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The other day, I stopped by a nearby sandwich shop to grab a quick to-go lunch.  This particular shop prides itself in preparing food very quickly.  Upon completion, the employee handed me my sandwich simply wrapped in paper with a little tape holding it all together.  Naturally, I requested a bag for it.  As he bagged my meal, the employee remarked, “Everyone asks for a bag but management specifically tells us not to use them.”  He then turned to his manager to ask the reason for those instructions.  The answer?  “Because it takes more time.”  The manager’s simplistic response was an incredible example of a common failure in many organizations.  By defining customer service entirely by efficiency, the shop may actually detract from its experience.

In every organization, including churches, it is easy to allow efficiency to take highest priority.  With limited finances, staff, volunteers, and time, it is natural to work hard to make the most of every resource available.  And understandably so!  We should be great stewards of the things God has provided us.   .

However, the problem with an overemphasis on efficiency is the lack of focus on other “customer” needs.  Often, efficiency forsakes personal connection for resource conservation.  
Consider the following areas where churches often value efficiency over experience:
1.  Parking
Are you guiding people to empty spaces or just pointing them in the general direction?
2.  Information
Are you personally answering specific questions or simply providing written publications that people must search through?
3.  Connection Systems
Is there a personal component for people getting involved with small groups or serving teams?  Or are you over-relying on digital forms and tools?
4.  Website
Is the answer, “just go to the website” given too often to the people in your church?
Where else have you seen efficiency valued over customer/attendee experience?  Find the “sandwich bags” in your organization and begin to make experience the priority.
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