Monday, October 20, 2008

The Mystery Worshipper

The October 10th Wallstreet Journal ran a feature story headlined The Mystery Worshipper. "To try to keep their flocks," the article began, "churches are turning to undercover inspectors who note water stains, dull sermons and poor hospitality."

Retail stores and restaurants have long used mystery shoppers to provide feedback on their shopping/dining experience. But now secret shopper firms are expanding their market to include churches who want to find out what first time visitors think about their worship experience. Chris Sonksen of Real Church Solutions offers: "First-time guests, they don't come with mercy, they come with judgment. They're looking for a reason to leave."

The cost of a mystery worshipper can range from $150 for a one-time visit to between $1,500 and $2,500 for multiple visits and a detailed report. So what if we hired a "Mystery Worshipper" to check out Hillside? What categories of our worship experience would attract a critical eye? Let's consider a few categories:
  • Sermon
  • Music
  • Appearance of grounds
  • Website
  • Greeters
  • Friendliness of members
  • Cleanliness of restrooms
  • Classes for children/adults
What other categories would you add? And more importantly, what can all of us do to be more attuned to how we're perceived by first-time visitors!

1 comment:

jakemaxwel said...

When I came to Hillside, it was the friendliness of the people, the music, and sermons that made me bring an adult understanding to my faith that attracted me. I think we still have those things going for us. I know a lot of younger folks are attracted with a more withit web site, and were getting there too.