Target, Customer Service & the Church

The other day, Katie, myself and the kids went looking for furniture to put on our back porch. We started at Target since Katie knew there something she wanted and it was 50% off.

We got there to find out that they had the two chairs we wanted, but not the love seat that went with them. A salesperson said she would call around for us. She came back and informed us that a Target an hour away had the love seat we wanted. Unfortunately, the sale was not valid on the website (not sure why companies still do this). She also said, they can’t put it on hold because it is on display and on sale. So, we took home the new chairs, made dinner for our kids and headed an hour to the next Target.

What awaited us?

No love seat. Not only that, this Target claimed they sold the last one 4 days ago. Meaning, the salesperson did not call around for us.

Now, that’s customer service!

It got me thinking about leadership and the church. Do we put forth false advertising? Are we too lazy to help people?

Let’s start with the advertising. Many churches say they don’t advertise. Usually, they have a low opinion of the churches who advertise. The problem with this mindset is that every church advertises. Every time someone drives by your building, looks at your website, any time someone says, “I attend ______ church.” All of those things are advertisements for your church. It isn’t that you don’t advertise, you don’t have a plan for what you are advertising.

The other thing churches do is advertise laziness. Everything from not having clear signs at your worship gathering, a website that is not updated, not prepping a sermon, not starting on time. Every time I meet with a pastor I ask them what they are preaching on and most pastors look at me and say, “I’m not sure what I’m preaching on next, maybe I’ll check to see what ________ church is preaching on and use that.” Your people know if you prepped something, stole something or threw something together.

Or else we advertise we are a church and then when people show up for a worship gathering, we spend the next hour trying to convince them we aren’t a church. Almost like we areĀ embarrassed. They came to church. They came looking for Jesus. Open the Bible and show them Jesus. One night after a gathering, I had a guy tell me that he was not going to come back because “we used too much Bible.” At least he knew what we were.

Target advertised that they have great customer service. Churches advertise they are a church. Be a church.

When it comes to customer service, many churches say that is beneath them. We aren’t pushing a product. Which I agree with. But most churches communicate, we don’t have a servant mentality and we are here for the people who know us and their way around.

Here is what I mean. If I walked onto the campus where your church meets, could I find where everything is without having to ask someone or look lost? Could I drop my kids off? Is someone there with a smile? If I asked you where something is, would you tell me where it is or would you show me?

If you think you have enough signs, make some more. You don’t yet.

Smile. Communicate you are glad that someone took the time to come and be a part of your worship gathering. There are a hundred other things they could be doing instead.

If someone asks, “Where is _____?” Don’t point. Don’t give them directions. Show them. Walk them to where they need to go, make sure they get checked in okay. Then ask, “Is there anything else I can do to help you?”

That’s being a servant. That’s being helpful.

Even though it was completely frustrating. And Target lost our business because we bought the same love seat somewhere else. It was a good learning experience.

Links of the Week

  1. Jim Tomberlin on 125 tips for multisite churches and those who want to be. This is a free e-book that is definitely worth picking up if this is something you are thinking about. I know I got a lot out of it.
  2. Mark Driscoll on To hell with hell? Great insights into what Scripture has to say about death, what happens after death and hell.
  3. Don’t advertise your church until it is worth advertising.
  4. Seth Godin on The difference between a manager and a leader.
  5. Kevin DeYoung reviews Rob Bell’s new book. If you are planning to read Rob’s book, then you need to read this review which is spot on theologically.
  6. Tim Keller on Are religions equally right? This 5 minute video is worth watching if you’ve ever asked this question or been asked this question.
  7. 5 ways to grow as a leader.