Secret shopping

i was reading about this dude that runs a business  (ministry?)  where you can hire him to come and be a secret shopper  at your church.   in other words,  we could pay somebody to come and be a visitor at our church and then he would give us a report back on how we fared.

this whole thing raises so many issues,  i’m not even going to attempt to give my criticism here.   maybe some other time.

anyway,  he wrote an article on what he believes  (apparently after secretly shopping many churches) we need to do to see a greater return and higher percentage of second and third-time guests.   again…i’ll bite my lip and withhold what i’m really thinking right now.

here are the eight things we need do:

one – have an informative website that gives first-timers a realistic look at what to expect when they walk through the doors.

two – have a building that smells good.   smell is powerful.   as he says,  every church has the potential for positive or negative smells.   good to know.

three – have visitor parking…up close…so visitors don’t have to walk an uncomfortable distance to get in the building.   check.

four – have a simple and easily understood plan for parents to check their kids into the children’s program.   parents need good signage.

five – give free stuff away to new people.   it seems like visitors to churches really like free stuff.   mmmm….

six – have a super safe and secure environment for kids.   agreed.   this is no joke.

seven – have a highly visible and accessible senior pastor.   yeah.   that’s what people need.   more of me.

eight – have greeters stationed at the door to tell visitors goodbye  or  have a nice week.   or as he explains in the conclusions of his article,  “this goes a long way to wrapping a bow around the entire morning experience and will send them off with a lasting positive impression.”   maybe we should put a bow around the free gift we give them,  too.

in spite of my tempered cynicism,  i really do believe that first impressions matter.   and some  (but not all)  of the things he says are no-brainer instructions for how to put on really effective big shows.

but my lasting impression  from his article is more of the same for me.   it’s the same focus that always seems to pop up in the corporate church experience discussion.   apparently,  what people are really looking for are tight,  well-oiled,  professionally run church events and programs.

here’s a simple parenting observation:   just because kids want to stay up until midnight,  eating snickers bars,  and  watching youtube…doesn’t mean we should give it to them.   no.   we give them what they need.

people don’t need events.   people need healthy friendships that point them to truth.   and they need jesus.

whether they know it…or want it.


4 thoughts on “Secret shopping

  1. Is he talking about a church or an event at the American Airlines Center here? Seems like the same message marketing/guest services gets before every game day/3rd party event at Victory Avenue…

  2. Being in this type of industry and digging deeper into the secret shopper website, I bet I could gather all the Doctors on staff and come up with a industry leading analysis that would blow the doors off this guy.
    Man, if a church of <100 will pay $500, we could make a church pay triple.

    My company is all about the $$

    I guess even churches can be foolish with God's money.

    The hamster is on the wheel…I may have just found my company a new niche. Or myself.

  3. Do I get a free gift even though I’ve been coming forever? You can save the money on the bow and feed some starving kid or buy a goat for a goatless family. I just need a gift to make sure I know that you know how privileged you are that I blessed you with my presence.

    What exactly do we get for our membership in the NP Gang? I think we should get name tags. Takes away the whole I don’t have a clue what the heck this dude’s name is thing…..

  4. I’m with Luke. Where’s my free gift? Also, I’ve never had a parking spot up close. And a building that smells good…..well, I’ll just let that one go for fear of embarrassing anyone personally. I like the nametag idea…they could be permanent instead of disposable…we could have a nametag making/decorating party at your house Mike (as in every single member of NP).

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