6 Essential Guest Experience Disciplines

All organizations routinely perform a set of sound, standard practices that result in a high-quality outcome. It’s true for your church just like any other organization. You don’t get up on Sunday morning and wonder how you will have a sermon that morning – or take care of children, or lead in worship. It’s a part of what your organization is, and does.

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience also need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into the Guest experience: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are constantly great at Guest experience excel. If you want to deliver a great Guest experience, they are where you need to focus.

12DaysGE1

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

6 Essential Guest Experience Disciplines

Strategy – this is your game plan. It’s a set of practices for crafting a Guest experience strategy, aligning it with the organization’s overall attributes and brand attributes, and then sharing that strategy with team members to guide decision-making and prioritization across the organization. The strategy discipline is critical because it provides the blueprint for the experience you design, deliver, manage, and measure.

Guest Understanding – a set of practices that create a consistent shared understanding of who Guests are, what they want and need, and how they perceive the interactions they’re having with your organization today. This discipline includes research practices, analyzing the information you’ve collected, and documenting your findings. Guest Understanding provides a foundational level of insight that guides the rest of the disciplines.

Design – a set of practices that help organizations envision and then implement Guest interactions that meet or exceed Guest needs. Design weeds out bad ideas early and focuses your Guest experience efforts on changes that really matter to Guests.

Measurement – a set of practices that lets organizations quantify Guest experience quality in a consistent manner across the organization, and deliver actionable insights to team members. This discipline is key because it lets organizations understand the current state of the Guest experience they provide, uncover opportunities for improvement, and tract progress over time.

Governance – a set of practices that helps organizations manage Guest experiences in a proactive and disciplined way. This practice is essential because it holds the entire team accountable for their role in the Guest experience ecosystem. These practices range from  leader oversight to day-to-day coaching of frontline team members.

Culture – a set of practices that create a system of shared values and behaviors that focuses the team members on delivering a WOW! Guest experience. These practices include volunteer enlistment, socialization activities, and rewards. This discipline is perhaps the most powerful of all the disciplines because it embeds practices from the other five disciplines into team DNA.

Mastering the six essential disciplines of Guest experience takes time and effort but it’s something that you have to do if you want to succeed in connecting with and developing relationships with your Guests.

 

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

General Eric Shinseki, former Chief of Staff, US Army

inspired by and adapted from Outside In, by Harley Manning & Kerry Bodine

Outside In

 

Advertisements

The 6th Discipline of Guest Experiences: Culture

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too.  

Culture 

Now matter how solid your strategy is or how carefully you design your Guest Experience, it’s simply impossible to plan for every single Guest interaction at every last touchpoint. At some point, you need to put your trust in your organization’s most valuable resource – your team members – to do the right thing for Guests.

Building a Guest-centric culture is critical to your success.

How exactly to you get to this level of a Guest-centric culture? First, you overhaul your recruiting practices so that you get Guest-obsessed people on the front lines. Second, you need to socialize the importance of Guest-centricity through storytelling, rituals, and training. Third, you’ve got to reinforce new values and behaviors through informal and formal rewards. Finally, tie it all together with a steady cadence of communication that never lets team members forget why they’re doing all of this in the first place.

Measurement Practices

  • Screen candidates for Guest-centric values as a part of the recruitment process
  • Screen candidates for the specific skills needed to deliver on the organization’s Guest Experience strategy as a part of the recruitment process
  • Provide training to help new and existing team members build and maintain the skills they need to deliver on their part of the organization’s Guest Experience strategy
  • Communicate the importance of Guest Experiences to all team members and partners
  • Collect and share stories of Guest Experience best practices with all team members
  • Perform rituals and routines that reinforce the importance of Guest Experience and what it takes to deliver it
  • Use informal rewards and celebrations to highlight exemplary Guest-centric behavior
  • Connect formal reward structures to performance on Guest Experience metrics

Guest-centric values are the building blocks for reprogramming your organizational DNA. Behaviors are how you turn all of the other practices form the other five disciplines – strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, and governance – into habits that your organization just can’t kick.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. You need to build a Guest-centric culture that pervades your church from bottom to top
  2. Recruit leaders of your hospitality teams for Guest passion and cultural fit
  3. Socialize the key behaviors required to deliver a great experience throughout your organization
  4. Reward team members to reinforce Guest-centric behaviors
  5. Solidify your Guest Experience efforts with constant communication about the “why”

Series Concluding Thought – Mastering these six essential disciplines of Guest Experience takes time and effort but it’s something that you have to do. If you want to succeed at connecting with Guests coming to your campus, you have to decide – right here, right now – to roll up your sleeves and do the work of building competence in these six disciplines. That may scare you – but what should scare you more is the thought of becoming irrelevant to your Guests – which is what will happen if you don’t take action.

