Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ (American, 1937?-), "O Root" (from the "O Antiphons" series). Of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Tags: Tree of Jesse. Source: http://csjstpaul.org/ansgar_holmbergs_o_antiphon_paintings.aspx; http://yokeofchrist.blogspot.com/2010/12/o-root-of-jesse.html

Delivering Customer Service

Follow these 10 tips, and your guest will be very, very happy.

A widely quoted statistic gets to the heart of the value proposition behind evangelism: The cost of acquiring a new member is five times that of retaining an existing one. For Churches that succeed by forming a bond with the guest, the disparity is surely even greater.

Good Hospitality is essentially a variation on the golden rule: You want to meet the same expectations you would have if you were the guest. “The basic things will never change,” says Tom Burfinger, church consultant, “If people believe that they’re being remembered and are known to the church, that will have a positive impact on their disposition toward your church.”

Providing good hospitality is often a matter of common sense, but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally to all church people. For some, in fact, it means behaving differently than they do in other areas of their life. If you are used to fighting about every detail of a business deal, say, you may have to adjust your attitude when it comes to church.

Caring for Guest

1. Great Hospitality Begins With You
Simply put, the most inspiring leadership is by example. If you show indifference to your guest, your congregation will mimic it. If you are enthusiastic and courteous, your troops are more likely to be so as well.

2. A Culture of Hospitality Must Be Codified
Share with your hospitality team and your entire congregation core values that celebrate the guest coming to church, but don’t call them rules.

Team training on hospitality should be intensive: written materials, verbal instruction, mentors, and role-playing demonstrations all ought to be part of the coursework.

3. Congregation Members Are Not Excluded to Hospitality
Churches renowned for their hospitality treat their regular attenders as they would have their first time guest. Regular attenders take on more responsibility because they know they are appreciated and an important part of the team. People who don’t feel like they’re part of the bigger picture, who feel like a small cog in a big machine, are not willing to go the extra mile.

4. Emphasize the Long Term
Short-term practices can sometimes undermine the second visit. We’ve improved the percentage of returning guest by improving the performance of the larger group in the middle of the bell curve. By this we don’t seemed targeted to only the first timers, we seem genuine to everyone present.  People mention a spirit about the place.

5. Build Trust
Ask for a name if you don’t know it and use it back to show them you cared enough to learn it.

6. Listen
The best greeters spend 80 percent of their time listening, not talking. Ask open-ended questions to elicit guest’s needs and wants. Once they’ve identified what they’re looking for, introduce them to someone you know that have similar interest.

If the guest is “just check it out,” don’t press further. But be discreetly nearby. You need to be within earshot or eyeshot, because a need might arise.

7. Sometimes It’s the Little Things That Matter
Small gestures that anticipate guest’s needs or attend to their comforts — such as if a mother carrying an infant in a car seat in one hand and a toddler on the other is coming to the door, offer to take the car seat, the diaper bag or toddler — go a long way toward winning them over.

8. If You Can’t Help a Guest, Point to a Church That Can
We can’t be all things for all people.  for example, if you don’t run a youth program and a guest asked about a program for their youth age children, tell them about a church’s youth group down the road.  Chances are They’ll be back because they recognize you care to share and your not in competition.

9. Show Your Appreciation
One important element of retaining guest is communication. A personalized thank-you note after a visit and even a follow-up phone call later. In a retail business, loyalty programs or rewards cards drive repeat business (as well as help you collect information about what your customers are buying). Churches can recognize birthdays,  anniversaries or community achievements.

10. Treat Your Returning Guests Better
If your church relies on a relatively small hospitality team to provide a all your hospitality, it makes sense to devote energy to have them remember returning guest. Make sure at least one of the hospitality team see the cards that the guest fill out.  The names on the cards may jog the memory that helps you remember returning guest,

You might, for example, keep track of their preferences and let them know when new ministries are that they are likely to be interested in–our church software does this.

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