Nine Ways to Improve Guest Experience

Thom Rainer recently wrote an article entitled, “Nine Surprises in Worship Services that Made Guests Return.” Rainer, based on a recent Twitter survey, described events that impressed guests and made them desire to return. As I read this article, I noticed a few trends that could easily translate to your next event.

Here are the nine factors Rainer mentioned with an explanation of how they relate to event planning and improving attendee experiences:

  1. “Someone had an umbrella waiting for me in inclement weather.” In the event of less-than-desirable weather on registration day, have volunteers available to assist guests as they enter. Remember, first impressions are key!
  2. “A member actually invited me to lunch.” While this doesn’t translate completely to conferences, is it possible to have volunteers available to sit with attendees who may be alone at tables? This can carry-over to break times, as well.
  3. “The kids area had leaders who were friendly and helpful.” If your event will have childcare, make sure leaders leave parents with assurance their children will be well taken care of. Parents will enjoy their time much more if they are not worried about their kids.
  4. “There was a time of meaningful prayer.” Can you incorporate a prayer experience in your large group session? Prayer shouldn’t be an after-thought if your conference is worship-focused. If your event is more corporate-focused, are there ways you can integrate prayer for your organization?
  5. “Someone walked us where we were supposed to go.” Often conferences are in unfamiliar locations to the guests. While you might not be able to have staff available to escort guests individually, clearly marked volunteers (perhaps they have on the same t-shirt) are a great asset.
  6. “There was genuine friendliness outside of the stand and greet time.” Make sure your volunteers and staff are genuine and excited to serve. People can easily spot someone who has a less-than-stellar attitude. The overall demeanor of your team can set the entire tone for your conference attendees.
  7. “People followed up with my prayer requests the next day.” Follow-up with your conference attendees if they have a question, concern or general comment. If possible, address these immediately and face-to-face. This will show you value their opinions and genuinely care about their experiences.
  8. “I loved having the opportunity to speak with the pastor.” Is it possible to have event speakers available to the attendees? This might not be a possibility due to the size of your event or the notoriety of your speakers. However, if your event is a bit smaller and more intimate, consider having a meet and greet time with your speakers and/or worship leaders.
  9. “I received a gift at the end of the service.” Don’t let your guests leave empty-handed. At the end of the final session, have a small treat from a local bakery available or hand them a small snack bag and water bottle for their drive home.

Which of these points could you implement as you plan your next event? While you don’t have to incorporate all of them, choose a few you can do effectively. Adding these special touches can be just the thing a guest needs to sign up for your next event.

Your Thoughts?