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It seems that good customer experience is never out of date.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

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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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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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.

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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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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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.

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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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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

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.


 

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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.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

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.

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). 

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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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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Your Guests Need Presence, Not Just Proximity

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.

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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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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

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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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

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

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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.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

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.

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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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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Guests Need This One Connection

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.


A good movie has the power to make us laugh, cry, angry, hungry, or even want to quit our job, unplug, and live in the wilderness for the rest of our natural life.

A lot goes into a movie to make us feel so emotionally invested that we’ll want to tell our friends about our experience immediately.

  • We’ll tweet about it…
  • Share our critiques on Facebook…
  • Or, go straight to Instagram Live
    • …with a face still glowing from all the excitement!

For this reason, the entertainment industry spends more time studying one aspect even more than the most advanced visual effects or new camera angles:

Human emotion!

Why?

It’s because an emotional connection is the most potent and influential connection possible.

To make 1997’s Titanic, it cost a staggering $200 million. (In 1997 dollars!)

However, not very many people stepped out of the theatre marveling over the fact that a special Russian submarine was used or every detail on the ship matched the original Titanic down to the doorknob. The audience walked out in a trance, swooning over Jack and Rose’s romance, saddened by the massive loss of life — or enraged that Jack’s death could have been prevented had Rose just shared the door she was floating on!

  • The fact is, people rarely remember the details.
  • But they will remember how something made them feel.
    • And that’s why ALL business is “show business.”

It has come to the point where we have created a culture of customers who demand compelling experiences whenever they do business.

Regardless of your industry, what your product or service is, you’re selling an experience.

The entertainment business has already unlocked this secret and recognize that the more powerful the connection, the greater the success. Ultimately, to succeed individually and organizationally, you need to change the way you relate to customers and employees.

And I’m not saying that you should be more entertaining. Entertainment, after all, isn’t all song and dance, explosions or slapstick. A CEO isn’t expected to be a stand-up comedian at corporate meetings, and a barista isn’t supposed to break out in song the next time someone orders a latte.

However, there are industries such as retail or hospitality who will find that by increasing humor and fun, they’re creating and enhancing their connection with customers and employees. And a B2B organization or an insurance firm may find that by showing genuine care, concern, and empathy, an emotional bond is formed because the clients feel their unique challenges are understood and being taken care of.

To approach your business as “show business” is not to be confused with putting on an act, being overly dramatic, or being fake.

  • It’s about differentiating yourself from the competition by understanding your clients in the same way that show business understands their audience.
  • It’s about creating specific strategies based on your customer’s distinct preference in order to deliver experiences that are compelling and engaging.

It’s about taking what we can learn from the entertainment business and leverage that insight into building strong and lasting emotional connections with our clients and colleagues.

> Read more from Scott.


 

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

Download PDF

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott McKain

Scott McKain

Scott McKain is an internationally known authority who helps organizations create distinction in every phase of business and teaches the “Ultimate Customer Experience.” His keynote presentations benefit from three decades of experience, combined with his innate talent for articulating successful ideas. McKain has spoken before and consulted for the world’s most influential corporations. Scott McKain creates captivating presentations and bestselling books which clearly reveal how to create more compelling connections between you and your customers and how to stand out and move up, regardless of the economic climate in your industry.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.