Published: 9 years ago

Billboards, Buck Coffee, and Church Bulletins

I’m just a wee bit irritated.

If you live in the Triangle, you can confirm that there are McDonald’s billboards everywhere that shout out “$1 small hot or iced coffee.”  They’re on highway 70.  15-501.  I-40.  Taunting me and my cheapskate self…“Cooommme to the cheeeeap siiiiide.  Staaaarbucks is eeeevilll.”

Editor’s note: Trying to sound like the creepy old lady on Poltergeist doesn’t play well in print.  Move along.

And so finally, I broke down and dropped by the golden arches to have myself a dollar iced coffee.  The lady behind the counter looked at me like I’d lost my fool mind.  “We don’t have coffee for a dollar.”

“But there are billboards everywhere that say you do.”

“We. Do not. Have coffee. For a dollar.”

No explanation, no apology, no let-me-find-out.  Just no coffee.  No dollar.  No deal.

Usually I don’t name names when I’m giving negative reviews.  But I figure Ronald is a big boy, and he can handle it.  The reason this irritates me is because that’s happened at not one, but two McDonald’s here in the Triangle.  It’s a weird phenomenon, that you wouldn’t sell what you’ve advertised.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d blame it on the Hamburglar.  Or the plastic Burger King guy.  He seems shifty.

But the reality is, we do the same thing in our churches every weekend.  The printed worship guide or the Eye Candy on stage (hey, can I help it what people call me when I make announcements?) will mention an upcoming event or a product at the resource table, and when people seek out a volunteer to ask more questions, the volunteer knows nothing about it.

Macro publicity without micro execution is mega dumb.

When we announce globally (from the stage or church bulletin) but don’t communicate locally (to our volunteers), we rip off both the people we’re communicating to and the people on the front lines.  In the end, it frustrates everybody and makes it seem that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  I should know…I’ve been responsible for doing it once or twice or 591 times.

One of the steps we’ve taken recently is an (i)F.A.Q. Notebook that resides at our First Time Guest tent as well as our Information Table.  It’s an ever-evolving document where we have the infrequently asked questions that people are prone to ask: “Does the church offer rides to worship services?”  “How can I get a copy of a sermon from two years ago?”  “How can I sign my kid up for fall retreat?”

And each week, we have a “This Weekend’s Events” page, which breaks down the service for the volunteers: who is speaking, what the message is about, what will be announced from the stage, and how those announcements affect the volunteer’s role.  (You can download a sample of that sheet here.)

It’s a new process, and we’re learning.  But so far, it’s getting great reviews from our volunteers.  They’re able to help guests.  Guests are able to get more info.  It’s a win win.

So it’s audience participation time: what does your church do to facilitate macro publicity and micro execution?  How do you let your volunteers know the stuff they need to know?  And which freakin’ McDonald’s serves iced coffee for a buck?

Comment below.

  1. tnrural says:

    “Macro publicity without micro execution is mega dumb.”

    Man. . you sound smart. Good stuff! This is true for every church.

  2. Zack says:

    I remember when McDonalds tried to revamp their image with new ‘premium’ coffee.

    They advertised the heck out of it so one day I decided to give it a try.

    I walked in to the local McDonalds and said “I’d like to try your new coffee!”

    (insert LOOOOONG, awkward pause)


    “Uh, I’d like to try your new, premium coffee.”

    (server looks behind her for someone who might understand the language I’m speaking)

    (I point to the menu item that literally says “PREMIUM coffee”)

    “I heard you guys have new coffee and I just wanted to give it a try.”

    “You want some coffee?”

    It went on from there, but I feel your pain.

  3. Lee Beck says:

    I know that you didn’t write this blog edition to trash MickyD, but you struck a nerve of mine. I know that we’re supposed to forgive, but I avoid the establishment that you discuss because they habitually take my money for my egg-biscuit at window #1 and then at window #2 ask me to pull aside while they make one. I’m already late to work and would gladly make a substitution if they were only honest at the ordering speaker and say that it’ll be a few minutes since they don’t have any ready. The other thing that I resent is the sign that says McD “this exit,” only to get off the Interstate and see the arrow with “5.2 mi.” under it. Having said that, I know that the other burger chains aren’t much better, but since I’m sure that many McD execs read your blog I’m adding my 2 cents.
    Now – on to the point that you are trying to make. I agree. We volunteers need to take our responsibility seriously and accept that we are selling something much more valuable than a burger. Potential consumers of the life-giving salvation that the Church offers deserve nothing but our best.

  4. Danny says:

    10/25/10 fairness update: I finally found buck coffee. In Roxboro. 30 miles away from the closest billboard. So yep, it’s out there, just not in the general market that I was hoping to find it.

  5. spenceshelton says:

    Does your ifaq have an iphone app yet?

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