Customer Service Chapter 4: Starbucks (Are you creating an environment?)

I know, I know friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.

I worked at Starbucks for a year when I was in College. I loved it. I love coffee so it was a natural fit. I would also like to add they were a fantastic company to work for. I know that many try to throw things through the front window, of what they see as a corporate evil. During my time at Starbucks one thing I learned was the value of environment.

One thing that has made starbucks loved by so many people is their ability to create an experience. From the smell of beans to the lighting to the iconic color pallet. It was a place you wanted to visit. I got to know quite a few of the “regulars” (people not coffee). I was amazed at how much money people would spend because of environment.

How does this translate to us? This is something that I have been thinking a lot about because I am the project manager for our churches renovation of our lobby and kids wing.

Questions I have been pondering.

If environment matters everywhere else why do I pretend it doesn’t at church?

If people are proud of their church are they more likely to tell others?

If a few coats of paint and some elbow grease will help someone who is new feel comfortable isn’t it worth it?

If I accept things as is with no thought of change because of familiarity what do people who are new think of my church?

Does the flow and feel of my church convey who we are and what we “actually value”.

You Tube Friday: Customer Service Chapter 3: Neiman Marcus (Are you authentic?)

Are you authentic? I think authenticity is one of the most important qualities of a leader.

What does it mean to be authentic?

1. Care more about those you lead than your own image

2. Have a realistic view of your actual values

3. No matter your size always be willing to leave the 99 for the 1.

4. Reinventing yourself needs to start with values transformation not clever marketing. (Neiman Marcus is a perfect example of this.) Great commercial to bad it reeks of in-authenticity.

Katya has a great post about this. Check it out.


Customer Service Chapter 2: Lowes' (Do you have a lot of stuff and no experts?)

lowes logo

Today I want to talk about the need for “right” information.

I am not a super handy man. I can get by but that is another post for another day. Being a home owner forces you to visit Lowes from time to time. Lowes is a large store with lots of stuff, lots of people and lots of everything. Except one thing…. accurate helpful information.

I can’t count how many times I have hunted down someone wearing a blue smock to tap into wisdom about paint, plumbing, sheet-rock you name it. Only to be meet by blank stares followed by shoulder shrugs. Worse yet is when you are given inaccurate information.

Children’s ministry like many things is very much dependent on accurate information. We need to get the right answers to the right people so that we can reach everyone God has called us to reach. If our children’s ministries become about lots of stuff and lots of people we have failed.

Crowds don’t matter to God, but each individual in that crowd does.

How can we bolster authentic communication in children’s ministry?

1. Nice Big, Good looking signs. (BTW I am guilty of this one) I am not as passionate about signs as I should be. We are changing our signs with our kids wing remodel. For more on people who are passionate about signs check out Matt’s blog he is a great children’s pastor with a great blog and is OCD about signs.

2. Clear vision – God matters most! Each individual person matters second most!

3. Communicate where people are and how the liked to be communicated to. Mix it up – Don’t just use the church bulletin or phone-tree mix it up. Use email, facebook, texting, blogs, video and good ole face to face communication.

4. Write it out. Something I am doing right now is working with our albany campus pastor Gareth Gilpin on a policy handbook that is short to the point and makes sense.

5. Keep parents in the loop – Our job is work in concert with parents not in competition with them. We are to be another voice in the lives of their kids telling them they can do all things through Christ Jesus.

Customer Service Chapter 1: Tiffany's (Do your values translate to a personal level?)

Do the values of your church permeate your organization?
Tiffany’s is know for a few things.

1. Breakfast (just kidding)
2. Blue Boxes
3. Fantastic Customer Service

This Christmas I bought my wife a ring Tiffany’s for Christmas this year, here is what happened.

1. They guaranteed christmas delivery. It came three days late
2. It finally arrived but was scratched
3. The logo was tarnished

What they did.

1. I called. I was upset. They were fantastic.
2. They wrote a letter of apology.
3. They gave me a gift of Perfume for her.
4. They offered to return it to any store or pay the postage and mail it in.
5. Most importantly they were sincere.

What happened next.

1. I called Tiffany’s to see if I could have a friend return it with my receipt. They said no problem. So far so good.

2. My friend goes into a Tiffany’s store with the ring in the box with the original receipt. The lady at the Tiffany’s store said the ring looked worn (which is why we were returning it, ironically enough) and would not exchange it.

3. Luckily the manager intervened and the situation was rectified.

The bottom line.

Tiffany’s is all about the experience. The blue box comes with a large amount of expectations. They responded in an overwhelming way to my situation because they understand that they have expectations that need to be fulfilled. However, one employee who doesn’t get the values of the organization can put a bad taste in your mouth. That one employee who either doesn’t understand or buy into the experience you are trying to create can taint your organization, department, church. You know your values have translated when the person at the counter is passionate about the same thing that keeps the CEO up at night.

Do you check in people know what the “actual values” of your ministry are?
Do your sound people know?
Do the greeters and car parkers know?

Bottom line People matter to God – make sure you get the memo out.

Customer Service: Forward

Let me start this series by stating the obvious. We in the church world are not about the bottom line. We are about changed lives.

So in the next few days when I refer to customer service I am not talking about selling something I am referring to creating an environment that is conducive to life change. We want to partner with to Holy Spirit to see people became more like Christ. We want people to come to church and experience something in such a way it not only leaves a good or “God” taste in their mouth. We want people to come and experience than go and do.

In the next few days we will talk about the following.

Customer Service Chapter 1: Tiffany’s (do your values translate to a personal level?)
Customer Service Chapter 2: Lowes’ (Do you have a lot of stuff and no experts?)
Customer Service Chapter 3: Starbucks (Are you creating an environment?)
Customer Service Chapter 4: Neiman Marcus (Are you authentic?)
Customer Service Chapter 5: Nordstrom’s (Do you go the extra mile?)

Let me know if any companies come to your mind when I say Customer service and why?