene in a movie where a gunshot rings out. The film speed slows down as the brave bodyguard hurls himself in front of the person he’s protecting. His body inches in front of the bullet where it makes its impact. The film speeds up, chaos ensues, and you see the relief on the protected person’s face. The bodyguard saved their life by taking the bullet. The brave protector considered the life of their client more important than their own.

While my story isn’t quite as dramatic as that, that’s essentially what I was trying to do for the single mother who attended our service. I was a bodyguard for her. I took the bad experience on myself so she didn’t have to experience it.

That’s the single greatest sacrifice we can make for our guests:

Brokering bad moments so they don’t have to experience them.

 There are many ways we can do this for a guest. Jonathan Malm and I offer quite a few ideas in our new book, The Come Back Effect. Some simple ways, though, are things like:

  • The guest doesn’t have to feel lost when they can’t find their car. The parking lot attendant takes that emotion on themselves and finds it for them.
  • The guest doesn’t have to feel embarrassed when their child throws up in the children’s room. The childcare worker takes that emotion on themselves and cleans it up.
  • The guest doesn’t have to feel confused when they’re trying to find out the time of a support group that meets at the church. The greeter takes that feeling, absorbs it, and does the legwork to find out for the guest.

Brokering the experience for the guest is about sheltering them from the emotion. It’s jumping in front of the uncomfortable bullet and absorbing that so the guest doesn’t have to experience it.

When we acknowledge what they’re feeling and work to protect them from that, we make a guest feel truly honored.

In fact, you can even use language like that. It disarms a guest when you say something like:

  • “I’ll keep you from feeling embarrassed.”
  • “I don’t want you to feel lost.”
  • “You got here at the perfect time!”

We never want to reinforce a guest’s insecurities. Instead, we want to reinforce their security. Their comfort. Their confidence. Those emotions are memorable and will stick with the guest long after their visit is over.

Think through your service right now—through things a typical first-time guest has to experience. What negative emotions might they feel, regardless of whether or not they’re your fault or not? Now look for ways you and your team can broker the experience so they don’t have to go through that. It’s one of the greatest acts of love you can do for the guests who attend your services.

check out The Come Back Effect, by Jason Young and Jonathan Malm.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

 

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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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9 Secrets to a Great Guest Experience

It’s time for the second session of the summer term of the 2016 GsD program, and just as in previous summer terms, we are conducting a reading survey course. Over the next few weeks, I will be listing a broad overview of some of the best literature in the field of customer service – and you will quickly see how it connects to Guest Experiences! It’s only an introduction to whet your appetite – the application to the world of Guest Experiences for churches will come in the second summer term!

2016 GsD Summer Term 1 Survey of Customer Experience Literature 201

Text: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service

Author: Chip Bell

Synopsis: Chip Bell has written a delicious book that will make your mouth water! As you might guess from the title, Bell uses language and examples from the culinary world to focus on providing “that surprise that takes service from great to awesome.” Subtitled Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Serviceit delivers a delicious journey to innovative service.

According to Bell, there are nine “secret sauces” that form the basis for a customer experience that is served gourmet style.

Want to learn how “secret sauces” can be used to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

Outline

> Amazement

Amazement can be defined as “a feeling of great surprise or wonder.” When Guests come to your church, they are probably expecting several things, one of which is to be made welcome. Because today’s church Guests live in a consumeristic world, they often expect more than just a normal greeting; anything less is a negative.

The secret sauce of Amazement takes the welcome concept to a whole new level. To differentiate yourself from your competition (which isn’t other churches, by the way), how can you amaze your Guest? What will you say, do, and/or provide that takes away your Guest’s breath, capturing their attention and ruining their appetite for your competition?

> Animation

Animation can be defined as “ the state of being full of life or vigor; liveliness.” Guests coming to your church will be frustrated by indifference. They spend enough of their day at work or other places encountering boring, comatose service. Surely it will be different at a church?

The secret sauce of Animation is present when your team members are alive and spirited. They anticipate Guests, eagerly welcome them, and leave the Guest’s energy level higher than they found it. What does your organization do to instill and inspire in your teams so that they are full of life?

> Abundance

Abundance can be defined as “a very large quantity of something.” Who isn’t surprised and delighted when receiving a little something “extra”?

The secret sauce of Abundance is demonstrated by the generous attitude your team presents to Guests. Almost magnetic, it attracts Guests because it conveys an unconditional positive regard. How are you developing your teams to go beyond the expected with a generous spirit and attitude?

