Six everyday essentials overlooked in Easter planning

Did you catch the Apple event last week? Apple theology and general reaction aside, I’m not here to talk about the big announcements. It was the developer rules leading up to the big announcements that caught my attention. And, as I watch churches in the frenzy of extra promotions around Easter weekend, I can’t help but wonder about the everyday rules leading up to the big Easter event.

In product and service development, Apple keeps the customer front-of-mind, anticipating their needs, solving their problems. How about you? As you prepare for Easter, have a few people walk through a guest experience from beginning to end using Apple’s litmus test. See where there are experience disruptions and disconnects.

  1. Easy to use. Is it easy to find parking? How about the restroom? Is first-time check-in for kids simple and clear? Is your web site up to date with current events? Are you prepared for extra lines during peak service times?

  2. Attention to detail. Don’t just say you’re welcoming, show you’re welcoming - with simple but significant touches. Is your signage clear? Are your greeters ready to welcome strangers and not just friends? Are your slides, announcements, bulletin and handouts jargon and clutter-free?

  3. Private and secure. Can guests ask for discrete assistance or prayer without a lot of fanfare? Are you asking guests for too much information, too soon, in the connect card?

  4. Expert curation. Have you emphasized the most helpful information in your bulletin? Is it clear where someone can get help? Get involved? Get connected? Remember, you don’t have to answer everything up front, just make it clear where people can find answers when they are looking for them.

  5. Personalization. Do they feel like a number at the connection center or the one out of the 99? Do volunteers have name badges? Are your teams cross-trained in hospitality and above and beyond service? Are they looking out for handicap accessibility, or parents with less arms than the amount of kids they’re carrying?

  6. Family sharing. Consider the service experience for the whole family - and the next steps that meet their needs beyond a promotion for next weekend. People are there to connect to community for them and their children.  Is there something for every generation of the family unit?

It’s not a checklist for the special weekends that make or break a great experience. It’s the essential basics that go into advance planning for every weekend that turn guests into fans and fans into evangelists. But, since it is Easter, now is a good time to take a second look at these key areas.