Guests Are People, So Personalize Their Experience







Quite simply, here’s the problem with  “It’s not personal, it’s just business”: if there isn’t someone who is taking it personally, there’s no need for the statement in the first place.     – Scott McCain, Taxi Terri

At the heart of all business transactions are two intensely personal relationships: You sell, I buy. That is business.     – Michael Savage, Slow Leadership

In most of my books, I find myself touching on a theme that sounds something like ‘all business is personal.’ I am attracted to this message because well-intentioned leaders can get drawn into tasks, products, and profits and lose sight of the basic importance of personal care for staff and customers.     – Joseph Michelli, The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, The Zappos Experience

Scott McKain’s third tenet from his book 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry is Customers are people, so personalize their experience.

From the movie/television quotes in the images at the top to the business quotes above, it doesn’t take much of a shift in thinking to realize that all business is personal. Since a customer is a person first and foremost, that is why it is logical that customers want a personalized experience.

McKain provides 5 steps to creating a highly personal, ultimate customer experience:

  1. Know and use the customer’s name
  2. Ask great questions
  3. Collect information about the customer that personalizes his or her experience.
  4. Don’t get uncomfortably personal.
  5. Display interest in the customer’s interests.

Since I am translating these concepts from Taxi Terry to the church environment, is the tenet true there as well?

Guests are people, so personalize their experience.

If you are a hospitality or guest services team leader or member, you had better hope you make it true at your church!

So how does the third tenet work out in the “real world” of welcoming and greeting Guests, regular attenders, and members of your church?

Try this scenario:

Most people coming to your church – even for the first time, but especially for following visits – are creatures of habit. They tend to follow groups of people walking in the parking lot, onto the sidewalks, into the building, finally arriving at their destination, which most of the time is a worship area.

  • Did your front-line team members welcome them, introducing themselves in the process?
  • When Guests come to a welcome area, did the team introduce themselves by name to the Guests?
  • Did the team members make the Guests feel at ease by asking a few strategic questions to help the Guests discover what they needed to know?
  • Does your welcoming process include some kind of system for your team to collect information about the Guest in person, and then enter it later?
  • Are your guest teams trained to understand the boundaries that Guests put up – both stated and unstated?
  • Do your guest teams really take an personal interest in the Guest’s interests as they are shared?

I could go on, but I think you get the picture: Welcoming Guests at your church is all about personalizing their experience.


Taxi Terry Takeaway, Adapted for your Church’s Guest Experience

The third tenet is all about personalization, but it has little chance of succeeding unless you take action with specific Guests to develop a relationship with them – collectively, over time, as well as individually, at the moment.

  • Can your team members call Guests by name as they are “handed off” from one person to another in the process of making them feel welcome?
  • Is your guest team trained to ask appropriate questions and give appropriate responses to your Guests in order to help their experience be as personal as possible?
  • Are your front-line guest teams proactive in interacting with Guests, attenders, and members so all three groups know they are welcomed?
  • Are all your guest teams consistent in making Guests feel welcomed?


inspired and adapted from Scott McKain’s amazing book, 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry


If you are involved in the hospitality ministry of your church, this is a must-have book, filled with step-by-step strategies of how you can create and deliver the ultimate Guest Experience at your church

Read Tenet 1 here.

Read Tenet 2 here.

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