One of the exercises my companies does quite regularly is to identify the actions that the best customers and users take. They call this a perfect customer profile and this means they look at those who use their product the most, what activities and characteristics they share now and what interactions they had along the way. This helps highlight trends between the more regular and top spending customers. I believe there is some value in applying this to the Church. Let me explain with a couple of examples:
- How a visitor becomes a member;
- The most active members.
The Perfect Visitor Profile
Ideally, someone won’t visit a church once but will continue attending, of course, this won’t happen every time, but we can certainly stop ourselves from unintentionally driving people away. If we can identify the common interactions and moments when people drop off, we can work out what we can do better and what we can avoid. Let’s say that we notice most visitors who come back get invited to a mid-week homegroup then we can encourage church members to ask people to home groups and plug the home groups during the service.
Alternatively, we may notice that people who have heard about us from a particular source are more likely to stick around. This may encourage us to focus more of our time and energy on people connected to that location or improve our other initiatives. For example, let’s say that we notice that people who heard from a friend about the church stick around more, but we get more people who visit after finding the website. In this case, we may try and improve our interactions via the website (providing tools to chat with someone before they come) and encourage our congregation to invite more friends.
The Most Active Members
We may also want to encourage our church members to get more involved as this is something we’ve noticed isn’t so great. If we look at those people in the church who are actively serving, we may start to see some trends and patterns. This could be:
- they have a friend who is on the team with them;
- they got involved early on;
- they have kids/don’t have kids;
- they live nearby.
In each case, there may be a course of action we can take to encourage participation. Like by:
- suggesting people join/try a team with a friend;
- inviting new members to get involved early;
- planning new ministries for those with/without kids or just asking them why they aren’t involved as much;
- planning other activities for members who are not located so close.
The Worst Case Scenarios
We can also get a lot of value from investigating the worst examples, those who visit once and never come back or who attend regularly but aren’t involved at all. In these examples, we may notice a point where they don’t continue, and so we can try and address that.
It Helps Individuals
This type of research also helps individuals because we may discover an individual exception along the way. For example, the person who was actively involved but their name was accidentally cut off an email list. Suddenly the leaders thought they didn’t want to be involved and they felt they weren’t wanted anymore. By investigating we open up the possibility of finding such situations and improving our general systems.