First Impressions

Have you ever heard the term ‘Secret Shopper’? It’s something that many businesses, large and small, use as a method to help them be better at what they do.

For example, say I work for a company that is hired by a local superstore which begins with the letter ‘W’. My job is to pay this local superstore a visit as a regular shopper, and go about knocking things off my list. Then, I pay for the items and leave the store, again, as a regular shopper. The key is that I am making mental notes and maybe even written notes on my entire experience. I then report the findings to my supervisor, which culminates in a report to the local superstore on how they operate and are perceived. ‘W’ then will use the report’s findings to make changes/adjustments necessary to better serve the customer.

It may surprise you to know that some churches actually hire the same organization so they can attend their church, and function just like at superstore ‘W’. As someone who works with those who serve in the church on the First Impressions team, I think about this often. After all, research tells us that visitors make a decision whether or not to attend the church again, in less than 10 minutes once they drive onto the grounds. WOW! It’s crucial that a visitor’s first impression of who we are as a church is positive, warm, inviting and other adjectives.

Turn this to the spiritual for a moment. How is your first impression in God’s eyes? Are you positive, warm and inviting in relationship to Him? How about to others? Something to think about…

Scott Long