> Ambiance

Ambiance can be defined as “the character and atmosphere of a place.” As humans, we are wired to favor symmetry. Our psyche reads dissonance in an experience long before our logical mind comprehends the reason. When you weave all five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste) together, you can create an experience that yields a story your Guests are eager to spread.

The secret sauce of Ambiance involves integrating all the sensory elements of a Guest Experience so they are congruent around a compelling story, theme, or vision. The secret is attention to minute details because the Guest’s brain can pick up any dissonant signal or symbol. What opportunities would you discover if you looked at your organization’s environment and experience with all five senses in mind?

> Adoration

Adoration can be defined as “deep love and respect.” There is no greater gift one can give a Guest than serving them with love. Love is also expressed in how your team members love the organization they represent.

The secret sauce of Adoration comes from ensuring that your front line team members know your organization’s benefits, not just the feature. It comes from investing in your team’s training. What can you do to make your Guests fall in love with the team member and the experience they are receiving?

> Allegiance

Allegiance can be defined as “loyalty of an individual to a commitment or cause.” It is created through the small acts of communication and caring that make Guests feel they can trust your team members to serve them well.

The secret sauce of Allegiance is demonstrated when your team members treat Guests like valued neighbors rather than strangers. It grows as a trusting relationship is developed, with a focus on the Guest, not the task at hand. How will your organization deliver an unexpected surprise to Guests, seeking to build trust with them in every encounter?

> Alliance

Alliance can be defined as “an association formed for mutual benefit, or a relationship based on an affinity in interests, nature, or qualities.” Guests care when they share, particularly if sharing is invited, not expected. Simplicity and sincerity are important to remember when helping the Guest move toward a position of helping you.

The secret sauce of Alliance reminds us that the partnership between team members and Guests always carries a co-created experience. Guest inclusion begins by being comfortable enough to ask the Guest for assistance. It also means being willing at times to sacrifice a little on efficiency or effectiveness for the commitment gained through participation. How are you involving your Guests in a partnership that creates and delivers an exceptional experience?

> Accessible

Accessible can be defined as “able to be reached or entered.” Recent research shows that being easy to do business with trumps every other feature of basic customer service. When a customer feels they can connect with you anytime, even big problems can be reduced to manageable proportions. Make access to stressless service a vital and obvious part of your Guest Experience recipe. After all, “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.”

The secret sauce of Accessible is best used by examining your Guest’s experience through their eyes. Often, that involves the conscious effort to see details that we are blind to. When was the last time you took an “empathy walk” in the shoes of your Guests, experiencing exactly what they do?

> Adventure

Adventure can be defined as “an unusual or exciting experience or activity.” Is the Guest Experience you provide more like a light or a candle? Lights are important because they provide us with the capacity to see or see better. Candles do they same thing, but with style. If you want a romantic dinner, you don’t just turn on the light.

The secret sauce of Adventure reminds us that a great Guest Experience is light-like, but an innovative Guest Experience is candle-like. People who deliver great Guest Experiences focus on being good at what they do; people who deliver innovative Guest Experiences seek to add imagination to what they do. What could your organization do to make your Guest’s experience unexpectedly unique?

About the author: Chip Bell, senior partner with the Chip Bell Group, is a renowned keynote speaker, consultant, trainer, and speaker to some of the largest and most well-known organizations around the world. A prolific author, he has written or co-written twenty books, many of which were bestsellers.

Additional Resources: Check out the book website for more information, including a video overview of the book as well as a free download of Chapter 1.


A Quick Comment: Just like a chef takes a basic sauce and makes it into the foundation of an exquisite meal, your organization can take the “secret sauces” Bell writes about in Sprinkles and deliver a “value-unique” service that creates an unexpected, enchanting experience for those you serve.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief culinary excursion into the 9 Secret Sauces from Chip Bell’s wonderful book Sprinkles. I’ve only briefly touched the surface of the great ideas you will find in it. Want to create a great Guest Experience recipe? Look no further than Sprinkles!

 


Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD (Doctor of Guestology) is my tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the 2013 GsD Summer Reading 101 classes, you can begin reading a 10-part session here.

For more reading in the area of Guest Experiences, check out my Essential Guest Experience Library. I am always adding new resources for your learning pleasure!

> Read more from Bob


 

 

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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. 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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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.