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Church Communications Contact Checklist

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:

1. E-mail

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?

David Tonen is a regular contributor to MediaBLEEP.

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  1. Tim Rueb (Reply) on August 30th, 2011

    Good checklist. One thing I would add is that these same rules apply for the social media realm. Unfortunately churches and many non-profits are technology laggards and thus have certain groups that want to interact with them by text messaging and social media sites updates/messages and these organizations are deaf to these demographics.

    Also, since CRM is not used as much as it should be, I usually recomend site forms so that the form can send multiple copies of the contact request to different people in the organization. Almost no one uses a shared email account and if that primary is not there you will want the alternate to take over the contact follow-up.

    Lastly, there is a difference between how we define “quick to respond” between prospects / (first time) visitors and clients / members. You must consider tightening up the response time to as short as possible for the first group, and expect some grace (pun intended) from the second group. If your organization / church is seeking to engage technology early adopters then your staff must be consumers / users of that technology as well.

    Good Hunting.

  2. David Tonen (Reply) on August 30th, 2011

    Excellent points Tim! The key word you used is “deaf”. Most ministries are simply tuned-out to communication via social media and they are even more-so oblivious to what is being said about them online or trough those social channels. There are so many tools available that can give them the “speaker” so they can hear…and then respond appropriately and in a timely manner. I think they just need some training!

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