I despise the idea of people being consumers at Church. With that said, I am going to make a comparison between what happens at a Sunday worship program and a business. The reason I am doing this is that I have experienced poor customer service twice in the past week and one of those was atrocious.
I will spare you all the details of my unfortunate encounters with businesses other than to say that I had a high level of expectation and the reality was not even close to my hopes. Both did reveal a few things to me that I think are valuable lessons for the Church as it gathers and tries to reach non-Christians in those settings.
- Over-deliver. Under-promise and over-deliver. This is true in every way for a Church from its children’s ministries to its worship program. I want people to have the best Christian experience of their life any time they come through our doors.
- Be Friendly. There are no exceptions. I can overlook something wrong if I am treated nicely and with respect. I think this is true for most people. Smile, shake hands, ask questions, be kind and do everything possible to make people feel like you are glad they are there.
- Be Honest. When mistakes happen, don’t make excuses. Don’t place blame. Admit that things did not go as planned, apologize, and do your best to make things right as quickly as possible.
- Respect. Time is valuable. The way you treat my time says a great deal about how you view people. Respect time, and you are showing people they are valuable. Don’t waste time for no reason. For the Church, that means starting and ending in an allotted time. It also means avoiding large dead spaces and worthless information.
- Improve. If someone points out a flaw, then do everything possible to fix it. I always laugh when I see a sign on the highway that says, “bump.” Instead of fixing the issue, they just installed a sign. Often Churches can do the same thing, we know there is a problem, and yet no one does anything about it. When there are problems, that must be fixed promptly.
These are little things. Most of them have little eternal significance other than they set the atmosphere for them hearing about eternal things. One store has lost my business forever simply because of abysmal customer service. I would hate for the same thing to happen at Church.