If there is a dictionary definition of the spiritual term backsliding, I can promise you that it is accompanied by a picture of me on the phone with my phone and/or cable company. Very few things cause me to lose my ever-lovin’ religion faster than an interaction with an operator who “is very happy to resolve my issue as quickly as possible.”
A real-life scenario from recent days: my cell provider sent me a text letting me know that my bill was going up because I’d opted out of auto-bill pay and paperless billing. The problem: I didn’t remember doing any of those things. So I went online to opt back in of something I didn’t remember opting out of, only to be met with an indecipherable list of options that didn’t take me to the solution I needed.
Fast forward a couple of weeks after the opt-in fail: another text came through, letting me know that because I’d never opted back in, my bill would go up. So I called the number. Got a recording. Spoke my issue in full sentences, because the auto-attendant could understand everything I was saying. Said “operator.” “Operator.” “OPERATOR.” “For the love of all that is good, GET ME AN OPERATOR.” The operator came on. Tried to understand my issue. Promised me she could help. Walked me through my options. Asked me how my day was going (it was great up until we started this conversation eleventy-eight hours ago, thank you). Asked me to reconfirm all of my personal information. And finally – after a 25 minute attempt, let me know that my bill would be back to normal after the next billing cycle.
It’s enough to make you want to go back to two tin cans and a string.
The interaction got me to thinking about the unnecessary hoops we have our people jump through. Whether it’s a first time guest wanting more information about our churches, a potential volunteer trying to discover how to sign up to serve, or a church member attempting to get a few facts about an upcoming event, we tend to have the equivalent of text message / website attempt / second text message / way-too-long phone call / extended wait until the problem is actually rectified.
Do you have any hoops? Look at your systems. Your on-ramps. Your communication chain. Your sign up processes. Your time in responding to email or phone calls. Your chain of command. If any of these things are protracted or redundant, consider refining them. Simplifying them. Rather than saying you want to resolve an issue as quickly as possible, just resolve it.
And once you get your systems fixed, I’d love to introduce you to my cell company. Operators are standing by.