One of the greatest challenges churches have today is getting return customers. As some pastors ask me, “Why is it so hard to get first time visitors to come back?” So I asked our Lead Strategist at Cooke Pictures, Dawn Nicole Baldwin that very question. She’s spent her career helping churches communicate their mission more effectively, and has learned a thing or two about helping people go deeper. Here’s Dawn’s advice:
How easy is it for your “customers” to go deeper in their relationship with your organization? Are opportunities to get even more involved and committed intentionally accessible? Not just the get-’em-in-the-door type of intentional, but what about for those already on board?
I just spent [versus invested] a pretty painful amount of time trying to upgrade my Comcast subscription. No dice through my online account [which should have giant “upgrade today” buttons, but alas, no], so I bit the bullet and called the 800 number. Got halfway through the endless prompts aaaand had my call dropped. Tried again, waded through more prompts, sat on hold & finally connected to a service representative. She was friendly and got me set up, at which point the Internet in my bundled service immediately goes down. More teleprompts & disconnected calls.. lather, rinse, repeat. I was so sorry I tried to upgrade.
Contrast this experience to one with a Sirius telemarketer who called earlier today— I had a 3 month subscription that came with my car and over those few months I came to the conclusion I couldn’t live without an All Blues-All the Time station ever again. I’m not a big fan of telemarketers in general, but they already had my attention, called when my free subscription was nearly up and made it easy for me to take it the next level. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. No interruption in what I already had. No pain.
“So, Dawn,” you say, “Enough with the whining. How does this have anything to do with me?”
The best customers are the ones you already have. And they help find new people for you when they become raving fans, which typically happens when the organization invests in them. This can come in flavors like an easy to navigate website, customer service that goes a little bit further than expected, making exceptions to the “rules” when it makes sense… you get the picture.
And yes, this absolutely applies to churches. Every time someone steps forward to volunteer, get involved with a small group, sign their child up for MOPS, participate in a class, etc., let’s ask ourselves: “Did we make that easy or hard for them?”
Or better yet, let’s ask them.