5 Things You're Saying to Guest Families That You Shouldn't Say

The majority of guests who walk through your church doors decide if they are going to return based on how you treat them.  It is critical you give them a great experience on that first visit.  And what you say and don't say is a big part of that.  In this post, we share 5 things you may be saying to guest families that you shouldn't be saying.  This is from Justyn Smith, one of the authors of the new book If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry.  

Our church hosts an amazing women’s conference each year called Sparkle.  Thousands of women show up for two days of corporate and personal ministry.  It’s one of those “all hands on deck” types of church events, and at the last one I was asked to greet at one of our doors.  As I was standing there, one of our vendors for lunch, who happens to be the manager at our local Chick-fil-A, was exiting my door with some employees.  As we were making small talk, I noticed a couple of ladies approaching.  I opened the door and they said to me, “Thank you,” to which I replied, “Absolutely!  No problem.”

Not a second had passed when the Chick-fil-A owner looked at me and said, “No problem?! You said no problem?!”  My eyes got pretty big because I didn’t really catch on.  He continued, “It’s your pleasure.  You should’ve said, ‘My pleasure’!”  No problem insinuates that there could be a problem - that they could be a problem.  Don’t you work with people everyday?”  I felt horrible after that.  I could tell he was somewhat joking, but he was right.  His point was to not make me feel bad.  He runs a Chik-Fil-A!  They’re well known for their hospitality.  If you have ever been to a Chik-fil-A, you know that they almost always say “My pleasure!” after you say thank you.

What we say and how we say it matters.  My intention was never to insinuate that anyone was a problem.  And truthfully, I don’t think they would’ve thought that.  Nevertheless, we want to raise the bar in how we treat our guests and church attenders.  We want to be the friendliest people they meet in their week.  With this in mind, we must all be mindful of the words we use.  Instead of “No problem” or “You bet,” saying something similar to “It’s my pleasure” sounds more personable. 

Consider the following statements:

“As soon as possible” implies that you’ll get around to it whenever you get around to it.

“To be honest” implies that you have not been honest up to this point.

“Hopefully” implies that you’re not sure and you don’t really know what’s going on.

“The truth is” implies that you shouldn’t be telling them whatever it is you’re about to tell them, which speaks to your trustworthiness.

“She’s busy” implies that she’s too busy for you and you don’t matter.

“I don’t know” implies just what you said and that’s never good. You may not know everything, but you should know where to get an answer.  While none of these statements are necessarily bad or wrong, they represent poor service in what could be taken the wrong way.  Language is everything.

Instead of "I don’t know" say "Let me find out for you."

Instead of "No problem" say "It’s my pleasure."

Instead of "It’s over there" say " would be happy to show you.  Follow me."

Instead of "I’m not suppose to do that" say "Let me find the person responsible for that."

Instead of "He can’t talk to you right" say "He‘s currently teaching our kids’ class. now.  I would be more than happy to let him know you stopped by and give him your message."

You can get more great guest services tips like this in the chapter entitled "Customer Service Like Disney" in the book.  It's available now at www.kidminmouse.com.