What brings guests to your business may not be enough to keep them coming back. The key to growth as a business, church, or a youth ministry is getting first-time guests to come back, so how can this be done? Jason Young and Jonathan Malm know this struggle first-hand. Young is director of guest experience at Buckhead Church and North Point Ministries, a nationally known network of churches with 36,000 people in average weekly attendance. He has also worked with numerous organizations, including Ford Motor Company, Life Church, and Chick-fil-A. Malm runs SundaySocial.tv and ChurchStageDesignIdeas.com, reaching more than 70,000 church leaders each month. He has begun multiple businesses and consults with churches regularly on guest services and creative expression. The two combined their experiences to write The Come Back Effect.
The Come Back Effect provides solutions every business leader needs to know to facilitate and maintain expansion. Written by a church consultant and a hospitality expert, this book shows business leaders, churches, and ministries the secrets to helping their first-time guests return again and again. As any good manager of a hotel, a store, a restaurant, or an attraction understands, the key to getting guests to come back is not actually the rooms or the product or the food itself; it’s how guests feel when they’re there. It’s about hospitality. It’s about the culture created inside and extending it to those who visit. Through an engaging, story-driven approach, The Come Back Effect explains how service and hospitality are two different things. It shows how Jesus practiced hospitality, and it shows leaders how to develop and implement strategies that will result in repeat visits and, eventually to sustained growth
Malm shares in the book about a visit to Walmart that showed him the difference between service and hospitality.
“There’s a man who works at the Walmart by my house. He perfectly
illustrates this idea of service without hospitality. The first
time my wife and I encountered him, I had a simple question
about the location of an item in the frozen foods section. He
cheerily offered to escort me to the item. But once we found it,
he didn’t leave. He stood a bit too close to me and started talking
to me about completely unrelated topics. His gestures while
talking to me felt like an octopus wriggling into my personal
space. He didn’t simply solve our problem then ask, “Is there
anything else?” He overstayed his welcome in an attempt to be
I remember telling my wife as we walked away, “That dude takes
his job for real. And I don’t mean that in a good way.”
Now when we visit that Walmart, we don’t ask this guy for
help, because he goes so above and beyond that it actually ruins
Hospitality is about caring for the emotions of the guest just
as much as it is about serving them, if not even more. That means
knowing when it’s time to go above and beyond the call of duty
or when it’s time to walk away. Hospitality is about merging the
function—the tasks—and the feeling.
Every time a guest experiences us, we should honor them enough
to deliver the same level of hospitality in every experience. But that
same level of hospitality might mean responding differently each
time, because the experience is about the guest. It’s not about making
ourselves feel good about the service we provided. It’s making
the guest feel good about the hospitality we showed.”
Chris Darley, owner/operator, Chick-fil-A, Atlanta, Georgia shares his impression of The Come Back Effect.
“Truett Cathy taught me, ‘Hospitality is cheap, but it pays great dividends.’ Creating a culture of hospitality is vital for our restaurants and any team that wants to fulfill its purpose. Jason and Jonathan provide a powerful guide to help you create a culture! My hope is this book impacts you at a heart level, where it affects how you serve not only on Sunday but every day!”
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21
Kirk Kinsell, former president and CEO, Loews Hotels; former president, Intercontinental Hotels Group (Americas) reflects on The Come Back Effect.
“Service comes from a manual; hospitality comes from the heart. In The Come Back Effect, Jason and Jonathan unpack how gracious hospitality and generosity of spirit will lead to a powerful, lasting relationship between people and your church or business.”
Get feedback from others. Whether you work in the hospitality and tourism industry or in a cubicle, everyone can benefit by being more hospitable to others. Take time this month to ask your co-workers, customers and friends on areas that you do well and areas you need to grow in when it comes to hospitality. Be open to their constructive criticism as it can help you grow as a leader. It can be helpful to do a survey with a set of questions that you want everyone to answer.
Give feedback to help others. Instead of complaining about an interaction with an employee or service at a restaurant, think of solutions when you present your feedback. It might be giving the employee an alternative way as to how you would have liked the situation to have been handled or a creative solution to a reoccurring problem. While it might be difficult at first, remember that by giving them feedback, you provide an opportunity for them to hear from their customer and hopefully change what they are doing.
Be gracious. Remember that everyone is in process from the person that greets you at the store or church to the CEO or pastor. If someone or something rubs you the wrong way, ask God to give you His eyes into the situation. Pray and ask God how you can be a part of the solution, rather than just complaining or criticizing.
For more info on The Come Back Effect, click here.