Church and customer service

The Rev. Tom Ehrich, writer for On a Journey, suggests that churches declare August customer service month in his most recent syndicated column. The reason? Churches are competing for “business” in much the same way that banks and hardware stores. It’s not that salvation is a commodity, he notes, but he was inspired by customer service agents poised to meet his needs from the moment he walked in to his new bank.

Imagine a similar cadre of customer service reps positioned inside the church door. Imagine them trained to do more than hand out a bulletin or point toward a coffee urn. Instead, they would engage both visitor and member and respond appropriately to their different needs.

Imagine another cadre trained to respond to people after worship.

Instead of a long line hoping for 10 seconds of the pastor’s time, imagine people trained in the delicate craft of identifying need, helping people talk to one another and gathering information for pastoral follow-up.

These are trainable skills. Sunday greeters, for example, can be more than nice people wearing “Greeter” badges. They can be trained in the psychodynamics of being a church visitor and of coming to church mid- or post-crisis. They can prepare for questions and unusual circumstances.

The whole thing is here.

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