Wouldn’t you love to have a Sunday School that creates “raving fans”? In Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, he told a parable-like story and helped his readers to understand three big essentials for creating customers who are much more than simply “satisfied” customers…they are raving fans of the business and don’t mind telling others about it. Consider his three main ideas for creating raving fans:
1. Decide what you want
2. Determine what the customer wants
3. Deliver plus-one
Blanchard said, “What I want you to see is that just having satisfied customers isn’t enough anymore. You don’t own those people. They are just parked on your doorstep and will be happy to go somewhere else. Today you need raving fans to succeed.” Let’s look at each of his points and think how we might use them in our Sunday School ministries.
1. Decide what you want – Blanchard believes the process starts here. A business must decide what perfection looks like (in our case a church and its Sunday School must decide what perfection looks like). It is centered on the customer’s experience with the service or product produced by the company. In this example, a church would determine what a guest (or a member!) should experience if their time spent interacting with the church was one where perfection was achieved. Would the people find clear signage, a staffed welcome center, someone to personally escort them to their classrooms, a satisfying Bible study experience, a warm fellowship, a welcoming congregation, quick follow-up after the initial visit, etc? The list could go on and on! Decide what a perfect experience for members and guests looks like…get a clear vision in your mind of what you want to have happen.
2. Discover what the customer wants – Simply ask them. To understand a guest or member’s expectations, be a great listener. Realize that you can’t be everything to everybody…no one can, but do seek to understand your vision and the vision of the customer, and where gaps exist between the two, says Blanchard.
3. Deliver “plus-one” – This is the fun one! Just as water is hot at 211 degrees, it boils at 212 degrees and produces steam that powers locomotives. What’s the difference? Just one degree of intensity. That’s the idea behind Blanchard’s third point…give your efforts an extra degree of intensity…do what you’re going to do, then go one degree more – go “plus one.” It reminds me of the verse from Ecclesiastes that says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Once you decide what “plus one” looks like in your church’s Sunday School, tell your leaders! If you don’t tell them what a “win” looks like, they’ll determine that for themselves…that’s just what leaders do. Andy Stanley is a big fan of “clarifying the win” – clarifying what it means to do a great job so that we know if we’ve done it or not.
We need more raving fans of our Sunday Schools…raving fans who love to invite others to come and participate in their ongoing groups. More raving fans who will answer the call to step up to assume leadership roles. That’s my prayer for the church…a vibrant, healthy Sunday School full of raving fans.
To order a copy of Raving Fans through Amazon, click here