I had the chance to connect with Jason Young (@JasonYoungLive) who oversees Guest Services for Northpoint Ministries. I toured the church as an extension of That Church Conference in Atlanta, and then Jason spoke with our whole group about how they approach guest services across multiple campuses.
Jason gave us 7 concepts to take away about how one of the fastest growing churches (and one of the largest) focusses on an experience that makes people want to come back. With his permission, I’m sharing these 7 come back ideas with you. I’m going to paraphrase the summary of the ideas in my own words.
When we create an experience, we’re actually creating 2 experiences
We’re creating an experience for the guest (That’s the obvious one) but we’re also creating an experience for the volunteers. Of those 2 experiences, focus most on the volunteer experience. If your volunteers feel welcome and part of what’s going on at your church, they’ll create an environment that welcomes guests to make them feel a part of what’s going on at your church.
Choose Hospitality over Service
Service is the act of what we’re doing (ie. opening a door for someone) but Hospitality is focussed around who we are – we welcome people when we open the door, ask how their week was when we hand them the pen, smile and thank them for coming as we show them the closest parking spot. Your guests won’t walk away saying “Wow, the way the door got opened was exactly the right speed.” or “Did you see how they handed me the pen with their left hand so they could shake my right hand?”
Hopefully they’ll walk away saying “I felt welcome,” or “They were really helpful.”
Elevate the Dignity of each guest
We don’t know what someone has been through in the last month, week, day or even few minutes. Whether someone is having a bad day, or even if they’re having a good day, find a way to make it a great day.
It’s a WIN when guest services becomes a culture, not a department
If you hear someone saying “I don’t open doors, that’s a guest services thing.” or they walk past a piece of trash and leave it for the custodian to pick up, then those are indications that guest services is a department. If you sound guy walks into the lobby and sees someone looking lost and points them in the right direction, or a parking lot attendant helps a mom with her bags so she can bring her child to class – that’s a win. When everyone realizes that guest services is part of who you are, you’re on your way to creating that culture.
How we feel about a guest walking in will be directly reflected in how they feel walking out.
See a person, not a crowd. Hear a story, not noise.
Each person matters and has a story. If you choose to connect with that one person in that one moment and give them your full attention and be fully present, you’ll create a rare connection that is difficult to find in our busy world, and that rare connection with you will be connected to your church.
Small wins feel good and create momentum
Celebrate wins within your guest services team. Someone asks for a pen and the conversation leads to the accepting Jesus – that’s a win. Someone found your church on google and came for the first time – that’s a win. A new family says their kids loved your church and want to come back – that’s a win! Each time you celebrate a win, you are helping your team realize and recognize that they are making an impact on the come back decision.
What are the major touch points (At the Bulkhead campus, those are Parking lot, entrance, finding your way in the lobby, information and auditorium.) How will visitors experience these touch points, and how do they transition between them. Analyze each “Scene” as a piece of the puzzle, but view each scene in the context of the full experience – not isolated from each other.