3 Big Keys to Creating a Great First Experience for Guests

A family is about to walk into the doors of your church for the very first time.  They may have just moved to the area and are looking for a church.  They may have been invited by a co-worker.  They may be having marriage trouble and have decided to give this "church thing" a try.  They may have looked at their young children and decided they want to give them some spiritual training.  Whatever the reason...they are about to walk in and the experience they have will determine if they return or not.  A lot is at stake. 

My friends at Disney talk about 3 big keys to creating a great experience for guests.  It's great insight.  Let's talk about it.

First, let's discuss PROCESS.  This is about the steps put in place to enable a seamless and issue-free first experience.  This includes things like registration, drop-off, pick-up, safety and security steps, traffic flow, signage, etc.  Your processes should be set up to best serve your guests.

The next big key is PLACE.   This is the environment the family walks into.  Is it clean?  Is it well-maintained?  Are the kids' areas kid-friendly and decorated with kids in mind?  Is the decor in the adult areas modern?  It is critical to remember that when it comes to the place...everything speaks.  The bathrooms...the grass in front of the church...the trash cans...the carpet...the theming...the seats...it all sends a message to the guest family. 

The last big key is PEOPLE.  The people the guests interact with will make or break their experience as well.  An indoor playground for kids can't make up for the damage caused by a rude person at check-in.  Every person your guest encounters on their first visit either adds to or subtracts from their experience.  While you can't monitor their interaction with every church member they encounter, you can work hard to ensure that their interaction with your volunteers is stellar by putting the right people with the right personalities in the right places.

When process, place and people come together, you will see families have a great first experience which will lead to many of them returning.

Think about it.  Talk about it with your team.  How can you be more intentional about your processes, your place and your people?  What is one way you can improve your processes, place and people to create a better overall experience for guests?