I volunteer regularly at our local high school, and I’ve come to have a great admiration and appreciation for our athletic director. Taking on the job two years ago, he walked into a program that was struggling at best. But today, both teams and individual student athletes are flourishing. Why the turnaround? It’s a rare occurrence to see our athletic director sitting in his office with the door closed. He more likely can be found out in the common areas, talking to students throughout the school day. After the bell rings, he hops to various competitions to cheer on our athletes, talk to parents, and get feedback from coaches and officials. When sitting on an interview committee with him to hire a new coach, his guidelines were this: “I don’t want to hire someone who just knows a lot about the sport or is skilled athletically. That’s important, but more important, I want someone who loves kids and wants to make an impact in the lives of our athletes.” Whoa! This is why the athletic programs have grown and seen success; we have an athletic director who knows how to provide great “customer service.”
This week, we’ll take a look at Chapter Two of the book, Be Our Guest, to explore the magic of customer service. Like our athletic director, Walt Disney made a habit of getting out and walking around Disneyland, sharing the experiences and talking about them with guests. He understood the importance of not fulfilling your personal wants or needs, but knowing and providing for the needs and wants of your guests. It’s what Disney likes to call, “guestology.” Here are a few ways the church can practice guestology:
Who’s Walking Through Your Doors
It’s easy for people to sneak in and leave quickly for weekend services at church. You may not have a clue that your neighbor down the street attends your church if you don’t get out and walk among the people. Disney recommends two critical pieces of information you should gather so you can serve people more effectively:
- Demographics – These are often referred to as the “facts” about people, such as physical attributes or measurable characteristics such as family income levels. Demographic information should reveal things such as who people are, where they come from, how often they come, or family members and their ages. This information will help you know who the people are that come to your church and, who’s not coming to your church.
- Psychographics – This data will help you better understand the mental state of your audience. What are their needs and wants, what preconceived notions do they bring to your church, or what emotions do they experience when they attend service or an event? Disney categorizes these clues as needs, wants, stereotypes and emotions.
A Common Purpose
What do you stand for? Why do you exist? These are important questions to ask as an organization—it ultimately defines your common purpose. This living image should clearly define your church’s mission, communicate a common message internally, and create an outside image for your ministry. A common purpose will help you define your boundaries and it should be the one thing that everyone finds obvious about your church because you so clearly present it in everything you do.
Think On This
Would you describe yourself as a “behind the desk” or “walk around” type of leader? Explain. Why is it important to talk to people and your church and get feedback from various people, volunteers, employees, groups, and your outside community-at-large? Can you currently clearly define your ministry’s common purpose? How do you communicate that purpose to people in your church and community?