To read an overview of the Six Disciplines of Guest Experiences, go here. To begin reading an in-depth review of each of the six, go here.

If you haven’t already, order your personal copy of Outside In right now. This is an excellent guide to developing a Guest Experience ministry in your church – one that you will refer to time and again. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine have done an amazing job of writing a business text that has immediate and far-reaching implications for your church. Go ahead and gift it to yourself for Christmas this year!

 

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here

 

The 5th Discipline of Guest Experiences: Governance

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too.  

Governance

The word governance may bring to mind images of executives in closed-door meetings talking about compliance. Senior decision makers are important part of governance at many organizations, but governance isn’t about a committee that hands out edicts from the top floor.

In reality, governance models are as varied as the organizations they support.  Governance practices will help you drive accountability by assigning specific Guest Experience management tasks to specific people within your organization.

You need to use your insights and metrics to identify Guest Experience improvement opportunities and, as you put new programs into place, keep tabs on the progress of those initiatives.

Measurement Practices

  • Define a consistent set of Guest Experience standards across the organization
  • Include alignment with the Guest Experience strategy as a criterion for evaluating project funding and prioritization decisions
  • Include impact to Guest Experience as a criterion for organizational decisions about policies, processes, technology, and communications
  • Maintain a dedicated queue of Guest Experience improvement projects
  • Review Guest Experience program status and metrics regularly to monitor progress toward organizational goals, adjusting tactics or resource allocations if needed
  • Assign role-specific Guest Experience management tasks to team members as a requirement of their positions
  • Evaluate team member performance against role-specific Guest Experience metrics
  • Facilitate the necessary coordination across groups that share responsibility for a given experience
  • Whenever a change is approved to a policy, organizational process, or other system that affects the Guest Experience, proactively redesign that experience to reflect the change

The Guest Experience governance discipline is designed to help you adhere to practices that will consistently deliver a great Guest Experience. Your job is to decide the rules of your own game – the right Guest Experience governance model and policies for your organization.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. Make Guest Experience Governance part of basic job responsibilities
  2. Find and fix Guest Experience problems
  3. Keep Guest Experience problems from happening in the first place
  4. Define a consistent set of Guest Experience standards

The governance discipline is all about intentional management and oversight.

I will be happy to discuss Guest Experience initiatives for your church and partner with you to design a WOW! Guest Experience.

Next: To help reinforce the rationale behind your governance practices and make sure team members actually adopt them, you’ll need to develop a Guest-centric culture.

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here

The 4th Discipline of Guest Experiences: Measurement

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too. 

Measurement 

As the saying goes, “What gets measured matters.” Measurement practices take the guesswork out of managing your Guest Experience. It does this by capturing what actually happens in a Guest Experience, how the Guest felt during the interaction, and whether the Guest is willing to recommend your organization to others afterward. Measurements tell your team what’s going right (or wrong), what, if anything to do about it, and what impact your organization can expect as a result.

Measurement Practices

  • Define a Guest Experience quality framework that aligns with how Guests judge and experience and is consistent across the organization
  • Define the subsets of Guest Experience metrics that show how each group, role, and individual contributes to Guest Experience quality
  • Measure how Guests perceive their experiences with the organization based on the criteria in the Guest Experience quality framework
  • Collect descriptive metrics about each experience that provide context for Guest perceptions
  • Analyze Guest Experience metrics to determine differences in experience quality among key Guest segments, tasks,  or aspects of the experience
  • Model the relationship between drivers of Guest Experience quality, Guest perceptions of their experiences, and desired outcomes
  • Share Guest Experience metrics and models with all team members

The foundation of your measurements is creating a Guest Experience Framework. This framework strings together cause, effect, and outcomes into a coherent story for your organization. It’s a tool that helps you decide what to measure, how to measure it, and what your findings mean to your organization.

