My youngest daughter just moved out of our house and into an apartment. Usually when kids move out their parents are close by to help them with setting things up and everything that comes with it, but not us, we moved 8 hours away! My daughter decided she needed blackout curtains for her room because she can only sleep if the room is pitch black. She called us for advice on how to install curtain rods and as we were telling her she said; “I think I’ll just go to Home Depot and ask somebody there. I’ll just say “hey, can you put curtain rods on a wall?” and when they say yes I’ll tell them to follow me to my apartment.” Where did we go wrong!?!!
Her train of thought was that she would go to the place that should have all the answers and they would help her. How many people do you think you interact with at church that have that same train of thought? You helped them find a parking spot so you must know how to help them get connected into a small group, or what day and time the student ministry meets, right? I am a big fan of cross training all of the first impression team members, but there’s no way anyone can have all the answers!! So what can you do?
We have thought about this and here are a couple of steps we take;
1. Help Center – we changed our “info desk” to “help center” because we want people to know where they can go for help, not just information. We push all information to our website and have iPads at the help center for the team members to not only help people with their request, but to also show them where they can find the answers in the future! We also have 4×5 pieces of paper with “Name,” “Phone,” “Email,” “I would like information on,” and then blank lines for those requests the team members are not able to answer and the staff tackles those on Monday. The iPads also allow guests to sign up for special events. They can pull up the registration form and fill it out right there at the help center.
2. Communication – we do our best to inform all team members of the basic information that can help a guest when they ask questions. We send a weekly email with information about special events happening like the next date for baptism, or membership, or kids camp, student camp, etc. Our coaches do an excellent job communicating the non-weekly activities during their preservice huddles as well as reminding all team members that if they aren’t sure how to answer a guests request, they can walk them to the help center!
Here’s what our Help Center Note looks like!
I hope our first impressions team has an incredible reputation for helping people like Home Depot does in my daughters mind!
PS – she didn’t bring a stranger into her house, she found a friend to help her hang her curtains! Whew!!