How to Bring the "Wow" Factor to Your Guest Services Ministry

What is the "wow factor" in guest services?  I believe it's when you go above and beyond to meet the needs of a family.  It especially becomes a wow factor when you do it in a creative, unexpected way.  

The wow factor must emanate from the desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Just as Jesus went above and beyond to meet people's needs, so we are called to embody that same attitude today.

Yes, there are costs involved in the wow factor.  It involves attention, time and sometimes a financial investment. 

The normal factor is what people expect and yes, it must be done with excellence.  But it's the wow factor that really impacts people.  Here are some examples.

Normal factor - providing enough parking.
Wow factor - providing guest parking in a prime location.

Normal factor - having signage that shows guests where to go.
Wow factor - walking guests to their destination.

Normal factor - having a good check-in program for guests.
Wow factor - having a check-in area that is just for guests.

Normal factor - sending a follow-up email to guests.
Wow factor - sending a handwritten follow-up note to guests with a gift card to Starbucks.

Normal factor - giving kids who are first-time guests a piece of candy.
Wow factor - giving kids who are first-time guests a ministry t-shirt.

Normal factor - asking guests to fill out an information card.
Wow factor - inviting guests to a reception after the service with food and an opportunity to meet the staff and key volunteers.

Normal factor - finding the coat that a family left and calling to tell them it will be in lost and found.
Wow factor - finding the coat that a family left and delivering it to their house.

Normal factor - having greeters to open the doors for people on a rainy day.
Wow factor - meeting people at their cars on a rainy day and holding an umbrella over them as they walk to the doors.

Normal factor - seeing someone accidentally drop their coffee and sending someone to clean it up.
Wow factor - seeing someone accidentally drop their coffee and bringing them a new cup to drink while you clean up the mess.

Normal factor - greeters welcoming people and shaking their hands before the service starts.
Wow factor - greeters welcoming people before service and then holding the doors again as they leave and saying goodbye.

Normal factor - calling a locksmith for a single mom who is locked out of her car in your parking lot after church.
Wow factor - calling a locksmith for a single mom who is locked out of her car in your parking lot after church and paying for it.

The reason this type of customer service impacts people is because everyone tends to relate their experience at a church with how they were made to feel.  Normal customer service is expected, so it doesn't trigger an emotional memory.  

But when you deliver the wow factor, it sparks an emotional response that people won't forget.  People feel important, valued and cared for.  And this is what inspires them to return.  And...this is what causes them to tell their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about the great experience they had.  It's the wow factor that turns people into fans of your ministry, which can lead to them becoming fully engaged in your ministry. 

Sometimes the wow factor can be planned and sometimes it can't.  You can plan providing prime parking for guests, but you can't plan someone spilling their coffee.  The important thing is to have a "watch for wow opportunities" mindset and be ready to respond.  It also means infusing your entire team with this attitude and then empowering them to act on it.

I remember helping a new family check in.  They had a son who was around 8-years-old.  As we were walking to the classroom, I was making small talk with them.  I asked the son what his favorite sport was.  He told me it was basketball.  After we dropped him off and got the parents to the auditorium, I had an "wow factor" idea.

I jumped in my car and drove to a nearby Target.  I bought a basketball.  After the service was over, I met the family as they were picking their son up.  I handed them a gift bag with the basketball in it and a handwritten thank you note.  The expression on their face was priceless.  The son was thrilled.  It's an experience they will never forget.

One thing I learned from this experience was that the "wow factor" usually comes from making the act of service or gift very personal.  The reason the basketball made such a big impact was because it was a gift based on what the son loved. 

I believe if we bring the wow factor to our guest service teams, we will see families' lives impacted and see much more fruit in our ministries. 

Your turn.  The floor is yours.  What are some things you do to bring the wow factor?  How can we increase the wow factor on our teams?  Share your insight in the comment section below.