One very important question – well, two. But forgive me – as it’s the same question, twice. Confused? Good.
Hopefully, these visitors include people who have heard about your events through your publicity – perhaps they weren’t even aware of your church’s existence before! But through your brilliant church website, lovely posters, fantastic social media or attractive flyers, you’ve persuaded them that a) you exist, and b) your events might be worth a sniff!
Getting to know you
With your chairs filled, and your chapel overflowing, you breathe in the sound of happy, Christmass-y people. Hopefully you get the time to chat to some of them!
Obviously, there’s small talk involved – we are British, are we not?
‘First time here?’
‘Lived in the area long?’
‘Finished your Christmas shopping?’
‘Looking forward to a bit of time off?’
Or, the all time classic:
‘Cold out, isn’t it!’
Standard questions, and nothing wrong with them. I would hope that some of your conversations perhaps go a little below the surface, but hey – first meetings are difficult.
So, to help you in your quest, I would like to suggest one really useful question you could be asking:
How did you find us?
Ok, no prizes for guessing that’s what I was going to say. It was in the blog title, after all…
Why is this a helpful question?
The answer to ‘How did you find us’ can be enlightening. In short, in helps us to know how well our communications are working.
Fancy industry people call this ‘Marketing Attribution’, but we don’t need to worry about that. Essentially, we want to find out how people heard about our church, or the event that they’ve come to.
Depending on the visitor’s answer:
- It can reveal that what you’re doing is working
- It could highlight areas of your communications that need improvement, or
- Maybe it could show you ways people are finding you, that you weren’t even aware of!
These days, there are lots of ways to tell people about your events. We listed a few earlier. Yet it can be very difficult to know which methods are effective, and which ones are taking up too much of our time.
Asking visitors ‘How did you find us’ helps us to know how well our communications are working
It’s important, therefore, to get in early with this question, before our visitors become ‘residents’ and start actively seeking out information from us. If we wait, they might have forgotten the insights that could be so helpful.
So, be friendly (not creepy) and ask people how they found you.
But also, remember to ask them how they found you.
No, it’s not a typo.
Just as important as discovering how people found out about you, is to ask them how they found their experience, having met you.
This may be a shock to hear, but walking in to your friendly Christmas gathering can be quite a scary experience!
Even in a small church, your group of twenty people inside your festive building can be quite imposing to someone approaching from the dark, cold winter.
Walking in to your friendly Christmas gathering can be quite a scary experience for visitors!
Your visitors don’t know you.
They don’t know if you’re weird.
(Perhaps that should read, ‘They don’t yet know how weird you are’…)
Of course, you’ll all be doing everything you can to welcome new people with open arms. You’ll be making sure that they receive a warm smile and greeting; you’ll help them with any info they might need to feel at home straight away.
I have no doubt that you’re doing your best at these things – extending the love of Christ to your church’s new friends!
Still, there may be areas that you could improve.
Short of trying to forget everything you know about church in order to truly experience it as a newcomer might, asking an actual new person is probably the next best way to find out.
Asking the question
How you ask this question might not look the same in different settings or with different people.
You might be having a nice enough chat that you can ask someone this question in person. It could lead to a deeper conversation. Chances are, they’ll appreciate your willingness to ask a hard question, and your intention of making people feel as welcome as they possibly could!
Alternatively, it may be that this question fits neatly in to a follow up email or text during the week – assuming you asked for some contact details!
Or perhaps you might like to have a couple of minutes at the end of your event where everyone fills out a ‘How did you find us’ feedback form. You could even include a ‘How did you find us’ question on there to see how they heard about you.
However you ask these questions, make sure it’s not a one time thing – and make sure it’s not just you. Encourage others to ask the same – and get them to feed back their answers, so you can keep a record! Create a culture of gathering feedback, and using it to better share the love of Christ.
How did you find your findings?
Enough confusion, it’s quite simple:
- Find out how people came in to contact with the church
- Find out about their experience when entering your venue for the first time
Finally – act on it! People will give you useful information, but until you use it to improve, it will only be information! Let your findings inform your ministry – whether that’s your communications, or your welcoming!
Some questions to consider in the comments:
What’s your experience? What works for you?
How do people most often hear about you?
What have you done to make your visitors feel welcome?
What do you find is the best way to ask these questions?