Guest services matter for churches and children’s ministries. Customer service isn’t only a concern for stores and restaurants. Read on to discover how to get visitors to return to your kidmin program and church.
Why aren’t people coming back to your church? Maybe they’re not having the best guest services experience in your children’s ministry. Think about a bad encounter you’ve had as a consumer. I’m sure you remember it. Here are some reviews I read recently.
“The pizza was frozen, the staff wasn’t helpful, and most parents didn’t know how to watch their kids. I’d rather pass kidney stones without pain medication than be dragged here again.”
“One of our friends has type 1 diabetes. While we stood waiting for a table, his hands began shaking. It looked like he was going into diabetic shock, which can be prevented with a quick infusion of sugar. One of us frantically asked a server behind the bar for a glass of orange juice. ‘Our diabetic friend needs some sugar ASAP.’ The server looked at our friend’s shaking hands, looked at her, and said, ‘Nice act.’ What happened next? Our friend went into shock.”
I seriously doubt those people ever went back there. Instead, they probably spread the word about the bad customer service. Contrast that to when you receive great customer service. We don’t forget that either, do we? And we spread the word when we find a place that really values customers.
The people walking into your church doors aren’t comparing your guest service to just other churches. They’re comparing it to places of business, restaurants, clothing stores, and other establishments.
Want visitors to return to your church? Then you must provide great guest services.
10 Ways to Improve Your KidMin Guest Services
1. Provide great parking.
I chuckle when a church reserves parking for the pastor and staff up front. I’m all for honoring pastors, but I believe we should give guests the best spots. Pastors, staff and volunteers can lead the way by parking in the worst spots and saving the best spots for guests.
The sermon starts in the parking lot. Think about that when you’re driving around Target, looking for parking. Once in awhile, the seas of cars will part and you land a spot up front. You walk into the store whistling a tune.
When you reserve great parking for guests, that’s how they’ll feel as they walk into your church. You’re off to a great start with guest services.
2. Have clear outside signage.
Next, it helps to know where to walk in the building. I spend a lot of weekends consulting with churches. One large church had no outside signage. I finally parked as close as I could to the big front doors.
But then I discovered they were locked. Although it looked like an entrance, it wasn’t. I walked to four other doors until I finally found one that was open. I walked down the hallway and opened another door, suddenly realizing it was the baptistry. A few more steps and I would’ve made a splashing entrance into worship.
Needless to say, it was a frustrating experience. It could’ve been avoided with simple outside entrance signs. This is especially helpful if families have children and seek an entrance into the children’s area.
3. Post friendly greeters at doors.
Notice the word friendly. It’s important who serves as greeters. Some people must’ve been baptized in pickle juice. They have the personality of a prune and will not make ideal greeters. Your greeters are the face of your church. So place smiling, positive, helpful, pleasant people at the doors. Train them to make people feel welcome and comfortable.
4. Have a separate check-in area for guests.
Avoid lines to provide the best guest services. One suggestions is having a separate check-in area for guests. This also lets you focus solely on them and give them the royal treatment.
5. Train your guest services team on what NOT to say.
It’s just as important to know what NOT to say to visitors. For example:
- Instead of saying “I don’t know,” say, “Let me find out for you.”
- Instead of “She’s can’t talk right now,” say, “She’s currently teaching. I’d be happy to let her know you stopped by and give her a message.”
- Instead of saying “No problem,” say, “It’s my pleasure.”
- Instead of “It’s over there,” say, “I’d be happy to show you. Follow me.”