As some of you know, my family and I are helping to plant a new church in Birmingham, AL. We were preparing for a publicity blitz this coming Sunday afternoon and as part of that I had some door hangers printed up. I used a company that greatly emphasizes their 48 hour turn around time so that I could have the hangers by Friday afternoon with only 2 day air shipping. I placed the order on their website, uploaded the pdf’s with no trouble and went on my merry way. The site is well designed and functional so ordering was no problem.
Well the hangers did not ship on Wednesday as their 48 hour guarantee told me they would. So I opened a support ticket for some help. I promptly received a call saying they were closed on Monday and that delayed printing a day. As a result I would need to pay an additional $57 to receive the hangers on time.
The problem is no where on their front page, or any of their order pages did the site say they were closed on Monday, the day I ordered the door hangers. I went through their site and the only place it mentions it is on their contact page. In effect they won’t tell you when they are closed until you have a problem with something.
This brings up the importance of anticipation and good communication. We all need to anticipate what kind of information visitors to our websites will need and provide it to them in an upfront and clear way. Churches should provide clear links for people to find directions, service times and ideally at least a page dedicated to helping them understand what to expect when they come to your church.
My 48 Hour experience reiterates the need to think through our communication plan clearly from the point of view of a guest. Otherwise they may have a regrettable experience at your church that could have been prevented with a bit more forethought.
Write me a comment below with some good examples of church website communication and any bad ones you can think of.