Your framework is structured around two tiers. The first tier will give you the big picture, a broad view of your overall Guest Experience. The second tier will capture perceptions of discrete, end-to-end Guest journeys – giving you details about the Guest’s specific experiences with individual touch points they encounter along the way.

Picking the Guest Experiences that you want to measure is half the battle. The second half of the battle is deciding how to measure those experiences. There are three types of metrics to use:

  1. Perception metrics measure Guest perceptions that exist only in the minds of your Guests
  2. Descriptive metrics consist of operational data about your Guests’ interactions
  3. Outcome metrics tell you what Guests intend to do – or actually did – after interacting with your organization

All effective measurement programs model the relationships between Guest Experience quality, the factors that drive it, and results.

The measurement discipline isn’t as glamorous as strategy or design, but it’s like rocket fuel for all your Guest Experience initiatives.

  • It drives interest in your programs by demonstrating results
  • It keeps people on track by connecting them to hard data about their effectiveness
  • It provides a reality check for the other Guest Experience disciplines

By identifying the things that matter most from the perspective of your Guests – and then identifying them systematically over time – you’ll know whether your strategy is on track, whether your Guest understanding is accurate, and how well the experience you designed is resonating with Guests.

Application to ChurchWorld

  • Measurement keeps Guest Experiences on track
  • Connect the dots across your measurement framework
  • Let measurement power your Guest Experience efforts

Want to know more? I will be happy to discuss Guest Experience initiatives for your church and partner with you to design a WOW! Guest Experience.

Next: How can your organization act on the insights you gained through measurement? The answer to that question is governance.

 

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here

The 3rd Discipline of Guest Experiences: Design

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too. 

Design

Design isn’t just choosing the right images and fonts for your next website revision. It’s a problem-solving process that incorporates the needs of Guests, team members, and partners in your mission. It’s a way of working that creates and refines real-world situations.

Design is the secret weapon of organizations that gives them a strategic advantage in figuring out what services their Guests need and in defining the exact characteristics of every Guest interaction. Design helps you understand how a Guest accesses your website, what a Guest is likely to do as they approach your campus, and gives you clues about creating a welcoming environment.

Design is the most important discipline that you’ve probably never heard of.

The human-centered design process starts with research to understand Guest needs and motivations. It’s all those activities in the discipline of Guest Understanding. Analysis is next – synthesizing the data into useful forms. The next phase is ideation, which is just what it sounds like – coming up with ideas. After that, it’s time to prototype – ranging from a simple redesigned Guest survey to a full-scale mock-up of your typical Guest experience on the weekend. Next, these prototypes are put into action with real people while you observe the results. Finally, you must document the features of the resulting product or service that has evolved.

Design Practices

  • Follow a defined Guest Experience design process any time a new experience is introduced or an existing experience is changed in some way
  • Use Guest understanding deliverables and insights to focus and define requirements for projects that affect Guest Experiences
  • Engage Guests, team members, and partners as part of the experience design process
  • Use iterative ideation, prototyping, and evaluation as part of the experience design process
  • Identify the set of complex interdependencies among people, processes, and technologies that shape interactions with Guests (the Guest Experience Ecosystem)

The right Guest Experience changes, implemented the right way, won’t just fall into your lap. You must actively design them. This requires learning – and then sticking to – the steps in a human-centered design process.

I will be happy to discuss Guest Experience initiatives for your church and partner with you to design a WOW! Guest Experience.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. Guest interactions need to be designed, not left to chance
  2. Design is an activity best done with people, not to them
  3. Prototyping can help keep ideas alive while you create buy-in

Design will stretch your skills and challenge your old ways of working.

Next: How do you know when your design work is having the effects you intended? That’s where the measurement discipline comes in.

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here

The 2nd Discipline of Guest Experiences: Guest Understanding

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too. 

Guest Understanding

You need a set of practices that create a consistent shared understanding of who Guests are, what they want and need, and how they perceive the interactions they’re having with your organization today. This discipline includes research practices, analyzing the information you’ve collected, and documenting your findings. Guest Understanding provides a foundational level of insight that guides the rest of the disciplines.

