Sydnie’s car had a recall notice sent out on it this week. There were a couple of bad bolts in the window that they are replacing. I took the car into Jim Norton Toyota this afternoon to get the work done and was totally blown away by the customer service and amenities. They had a covered service lane. I was in and out of the service line in less than two minutes, where I was directed to the cafe. At the cafe I was told that there was free water, wifi, cookies, and muffins available. The place was unbelievably clean and the customer cafe and lounge were filled with oversized furniture.
I sat in the cafe reading the book "Broken Windows, Broken Business" by Michael Levine. I was reading the chapters dealing with bad employees as broken windows. The premise of the book is based off of UCLA professor James Wilson’s theory that if your go into a neighborhood and see a broken window or graffiti, that if the problem isn’t fixed quickly within 72 hours that it sends the message that the criminals are in charge. This theory was put to the test by Rudy Giuliani in New York City with amazing results. Levine took this theory and applied it to business. After visiting Jim Norton I want to talk through a few chapters. The employees at Jim Norton were very hospitable and I can’t say a thing about them except, "well done." This is customer service and in the church our staff, greeters, ushers, and members are our customer service representatives. Every time someone walks into our church every member needs to realize that they are the first impression of our church. This book is really amazing and has me thinking in so many directions about how we can improve our first impressions, follow up, and overall guest experience. Remember to smile this weekend at church and shake lots of hands. Welcome people you don’t know. Sit in the middle of the pew so that first time guests don’t feel awkward about brushing past you to get to a seat. Volunteer your time on the weekend to help pick up trash on the campus or edge the sidewalks. Look for broken things in the church and tell someone in charge about it.
Why should we care? There are several things around the church that are in disrepair. We are raising funds to repair some of those items, but there is a lot of work to be done and our facility team is working hard to keep up and the list is long. Here is the thing though. I think that there are a lot of us in the pews that could pitch in to make a difference. We have a lot of small things sending signals to outsiders. These perceptions become reality. "I visited AHBC and the people were nice but there were a bunch of ceiling tiles missing in the ceiling, paint peeling off the building, trash in the parking lot, signs were missing letters, dead plants…I just felt that if they couldn’t take care of the building how well were they taking care of my children." I don’t think that statement is too far fetched. Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor who has never been here before. Come to church this weekend with a fresh perspective. Look around for broken things and let me know about them. Volunteer some time to help make AHBC an amazing place. Make it a family affair. Become emotionally attached to this community. I am done for now. I still have several more chapters to read. See you guys and gals on Sunday.