Breakthrough Guest Experience Ideas with Danny Franks

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

Here are some key breakthrough ideas with Danny:

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

Listen to the whole podcast here.

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

Click here for more information and registration.

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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

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What a Professional Chef Can Cook-Up for Your Guest Experience

The dining experience at a four-star restaurant provides excellent lessons for hospitality in the church.

With one son who is the general manager of a restaurant that is part of a national restaurant chain and another who is the food services manager for a conference center, I have a serious interest in all things food. My waistline also shows that, but that’s another story.

During a visit to my older son’s house I was perusing his bookshelf and took a look at “On the Line“, about the famous New York restaurant Le Bernardin and Executive Chef Eric Ripert. It’s a well-written and beautifully photographed look at the inner workings of the world-famous restaurant.

It’s also full of great lessons for churches that want to have world-class Guest Experiences.

 

Your church will not be serving exquisite meals that diners pay big bucks for – but your church can learn that the meal is only a part of the total dining experience which is EXCEPTIONAL.

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.

 

The Dining Experience

One of the things that diners remark upon after eating at Le Bernardin is that the service is almost invisible. By the end of the meal, you’ve been helped by as many as seven people, but you can’t quite identify them. Although friendly and available, they work out of your field of attention so that you can focus on the food, and companions, in front of you.

While it might seem effortless, it’s a rigorous ballet that requires training and focus. The men and women juggle a plethora of details in their heads while projecting an air of gracious calm.

We have to perform to give you an illusion of effortless perfection. For you to have the right food in front of you at the right time, excellent and at the right temperature, and obviously having clean china – all those little details you’d never think of are vital

– Eric Ripert

THE QUICK SUMMARY – On the Line, by Eric Ripert

Take one top New York restaurant, add danger, drama, and dialogue, toss in their best recipes, and you have a cooking classic.

How does a 4-star restaurant stay on top for more than two decades? In On the Line, chef Eric Ripert takes readers behind the scenes at Le Bernardin, one of just three New York City restaurants to earn three Michelin stars. Any fan of gourmet dining who ever stole a peek behind a restaurant kitchen’s swinging doors will love this unique insider’s account, with its interviews, inventory checklists, and fly-on-the-wall dialogue that bring the business of haute cuisine to life.

From the sudden death of Le Bernardin’s founding chef, Gilbert Le Coze, to Ripert’s stressful but triumphant takeover of the kitchen at age 29, the story has plenty of drama. But as Chef Ripert and writer Christine Muhlke reveal, every day is an adventure in a perfectionistic restaurant kitchen. Foodies will love reading about the inner workings of a top restaurant, from how a kitchen is organized to the real cost of the food and the fierce discipline and organization it takes to achieve culinary perfection on the plate almost 150,000 times a year.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

The most visible part of a dining experience is the food placed on the table in front of the diner. However, that meal represents many people doing many different tasks, some hours ahead of the mealtime.

Excellence happens best when it’s not seen at all. Your meal should be relaxed and gracious, but it’s hard to imagine the military precision with which the dining room is run.

Excellence doesn’t happen by accident but instead is the result of a series of intentional elements of service.

The center of attention in a four-star restaurant may be the food, but it’s the service before, during, and after that creates the experience.

At Le Bernardin in New York City, the service is as much the creation of Executive Chef Eric Ripert as is his exquisite dishes. Along with the restaurant’s founder Maguy Le Coze, Ripert has created the elements of service that keep Le Bernardin at the top of its class.

Hiring– while they prefer staff with a two- or three- star background, they have been known to go with their gut instinct and hire the people they like, those that have the demeanor and willingness to please.

Training– the standard of perseverance and constant training is set at the top and carried throughout the organization. General manager David Mancini and Maître d’ Ben Chekroun want each hire to know what goes into every other job on the floor. The constant cross training that goes on enables the entire staff from the captains to the busboys to operate in a seamless, fluid manner.

Knowledge– The level of service expected by customers at Le Bernardin is matched and exceeded by the knowledge the staff constantly pursues. From the technical side (knowing the menu by heart, how each serving is prepared, the correct place settings, etc.) to the human aspect (learning to watch guests for clues, anticipating their needs), the staff is always learning.

Attitude– over the years the atmosphere has become less formal, but Le Bernardin’s staff will provide what you are looking for: to celebrate, to eat, to do business, to entertain the family. Their goal is for you to enjoy the experience and leave happy with a smile.

The Sixth Sense– Chekroun says that the ability to read a guest is the key to providing four-star service. “You can tell if someone is used to a four-star restaurant or it’s their first time. It’s our job to put them at ease no matter the situation. Intuition is very important on the floor – before a guest can ask “Where’s my waiter?” you must be there.”

Teamwork– At Le Bernardin, service is like the proverbial chain – a weak link will compromise the whole thing. Anyone on the chain, from the time you make a reservation till the moment you leave, can ruin the experience. It’s all about functioning as a team; even though the service is broken into sections, that’s merely strategic. The entire team is expected to understand the ebb and flow of the service and step in before needed.

Presentation– The hallmark of the food at Le Bernardin is the exquisite simplicity of the food, which calls for adding the final touch at the table. The sauces for the meal are served at the table, which provides several advantages: warmer service, better flavors, and eye-catching presentations.

Eric Ripert, On The Line

A NEXT STEP

Let’s step away from the elegance of Le Bernardin and visit your church. Is it too big a jump to imagine that your hospitality needs to have the same elements of service as a four-star restaurant?

List the seven elements of service noted above, each on a chart tablet page.

After reading the description for each one, brainstorm with your team how that element of service applies to your hospitality ministry.

For each of the seven elements, write one or more actions that your hospitality teams are currently doing that are working well. Ask the question “Is this good enough, or can we do better?” List the responses on the appropriate page.

Now go back to the seven elements, this time looking for areas that are either a total miss or sorely lacking. Ask the question “How can we make this better?” List the responses on the appropriate page.

Finally, review all of the actions you have listed. Circle the top three your team wants to pursue in each category, and assign responsibility and timelines for each.

In ninety days, reconvene your team, bring out the chart tablets, and update progress and results for each of the actions circled.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 73-2, issued 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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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Timeless Call of Guest Engagement

Epiphany at the Gas Pump

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

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

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

My father.

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

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

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

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

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

And a closing reminder:

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

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

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

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

> Read more from Bob.


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


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

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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

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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.

Download PDF

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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

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.


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

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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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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The Exceptional Guest Experience, Part 2: PROCESS

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

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

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

We’ll be friendlier.

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

But why settle for good?

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

  1. Place
  2. Process
  3. People

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

The catch?

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

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

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

The PROCESS you use to welcome Guests

THE QUICK SUMMARYDisney U, by Doug Lipp

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

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

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

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van France

Simple service standards can be powerful tools in any organization.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Doug Lipp, Disney U

A NEXT STEP

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

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

Simplify the Complex

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

It’s All about the Basics

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

Great Trainers Transfer Knowledge

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

Making Your Standard Manageable

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

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


 

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

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

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

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

 


 

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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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Clarity Process

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Your Guests Need Presence, Not Just Proximity

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

Don’t mistake proximity for presence.

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

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

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

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

It’s time to move from proximity to presence.

 

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

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

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

The interactions that take place between your team members and the Guests in those 24 inches are rich with expectations – and can also be filled with missed opportunities.

In that space your front-line team members have become the face and voice of your organization.

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

How they represent themselves, what they do (or don’t do), what they say (or don’t say) – that’s the powerful human “ first impression” your Guest is experiencing – and will remember.

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

…or are they just in proximity?

> Read more from Bob.


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


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

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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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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

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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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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.