Making Your First Impression a Lasting Impression

Mark Waltz, author of “First Impressions,” suggests the following word-association exercise: Look at the following list, and jot down your first thought about each place. Don’t spend a lot of time on this – just write the first thought that comes to mind.

  • McDonald’s
  • Your last hotel stay (not the name of the hotel, but your impression of it)
  • Your last airline experience (again, not the name of the company)
  • Your bank
  • Your local church
  • Starbucks

Now take a moment to evaluate the impressions you jotted down. Which reflect your feelings from initial encounter, and which ones describe your thoughts at the end of your experience with that organization? What does this tell you about the impressions we retain?

Organizations that understand the lasting nature of first impressions also understand that people matter. When people matter, guests are wowed. And when guests are wowed, they know they matter.

What kind of lasting impression is your first impression making?

Want to know more about Church Guest Services? The single best resource for Guest Services available today is the book “First Impressions” by Mark Waltz, Connections Pastor at Granger Community Church near South Bend, IN, and campus pastor of their Elkhart campus. If you want to know about Guest Services, get a copy of this book today!

Another helpful resource: “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless” by Jeffrey Gitomer, a sales and customer service expert. His primary market is the business world, but I’ve found dozens of applications to ChurchWorld in his writings.

Looking Ahead: Who is your competition? and Turn the Ordinary into EXTRAORDINARY!

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Beyond Customer Service

Do you give up, clean up, or follow up?

The following comments were originally adapted from Zig Ziglar on Selling and Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Sales Bible for a business development audience. In terms of what churches need to do to think about the “customer” they are trying to reach, I think they are very appropriate for church leaders to consider. Remember, guests to your church are measuring the experience they receive from you not to other churches, but to other customer-oriented businesses. The days of “customer service” as the standard of excellence are long gone.

Today, everybody talks about the importance of “customer satisfaction.” In this competitive market the only way to get ahead (and sometimes the only way to survive) is to go beyond customer service to customer satisfaction. The best way to prevent a prospect or client from becoming unhappy is to provide excellent service before the problems are allowed to arise. The Norwegian word for “sell” is selje, which literally means “to serve.” Isn’t that a great sales strategy? Here are some ways you can “serve” your prospect or client:

  • Satisfactory customer service is no longer acceptable
  • Customer service begins at 100%
  • The customer’s perception is reality
  • A mistake is a chance to improve the company
  • Problems can create beneficial rearrangements
  • Make the customer feel important
  • Learn how to ask questions
  • The most important art – the art of listening

Customer satisfaction in the never-ending pursuit of excellence to keep clients so satisfied that they tell others of the way they were treated by your organization.

Is your church raising the bar on “customer satisfaction”? Or is it just the same old, same old?