10 Ways to Make First-Time Guests Happy

Guests will return based on how you treat them and make them feel on their first visit.  Here's 10 ways to have first-time guests smiling when they come to your church.

Give them premiere parking.  However you decide to make it happen, give them the best parking spot.  When you do this, they'll open their car door already in a good mood.  Think about the last time you lucked out and got a good parking spot in a crowded lot.  How did you feel?

Have a separate check-in area for them that is fast and efficient.  Instead of making them wait in a line, give them the VIP check-in treatment.  Their happy factor is now quickly escalating.

Smile.  Smile.  Smile.  Smile.  There's a reason this is one of the rules Disney employees have to follow.  You have to have smiles to create the happiest place on earth.

Walk them to their destination.  Instead of pointing or giving them directions, personally walk them to their destination.  This not only makes them feel like a VIP, but it also gives you an opportunity to implement the next happy factor.

Talk to them.  Make sure you have engaging, happy people on your check-in team that are good at making small talk and making guests feel comfortable.  Ask general questions about their family without coming across as a used car salesman.  Here's a tool you can use to instantly become better at talking to guest families.

Give them a gift.  Present them with a small gift to remember their visit by.  And if you really want to make them happy, you can take it to a whole new level by doing what is mentioned in this post.  

Explain your safety and security system.  Parents want to know their kids are going to be safe in your care, so make sure you explain your safety and security measures.  This will reassure them and make them feel more at ease about leaving their child with you.

Provide them with a pager.  If you want to make young couples with babies/preschoolers happy, then provide them with a pager.  Let them know you will page them if any issues arise or they are needed.  Ask them if their child does start crying, how long they want you to wait before paging them.  Some will say "5 minutes" and some will say "10 minutes."  This proactive measure reassures parents and takes the guessing out of it.

Give them the option to remain anonymous.  Most people want to remain somewhat anonymous on their first visit.  Honor this by not putting them in situations where they have no choice such as having members sit down and guests remain standing, having them stand up and say their name, etc.

Greet them when they are leaving.  Many churches do a great job at greeting guests when they arrive but neglect to greet them as they are leaving.  Have your greeters at the doors after service and engage guests by saying things like, "thank you for coming" and "have a great week" and "see you soon."

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some other ways to make guests happy?