guest services

Your Team Wants You to Ask Yourself These 10 Questions about Trust

The more conversations I have with clients, family and friends, the more I’m thinking about trust these days. Seems there’s precious little trust actually being experienced in work places and homes. Let’s start by defining trust.

My online dictionary states that trust as a verb means: to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of something or someone.

Conversely, the same dictionary defines distrust this way: to doubt the honesty or reliability of; regard with suspicion.

My experience confirms that people know quickly whether they are trusted or distrusted; whether their supervisor believes in their strengths or regards them with suspicion. People know when their leader hovers, limits, takes back a responsibility or removes authority.

I Don't Want to Press 3 for Service

It seems that when an organization is faced with staffing challenges, the need to operate more efficiently, or simply to address a potential problem, the tendency is to create as little change or hassle as possible for the organization. So, the change, and often the hassle, is passed on to the end user: the customer, the guest, the human on the other end of this would-be relationship.

What is the current challenge for your church or organization? 

    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

    Let's Work Together

    Everyone has a story. And every story matters. In fact, I've been seeking to understand my own story more clearly. 

    For 35 years I’ve invested in people. I’ve led teams in local churches, non-profits and retail environments. I’ve honed my skills in executive leadership, customer / guest services, coaching and life planning. Today, I’m still serving as a pastor with Granger Community Church, but I’ve gotten clarity about how my passion for people gets played out in my next chapter. 

    With the blessing and support of my lead pastor, Mark Beeson, I’ve launched a new effort to leverage my love and care for people - people like

    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,...

    Expect New People

    This really happened to me.

    I walked into a restaurant with my family early in the lunch hour. Like, 11:00 a.m. On the dot. As in, we were the first customers of the day. Surveying the place, I saw…well, nothing. Lots of open tables. And still I was told “give me just a couple of minutes and we’ll have a table for you.” I could see at least 12,000 seating options. But I waited.

    As I sat down I intuitively wiped bread crumbs from the table onto the floor and thought, “This doesn’t make sense. There’s no way there have been other customers in here for lunch already.” Of course, the mess had to have been left over from...

    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

    Team: More than Task

    This past weekend my friend, Kim Volheim and his wife, Claudia hosted a gathering for our guest services leaders and coaches. Fifty plus men and women filled their home with no agenda. There was no meeting, no objectives to review or sharpen. 

    Kim created space. Just space. 

    Space to eat lots of sugary sweets and salty snacks. Space to talk. Space to be. 

    Most teams get launched and organized around task. There is a vision; there are clear objectives; there is a reason for the team's existence. They are built to get things done. it's how any vision or mission worth pursuing gets accomplished: team.

    However, although task brings people to a team, tasks aren't the only glue

    Innovation: Exploring Sequence - An Update

    My last post was about using a creative process I hadn't tested. And get this - this topic had to do with sequencing steps. I crack me up.  

    Just hours after posting the idea, I led my connections staff team through the exercise, creating some of the process on the fly. The result? Crazy creativity, fresh ideas and engaging conversation. The process was so helpful, we extended our meeting an additional half hour and decided to continue the exercise in our next weekly meeting. In fact, some of our ideas overlapped the work of another team, so we've decided to pull our teams together in the next meeting. 

     If you're feeling behind, read my earlier post here, then come back...

    Good? Caught up?  

    Here's the approach we've taken so far:

     

    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.

    Why Show Up for "Church" at the Box

    There's a trend across the country among good, church-going people: Attending a weekend service at their local home church just once every two or three weeks. Seems like the new norm for many. As other church leaders across the country have observed, it's particularly noticeable when those volunteering seem to attend only when they're "scheduled" to serve. 

    I have thoughts on this behavior.  

    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