Have you ever seen an ad appear—about something you mentioned in passing—while you’re browsing the Internet? It can be surprising. How did they even know that?! Sometimes we don’t even remember saying the words. We thought it was just the tiniest thought in our minds. Yet, boom! There is a specific ad for what we’d talked about or thought about. How? A simple swipe, slight tap, usual click or scroll and the very things we had on our minds show up in our various feeds. We don’t know whether to be frightened by the unbelievable accuracy or grateful for the surprising convenience. But still, how did they know that?!
In all honesty, we didn’t just think about the products appearing in those Internet ads. We most definitely said the words recently. Awe-inspiring technology cannot read our minds . . . yet. But what Siri, Alexa, and all of the other fascinating voice assistants do have is something we should take note of—ears. If we mention those shoes over dinner, they hear it and do something about it. With lightening speed, they contact all of our favorite apps and tell them to place those shoes within our view. If we browse tonight for information about the big event coming to town. Tomorrow morning, we will awake, reach over to turn off our alarms, swipe to unlock our phones, open usual apps, then notice an ad to buy tickets for said event. They have really good ears!
Yes! We have ears too! But can we improve on how well we use them? Of course we can! Especially when it comes to engaging guests who visit our ministries. Let’s imagine for a moment that we are guests at our ministries. We enter, engage, experience, then exit. Fast-forward a few days later and we are back into our usual routines. Then, we receive some form of communication that is spot-on in relation to our visit just a few days ago.
Like, the voice assistants mentioned above, the attention to detail leaves us mind-blown. Wait. What? Someone was listening? Who does that? Who actually noticed us, paid attention, and referred to those specific things we mentioned when reaching back out to us? Who does that? Our ministries do, of course! And if we don’t, we are just getting started.
Follow-Up With Surprising Specificity
There are many forms of follow-up we can utilize. Whether via mail, phone call, email, text, etc., someone can reach out to reconnect with recent guests. Right now, we’re likely adding a name to content we have copied and pasted from previous follow-up communications. But we are so done with that. This year we will be much more intentional.
Our guests aren’t just numbers to add to our attendance, they are people to add to our priorities. Are we really listening to our guests? When is the last time we really listened intentionally with next steps in mind, and thought, “What are we going to do with that information?”
As we look at different ways to tweak or even establish our follow-up processes, let’s pay closer attention to our guests. Let’s use our ears better than we ever have before. Let’s be aware, alert, and perceptive to when and where our guest enter, engage, experience, and exit. Let’s strategically motivate our guests to return to our ministries because they realize that someone paid attention and made references to things they said, did, or randomly alluded to.
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