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5 Ways to Get Constructive Feedback from Church Guests

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Your church isn’t a business. You have vastly different goals. But you have this in common. You can learn a lot from feedback. 

U.S. businesses spend nearly $140 billion annually because of avoidable consumer switching. They have a strong incentive to care about their customers’ experience. 

For churches, the incentive is different. You’re not concerned about the financial ramifications of your guest experience. In fact, your concerns are more significant. You want to help more people engage with God, settle their eternal destinies, and have more fulfilling lives. 

Understanding what your guests experience when they arrive at your church can help you improve the experience for future guests so they’re more likely to have a long-term relationship with your church.

Getting feedback from your guests will give you a different perspective on your church. Many of your members who have been around for years have grown accustomed to how your church operates. They’ll need help to look at the experience from the perspective of someone new. New guests are much more likely to recognize potential barriers to your church reaching more people like them. 

But it’s more complicated for churches that want to learn from past guests. People expect businesses to do this. It doesn’t seem icky; it looks normal (although it’s never easy). Churches shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking guests for feedback. The truth is, you can get feedback from guests without scaring them away.

Try these five ideas to get you started.

1) Use QR Codes for Anonymous Feedback

QR codes provide an easy way for guests to access a feedback form on your website. Tell guests you want to hear from them and place QR codes in strategic spots around your church (screens, foyers, children’s ministry pick-up locations, etc.). Link to a short questionnaire with a few multiple choice questions (rating parts of the guest experience on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10) and some open-ended questions where guests can go into detail about what they liked and didn’t like about the experience. Ensure you mention the QR codes during the worship service so people can be on the lookout.

2) Implement a Welcome Desk to Receive Feedback

A welcome desk can be a one-stop shop for everything your guests need. It’s a place where guests can come with their questions and find out how to plug into what’s happening at the church. It’s a significant early step in your efforts to provide a better welcome experience.

It’s also where guests provide in-person feedback and fill out a feedback form. During the worship service, you’ll need to let people know that your church welcomes input from guests and tell them about the welcome desk. Find some volunteers with thick skins who can talk with guests about their experience without getting defensive. 

3) Encourage People Who Follow Up with Guests to Ask About the Experience

Your church likely contacts guests in some way to thank them for coming and encourage them toward the next steps with your church. Make phone calls to do this. Provide those making these calls with simple and natural questions about their guest experience. Ensure they pass those notes about the responses to others on your team.

4) Put Comment Cards in Front of Guests During Worship Services

The seatbacks in front of guests during the worship service are one of the most natural places to ask for feedback. If you have some kind of commitment or decision cards in your worship services, add a few guest experience questions to the card. Keep them open-ended and straightforward, such as: “What did you like about your experience at our church today?” and “What did you not like about your experience today?” Try to give guests a line or two to respond. You can have guests drop off their feedback on the offering plate or at your church’s welcome center. 

5) Mention Your Desire for Feedback During Your Greeting Time

Put the idea in your guests’ minds early on that you appreciate their feedback. Explain to them all the different ways they can give feedback about your service. Ensure they understand that their feedback is essential, whether positive or negative. Every once in a while, describe an action your church took as a response to guest feedback. This will let your guests know that you take what they share seriously.

Your guests’ feedback is a gift, even if (or mainly if) it’s constructive criticism. Opening the channels for honest feedback invites people to discuss how your church can better serve the community. It’ll not only benefit you, but it’ll help every person who walks through your doors in the future.

So take a step. Post a QR code that goes to an online feedback form. Install a welcome desk. Announce your church’s desire to get feedback from guests. One step at a time can help your church transform your guest experience like never before. 

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