This is a guest post from Stacey Windover, Director of Guest Services at West Ridge Church in Dallas, GA. She understands Guest Services, and does a great anticipating the needs of guests and equipping her team to do the same.
My husband grew up spending his summers on Houghton Lake in Michigan. Houghton Lake is absolutely beautiful and a perfect place to boat and waterski. When we were dating we went up to the lake for a weekend and while we were taking the nightly boat ride around the lake, knowing this was my first time there, my future father in law explained to me where we were allowed to go and where we were not allowed to go. It all looked the same to me, but there were areas that were too shallow and areas that had tree stumps that if you didn't know were there could really hurt your boat! Mr. Windover knew all of this because he grew up on the lake. He knew every inlet and peninsula around the entire thing.
We train our first-time guest team members to know our environments and our audience, and to know them well! When someone arrives at the first-time guest kiosk they immediately check for little family members! If there is a preschooler, our team walks the family to our preschool environment and just this past Sunday I overheard a team member say, "Dad, why don't you take the little one over to the fish tank while mom and I fill out the registration card.” You could see this family’s demeanor change immediately! This team member turned an experiment with a new church into an amazing experience for the family.
One of our team members joined the team because of their first-time guest experience. He wanted to make the experience even better! He noticed that during the service everyone around him was on his or her smart phone. At first he thought, “Wow, that’s rude,” until the communicator mentioned the app available with the notes for today’s message. By the time he searched for the app and downloaded it, he missed the first half of the message. When he engages with a first-time guest family he mentions the app before he takes them to their seat hoping to help them feel like part of the church family from the start!
Being proactive and anticipating the needs of our guests can be a difference maker in a guest returning for a second experience! Knowing where to find tissues just in case someone is crying, keeping an eye on the parking lot for young families who might need help carrying the three-year-old with a diaper bag while pushing the twins in the stroller, or just remembering there's a fish tank, it's the little things that make a big difference!