You Don’t Get to Define the Small Stuff

How many of you have ever been bitten by an elephant?



How many of you have ever been bitten by a mosquito?



See, it’s the little things that always get you!

Joel Weldon, quoted by Scott McKain


When it comes to Guest Experiences, NOT paying attention to the little things – the small stuff – is often where even experienced Guest Services teams can trip up.

And guess what – you don’t get to define the “small stuff” – your Guest does.

Disney's attention to detail has you expecting Maximus to show up at any moment.

Disney’s attention to detail has you expecting Maximus to show up at any moment.

What’s small stuff to you may be huge to your Guest.

Scott McKain, writing in his book 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry, has a three-step plan for sweating the small stuff.

> Step 1: Is Everything Exactly Right?

While understanding that it sometimes seems that nothing goes exactly right, by failing to ask what it would be like if everything went exactly right, we diminish the likelihood that we will be detail-oriented enough to anticipate the needs of all our Guests.

> Step 2: What Action Steps Do I Need to Take to Deliver Exactly Right?

The next logical question: What do we need to do in order to deliver? It’s about taking the appropriate action steps required to make your goal of everything being exactly right become a reality.

> Step 3: What Policies, Procedures, and Activities Should We Stop Doing?

It’s important to constantly reevaluate your policies to be certain they have the Guest’s best interest in mind, getting rid of outdated and outmoded policies that serve neither your current needs nor the Guest’s desires.

Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come.     – Perry Paxton, quoted by Scott McKain.

Paying attention to even the smallest of details is an excellent example of McKain’s second Tenet: Delivering What Helps the Customer (Guest) Helps You.

How do you determine what would be helpful for your Guest? According to McKain, it’s these four ideas:

  1. What would you want to know?
  2. Where would you need help?
  3. How would someone different from you desire assistance?
  4. Sweat the small stuff.

If Number 4 sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the biggest small thing most churches overlook in their Guest Experience process. That’s why it’s important enough to repeat – even in the same blog post!


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

  1. Imagine a conversation with a Guest who was at your church last weekend. On a sheet of paper, write down step by step how that conversation would go if everything went exactly right.
  2. Now write down the specific action steps you’ll need to take to deliver exactly right.
  3. Finally, examine the actions you are currently doing that are not on that list, and stop doing them.
  4. Bonus: Name three things your Guest Services ministry currently does for Guests that you think may be above and beyond what is expected from churches.
  5. Double Bonus: If you easily named three, think of two more – and if you couldn’t name the first three, guess what the action steps need to be for your team to develop in the next two weeks?


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 about Tenet 1 here.

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