The Three Ps of Service Magic

Service Magic

An unexpected experience with a touch of style, grace, and imagination the customer remembers with fondness and a smile.

Creating an unexpected, unpredictable, and valuable experience that is both memorable and reproducible.

Today’s customers are often surrounded by lackluster, mediocre service in every industry. How can you win their attention, admiration, and loyalty?

By using the magic of amazement, delight, and enchantment to create a customer experience that soars far beyond their highest Service Magicexpectations. Service wizards Ron Zemke and Chip Bell share their powerful bag of tricks in their book Service Magic. Subtitled “The Art of Amazing Your Customers,” it delivers a powerful bag of tricks to help you add zest, memorability, and value to your customers’ experience in ways they would never expect.

For leaders in ChurchWorld, the translation from customer experience to Guest Experience is an important one – starting with your mindset. You may not think you have “customers” in the traditional mindset – and you don’t. But you do have Guests coming to your church (hopefully!) and they, like you, live in consumer-driven world.

Why not study and learn from some of the best minds and practitioners from the customer experience world, and translate them into Guest Experience practices for your church?

Take Service Magic, for instance.

There is a feeling of awe, wonder, pleasure and delight in Service Magic. When it is present, the customer perceives that something special and unique has been done to, for, or with him or her. It can come from a word spoken, an experience observed, a process experienced, or the context in which the service occurred.

There is magic in Place, Process, and Performance – and all three are available to the skilled service magician and the organization determined to create consistent Service Magic for its Guests.

  • Place Magic: a venue – natural or manmade – with physical attributes that attracts and pleases, and that are subtly enhanced by human endeavor. We vacation at national parks to enjoy the great out-of-doors and visit theme parks for fun and thrills. We remember most of the great views and the rides, but without a little Service Magic, those pleasures would be greatly diminished.

ChurchWorld Application

You meet in a facility – owned or rented – that conveys a powerful impression to your Guests. What does your facility “say”? What are you doing on a regular basis to evaluate your place? What plan do you follow to make sure your place is the best it can be? Does your place invite people to come in – or does it turn people off, or even away? Do you have a plan of constant evaluation and upkeep? How “fresh” are your interiors and exteriors? Does your place fit into your community or does it stand out?

  • Process Magic: the often thankless, almost always invisible effort that makes the difference between policies, procedures, and routines that are difficult, confusing, maddening, and frustrating – and those we experience as surprisingly easy, positive, and memorable. No waiting where once lines were long; sign-ins, sign-ups, and renewals that are hassle-free and even interesting – if not fun – are the result of a little well placed Process Magic.

ChurchWorld Application

Your Guests should experience an invisible, seamless flow of actions from their first contact with you all the way through a worship experience and back again. The processes behind that invisible, seamless flow are probably complicated and maybe even confusing. What are you doing to regularly evaluate and change the process behind the curtains? Do you know what Guests experience when they come to your church? Are you using and speaking with a “churchy” language or do you make things simple to understand and follow?

  • Performance Magic: the surprisingly positive interaction with someone from an organization during the acquisition of a service or a product – or even when a problem with a product or service is being resolved. The wait staff who makes the dining experience “work” for you by correctly reading your mood and engaging you in light-hearted banter or by leaving you alone to your solitude are card-carrying, practicing, professional service magicians.

ChurchWorld Application

When it comes down to it, your front-line teams: parking, greeters, ushers, etc. – make the first and most powerful impact on your Guests. Their actions often dictate whether or not a Guest will return – even before, and often no matter what, the worship experience. When was the last time you ventured out to the front lines to observe? How often do your teams receive training – and encouragement? How high are the expectations for your front-line teams?

Each of these three “magics” is powered by a set of principles – which I hope you will join me in discovering in the next few posts!

9 Principles of Innovative Guest Experiences

Value-added has long been the service solution for the best-of-class service providers. They take what customers expect and add a little more.

Chip Bell, award-winning author, speaker, and consultant on customer service, thinks its time to up the game:

It’s time for value-unique service.

