guest services

You could miss this Easter opportunity, but you don't have to...

A few days ago, a pastor asked me if I had any “Easter tips” to share. My pastor friend, like most churches, has begun or already planned their Easter weekend services. Having a few tips isn’t a bad idea. 

This Easter we will all expect new guests, many of them returning to church - any church - for the first time in years. There will be people who appear “new,” but who gather with our faith communities twice a year: Easter and Christmas. Most of us will see more people attend our Easter services than on a “normal” weekend. Because of this, it’s not unusual

It’s in You. And Your Team. Let’s Access It.

You know it’s good - your leadership, your team, your work, your life - but, there’s a gnawing sense that it could be better. More focused. More replenishing. More you.

I only have a few spots left

10 Reasons You're Not Ready to Welcome New Guests

You don’t intend to not be ready. You really want everyone to feel welcome. You even have some greeters at the front door. People are shaking hands, and they appear to be friendly. 

However, every weekend people walk into churches across America and feel less than welcome. They don't know what to do or where to go. They feel like strangers.

Here are 10 reasons you and your church may not be ready to welcome new guests to your weekend service: 

  1. Your culture is developed for “family” and every weekend is a reunion. Unfortunately, guests can sense when they aren’t treated as family.
  2. You have a “friendly” church. Unfortunately,...

Story-telling. And Story-listening.

The numbers we count in our weekend services represent faces. Faces of men and women and children. And those faces hold stories, everyone of them. Personal and real stories. And while we may not get the opportunity to engage every detail of every life story on the weekend, if we're listening, we will walk away with stories.

On one weekend alone, I heard stories...

People Matter. How Do They Know?

It's one thing to say "people matter," it's another to assess, invest and train so that all your systems, processes, and teams genuinely communicate "people matter."

What about your guest experiences?

  • Your weekend services.
  • Your mid-size events.
  • Groups. Classes

How are you consistently communicating "people matter" - to God and to your church? All of us have room for improvement. We benefit from outside-our-viewpoint perspective...

Avoiding the Christmas Crowd Trap

I don't know about your church, but at Granger Community, we expect a lot of additional guests around the holidays. Thousands, actually. We host a production on weeknights to offer a unique venue to "church" for our friends in the community (This year, Scrooge: a Modern Musical). We offer ten Christmas Eve services on three campuses, along with our regular offering of eight weekend services

We expect thousands of new people this Christmas season. People who haven't attended church services much, if at all, the rest of the year.

There's a hidden trap in all this. When we acknowledge that many of our guests don't attend services except at Christmas time (or Easter), we are prone to assume they won't return 'til next year. 

And that subtle assumption can adversely affect our approach to guests this season: 

  • We may focus on "managing the crowd" and overlook...

Volunteer Owned Best Practices...by Email

Excellent guest service - whether in a local church, community non-profit, retail business or service industry - is really the compilation of lived-out best practices. Those benchmark behaviors that may be simple and common sense, but they are set as standards of practice by everyone in the organization.

Best practices can be produced in a board room. 

  • Respond to questions within 48 hours. 
  • Answer the phone before the fourth ring. 
  • Do what you do with excellence. 

It can happen: best practices can come from the board room. But not most of them.

Most best practices come about in the moment. A one-time occurrence implemented by one team member that gets discovered and, because of its impact on communicating value, is repeated as a norm throughout the entire team. That’s what happened with

Innovation: Exploring Sequence

Sequencing matters. Service matters.  Systems matter.

And so do people.

When sequencing and systems fail to help our guests effectively experience quality service, or take practical steps toward desired outcomes, people are not valued. We don't communicate that they matter. At least we fall obviously short.

Our connections team has been assessing processes, systems, staffing and teams that most effectively help our people take their next step toward Jesus - particularly, new guests to our church. Although someone's very next step after an initial weekend service may be to come back the next weekend, we can't assume that is the only step a guest may want or need to take.

Can the Script. Netflix Did.

You can always tell when the script is being used. You know what I mean. You're engaged in lively conversation over a meal and your server interrupts with the scripted dessert monologue. Or your talking with customer service on the phone and you don't feel heard at all, because the same script is repeated over and over regardless what you say. 

I hate the script. It's annoying and sad. Annoying, because

Guest Services | The Basics

I've been asked lately about some bottom-line "musts" to establish and/or take guest services excellence to the next level. This isn't an exhaustive list (that's why I wrote a few books on the topic), but these core essentials will provide a foundation to make your serve to guests excellent and personable.

To Tag or Not to Tag

I just received a question from Kyle - a friend who serves at a neighboring church in our area. 

Do our greeters wear name tags or only those serving at our Guest Services center? 

I've had dozens of conversations with churches asking a similar question, but much to my own surprise, I don't think I've addressed it in writing 'til now. Thanks for the prompt, Kyle! 

To Tag or Not to Tag

At Granger Community we want to remove all the barriers we can

Convenient for Whom?

This is an ink pen. Its base is wrapped with a hair tie. Can you see what's bound in the hair tie? Yes. That's human hair. Hair that was held by the tie before it was wound around this pen. 

Convenient, I suppose. When you're finished with the tie in your hair, just wrap it around the pen you're using until you need it in your hair again. To each his - or her - own. 

I suppose that's fine - unless

Customer Service Training Starts at Home

Don't you sometimes wish you had the silver bullet for finding great volunteers or staff for your team? Whether it's guest service peeps on your volunteer church team or your sales staff at your retail store, a silver bullet for finding "stars" would be awesome.  

In his book, A Week at the Airport, Alain de Botton notes the following about British Airways:

A Prayer for Guest Services Volunteers

Today at Granger Community Church - and at churches throughout the US and around the globe - there will be thousands of volunteers giving their time and talent to be "Jesus with skin on" to millions of guests in our services.

Give them your eyes to ee people as you see them: as treasures, created beings with great worth and value.

Give them joy in their own eyes

Show Up Late. I Did.

If you lead in any way at your church, you likely go in before the crowd arrives (maybe I'm assuming too much...). If that's true for you, it means you arrive on your church campus before...

  • the heaviest traffic time and the potential scramble for a parking space
  • any lines form at your children's center for kid check-in
  • knowing whether every necessary greeter role is filled
  • the cafe or coffee area is backed up by caffeine junkies

So, I'm suggesting you go to church late. That's right, choose a weekend and go late. Intentionally.

Show up and experience

Peter, Jesus... and Me

I'm realizing again just how much I relate to the Peter of the New Testament. I try to put myself in the story of the Bible, try to embrace the eternal message of the divine... and the human (that the divine created). Peter makes it easy for me. I so connect to his classic scenes.

When I read about Peter it’s easy for me to see… 

a man with his foot in his mouth;

his mouth in everyone’s ear;

and someone else’s ear in his hand!

And it’s pretty much true…look at him:    

  • After a considerable amount of time with Jesus, Peter’s still interrupting teaching time with requests in Matthew 15, like, “explain the parable to us”. Followed by Jesus’ first closing his eyes, moving from despair to smile to a nasal laugh, before cupping his face in his hands and asking, “Are you still so dull?”
  • In Luke 12, he leans over