customer service

Several Wednesdays ago after not being able to use my beloved iPhone 5 except when I had access to wifi, I made my way to the Apple store at the UP Mall in Mishawaka. I was greeted warmly but professionally by a blue t-shirt wearing, Apple associate and after explaining my problem, he took me to the associate that handles the scheduling for the Genius Bar (Apple help desk). The first thing I noticed was that he TOOK me. He didn’t point me in the right direction. He didn’t say “go there”. He walked me to where I needed to go. The Genius Bar was scheduled out until 6:10p with a slim chance that someone ahead of me would cancel and I’d get in earlier. Hmm…that means waiting for 3 hours…well, I can’t not have my phone functioning. So, I stayed in the store and answered e-mails and did whatever else I could from my phone until the battery was practically dead.

As I waited, I observed, I experienced.

Several times during my first hour of waiting I experienced associates checking in with me to assure me that all was on schedule. I observed as the associates at the front of the store stood at designated positions that allowed them to face forward toward the entrance in somewhat of a triangle. The person at the top of the triangle was the first point of contact for any new customer coming into the store. This person would engage the customer with an introduction and “What brings you in today?” After getting the necessary info, they would take the customer where they needed to go. As they did, the associates in the triangle would rotate clockwise so that the front entrance was always staffed. It’s a simple process but a deliberate one, a well thought out customer service procedure. Apple associates do this day in and day out. It is in their corporate DNA. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the hospitality or customer service field in some form or another and I’m always intrigued by great customer service experiences. So as I watched the triangle shift, I asked associate, Leah if what I saw was legit and she assured me that it was. It’s what they are trained to do.

It got me wondering if what I observed and experienced is what is observed and experienced in my church and in your church. Do we have well thought out Guest Service/Hospitality plans and procedures? Do we point the way to where our guests need to go or do we take them there? How about the simple introduction…Hi my name is…May I ask your name? Kids area? Yes, (insert guest name) I’d be happy to take you there.

I’m convinced that with a little effort we can create WOW! experiences that express value to our guests. Guests that have taken the brave step across the threshold of our gathering spaces to perhaps consider their next steps with Jesus. How better to serve them than to put them at ease and by doing so at the front end of their experience, who knows but that God will use that interaction to facilitate life change. Apple technology has impacted our lives and their customer service has too. But Apple technology, as much as I love it, is just technology. Jesus, however, redeems and saves people and He uses us, His church to be a conduit of service and hospitality to draw those far from Him into close proximity and relationship. How we do that is of ultimate importance!

So, a couple Wednesdays ago I was at the Apple store, I stayed in the store…(sometimes it pays to remain visible) and after about 90 minutes the manager brought an associate to me that diagnosed the problem…determined that waiting on the Genius Bar wasn’t necessary, set me up with a new iphone 5 and I was on my way!

Yes, I’m a fan of Apple. People. Products. Service!

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