In the last two weeks I have had a dozen encounters with businesses and ministries where I have sent in an inquiry and been lost in a cavern of silence or a maze of confusion. You would think that “the Church” would be different because we are here to minister to people.
Sadly, this is often forgotten in the way we communicate.
With businesses, you might think that they would be quick to respond or make it easy because they are all about the making of money and serving their customers. However, the bureaucracy of business gets in the way of good client relations, too.
So, I would like to propose the Church Communications Contact Checklist:
When you print an e-mail address in any communication that is soliciting engagement or response please make sure it is a valid e-mail address. Otherwise you will frustrate the living daylights out of those you are trying to connect with and they may give up and never try to contact you again!
2. E-mail Auto-Response
If you have an auto-responder on your e-mail (indicating you are away or that you will respond soon), please make sure you or someone responds in a timely manner – don’t leave people hanging or lost in space.
3. Website Form
As tempting as it is to create a “Contact Us Form” on your website, it is better to give the e-mail address of a real person. That way people feel like they are reaching out to a real person and not a faceless organization. Just make sure that person responds to inquiries quickly.
4. Website “Contact Us”
Make it really easy to find the contact page or information on your website. Don’t agitate people by making them search into the depths of your site looking for ways to call or e-mail you.
5. Phone Tree
Automated phone tree answering systems are annoying – no one likes them! If you can’t make your phone system simple, have a real person answer the phone and direct callers.
6. Out Of Office Messages
Make sure your phone message is clear and up to date. If a caller gets your phone “out-of office” message from 6-weeks ago on your phone, or in response to their e-mail, they will wonder if you ever came back.
Make it easy for people to contact your ministry. It’s the least you can do!
Do you have any other contact pointers or tips from your experiences or frustrations that you might like to share?