What Do Your Guests Really Experience At Church?

Back in the 90’s I was hired by a company to be a mystery shopper. The idea was that I would show up at a restaurant, order and eat my food and then give a very detailed analysis to my employer about my experience at the store. The point of this exercise was to help restaurants improve and get some outside input on the guest experience. The employees and leaders were just a little too close to the everyday activities to truly get, or give, an outside perspective.

A few years ago I decided to offer similar services to local churches. As a result, I have helped a lot of church leaders identify and address issues that were hindering first-time guests from having an optimal ‘welcoming’ experience. I’ve also had the privilege to meet some wonderful people and attend some great churches both large and small.

How This Works.

Here’s how this works. You hire me to come and visit your church. On a weekend of my choosing I show up, unannounced and incognito (no, I don’t wear an overcoat or a wig.) And YOU don’t tell any of your leaders that you’ve hired me or that I’m coming. In other words, I get to experience a ‘normal’ Sunday service.

During my visit, I take note of several key experiences as a first-time guest. 

  1. I check out the website to see how well it provides directions and information about the service.
     
  2. I evaluate the ‘Street to the Seat’ experience, beginning from when I get out of my car and ending when I sit down for the service.
     
  3. I take special note of how I was greeted and treated by both recognized hosts (like ushers/greeters), as well as by regular attendees.
     
  4. I also evaluate the overall service experience through the eyes of a guest (worship, announcements, offering, speaker, etc.).
     
  5. Finally, I evaluate what happens as the service ends and I make my way to my car to leave.

Mystery Guest Church Evaluation Includes:

  • A Mystery Guest Visit.
    Most of the time, I will visit the church myself. On occasion I may send a trained mystery guest team member to visit the church in my place.

  • A Detailed Mystery Guest Written Assessment.
    I will write up a detailed assessment of the Mystery Guest experience, including a ‘play by play’ of what took place as well as observations and recommendations for your leadership to consider.
     
  • One 90 Minute Coaching Session.
    I will also meet with the pastor or ministry leader to discuss my assessment and provide further details about the experience, answer questions, and offer practical recommendations on what the church might consider as next steps. 
     

About the Cost:

There are two costs associated with a Mystery Guest Church Evaluation.

  • Professional Fees: $500
    This is the basic cost for performing all of the above services. If a church cannot afford to pay the standard rate, please don’t hesitate to ask me about discount options.
     
  • Food & Travel: TBD
    Based on your location there may be additional costs associated with travel and/or overnight stays. In these cases, I will work with you to determine these additional costs before we finalize our agreement.

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