Value unique is different from value-added. It is not about addition – “they gave me more than I anticipated.” It is about a unique and unexpected creation. If your team members are asked to pleasantly surprise customers by creating unique experiences, they feel prized.     – Chip Bell

Bell’s book The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service is your instruction manual and inspirational guide to providing an experience that causes your Guests to be surprised, smile, and sing your praises to others.

Innovative

 

On the ninth day of Christmas Guest Experiences, your Guest Experience peers give to you:

9 Principles of Innovative Guest Experiences

  1. Put a surprise inside – design Guest experiences that constantly astonish and amaze.
  2. Connect with respect – deliver Guest experiences with an extra helping of sincerity, an enduring act of benevolence, and a genuine interest in making a difference for your Guest.
  3. Elevate the class – create processes and systems for your Guest experiences that ensure red carpet treatment.
  4. Put total sense into service – what should your Guest experience smell like-sound like-feel like-look like-taste like if you wanted to create an experience not easily forgotten?
  5. Before and beyond service – anticipate Guest needs before they arrive.
  6. Hardwire wisdom into service – look for chances in your Guest experience that can be turned into opportunities for learning.
  7. Monogram the moment – display the upbeat attitude you want your Guests to have.
  8. Effort removal squared – examine all Guest experience processes through your Guest’s eyes and find ways to remove angst where needed.
  9. Turn an oops into an opportunity – understand, empathize and mine the Guest’s expectations until a good solution is found.

The more principles you can appropriately build into your Guest’s experience, the more likely it will be experienced as exceptional rather than expected, remarkable rather than routine.     – Chip Bell

inspired by and adapted from The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service by Chip Bell

9 1:2 Principles of Innovative Service

Take the Magnetic Test for Your Guest Experience Teams

Magnets have wonderful properties; one of the most amazing is they can both attract and repel.

In a previous post, I wrote about “Magnetic Personalities“. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to jump over and take a look at it – it’s a quick read, and it will give some background to the rest of this post. Go ahead – I’ll wait…

What goes for magnetic persons also goes for magnetic teams – like the Guest Experience team at your church. Sometimes the very thing that makes you “attractive” may also be “repelling” to someone else. Your team may go by another name, you may have multiple teams, but I am willing to bet that if you are the leader of such a group, you are always looking for ways to improve how you do what you do. Are you ready?

Not so fast! Before you can improve, you need to know where you are – you need to establish a baseline measurement.

Here is a list of questions to assist you in identifying your present level of Guest Experiences. The list is adapted from a great book by Chip Bell entitled Magnetic Service. Answer “Yes” or “No” to each question:

  1. Do your Guests believe your church listens to them more deeply than almost any other organization they can think of?
  2. Do you anticipate Guests’ future needs so well that Guests feel you can practically read their minds?
  3. Are Guests given an opportunity to participate in a different way than they would have expected?
  4. Does your Guest Experience have such sufficient consistency such that Guests can trust it as being repeatable and not serendipitous?
  5. Do Guests see your church as rather daring or gallant in this approach?
  6. Do Guests think you and other team members in your church have more fun than most people?
  7. Are Guests given a chance to learn a lot simply through their encounter with your church?
  8. Do Guests witness you and others on your team perpetually improving service?
  9. Is the interpersonal engagement with you so unforgettable that Guests think positively about it again and again?
  10. Do Guests view their Guest Experience as special, distinctive, and not the usual “same old same old” approach?
  11. Do Guests comment on how the church is almost always super comfortable to be a part of?
  12. Do Guests feel completely free of dissonance and anxiety when dealing with your church?
  13. Does your Guest Experience reflect a deeper destiny, vision or commitment to serve?
  14. Is your Guest Experience delivered in a way that clearly reflects a wholesome and generous attitude?

How many honest “no’s” did you have? If you answered “no” more than three or four times, you have gaps to fill, holes to repair, and practices to start.

Congratulations! You now have a baseline measurement of your Guest Experience…

…where do you go from here?