Guest Understanding Practices

  • Solicit feedback from Guests about their experiences with your organization (through surveys or interviews)
  • Collect unsolicited feedback from Guests about their experiences with your organization (through mining calls, email, or social media posts)
  • Gather input from team members about their experiences with Guests and their role in delivering the Guest Experience
  • Conduct observational research studies in Guests’ natural environments
  • Analyze Guest insight drawn from across research techniques and organizational boundaries to identify key Guest pain points and opportunities
  • Document Guest Understanding in a way that is easy for team members to understand and use (through the use of personas, Guest Journey maps, etc.)
  • Share Guest understanding with all team members

Thinking you know what Guests want is risky. Knowing what they want leads to Guest Experience improvements that matter.

Guest Survey from Pearland Vineyard, Pearland, TX

Most organizations neglect to build a foundation of Guest understanding before they develop their service and experience strategies – and then proceed with costly initiatives. Where do most organizations miss the boat on understanding their guests?

  1. Team members often fall into the seductive trap of assuming that what they want is what Guests want
  2. Many organizations view Guests only through a numerical lens
  3. Many Guests use qualitative research methods inappropriately

The good news is that you can avoid these pitfalls by using techniques that will help you to understand who your Guests are, how they perceive the interactions they are having with you today, and what they want and need from you tomorrow.

If you want to harness the power of delivering a WOW! Guest Experience, you have to start with a complete picture of who they are and what they want from you. This picture will come into focus as you begin to analyze Guest data that spans multiple research techniques and organizational boundaries.

While you may have the in-house know-how to do some of these activities, you will likely need to partner with outside experts. They will be able to help you set up studies, ask the right questions, collect the right data, and synthesize the results into meaningful insights.

I would be happy to talk with you about how you can begin the journey to understanding and delivering  a WOW! Guest Experience every week at your church.

If you try to skimp on this part of the process – by continuing with assumptions about what you think Guests need and want – you’ll not only fail to create true Guest understanding, you will also put the rest of your Guest Experience practices at risk.

Guest insights ultimately drive your Guest Experience strategies.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. What you think you know about your Guests is probably wrong
  2. You won’t find all your answers in a survey
  3. Document your findings in easy to understand formats
  4. Share your Guest insights early and often

Guest Understanding should become the foundation of all your Guest Experience efforts.

Next in the series: How understanding your Guests becomes the primary input into your Guest Experience design process.

 

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here

The 1st Discipline of Guest Experiences: Strategy

Organizations that want to produce a high-quality Guest experience need to perform a set of sound, standard practices. Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, in their book Outside In, have developed six high-level disciplines which can be translated into Guest experiences: strategy, Guest understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture.

An overview of all six Disciplines can be found here. These disciplines represent the areas where organizations that are consistently great at Guest experiences excel.

If you want to deliver a great Guest Experience, these disciplines are where you need to focus, too.

Strategy

This is your game plan. It’s a set of practices for crafting a Guest experience strategy, aligning it with the organization’s overall attributes and brand attributes, and then sharing that strategy with team members to guide decision-making and prioritization across the organization. The strategy discipline is critical because it provides the blueprint for the experience you design, deliver, manage, and measure.

Strategy Practices

  • Define a guest experience strategy that describes the intended Guest experience.
  • Align the strategy with overall organization strategy.
  • Align the strategy with the organization’s brand strategy.
  • Share the strategy with all team members (distribute documentation, conduct training sessions, review and evaluate practices).

Great Guest experiences don’t happen by accident. They’re the result of countless deliberate decisions made by every single person in your Guest Experience teams on a daily basis. To align those decisions, team members and partners need a shared vision: a Guest Experience strategy.

Without that vision, team members are forced to set out on a random journey, and their decisions and actions will inevitably be at odds with each other despite all the best intentions.

You have a choice.

You can continue to let your team members wonder what they should do to improve the Guest Experience and flounder as they try to coordinate their own activities with those of other teams.

But the better path is to guide them toward a common vision and facilitate concerted efforts by crafting a Guest Experience strategy that clearly defines the intended experience.

Application to ChurchWorld

  1. Your Guest Experience must support your overall organizational strategy
  2. Your Guest Experience must align with your brand
  3. Your Guest Experience must be specific, clear, and memorable

Tomorrow: How to differentiate your Guest Experience in the minds of those you are trying to reach and impact.

Want to know more about the Guest Experience in your church?

  • Learn why the Guest Experience matters here
  • Contact me here
  • Read up a little here