The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications
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E065 - Platforms For Direct Messaging

Joanna: All week long we're talking about what to do about complaints and feedback from people in our congregations or our customers. So today James I want you to tell us more about what this platform is that you're using for direct messaging from your clients and customers and why you think everybody can and should implement this on their website, even in churches.

James: So if you go to our website you will see in the bottom right corner this little messenger pop up icon and this is something that we implemented about a year ago and it's really a game changer I think for any website that deals with people. Which is every website so it'll be great for churches and it's great for businesses. Basically you just click on it and if you're with ours it's the Facebook Messenger. So if you're signed in on Facebook and you click on that you just send us a direct message. And what's great about that from past systems the past system would be you have a contact page on your website someone fills out a form they send it to you. It goes into an e-mail along with a hundred or a thousand other e-mails and someone eventually gets to it maybe five minutes later or two weeks later. What's great about the messenger system is we always have someone here in the office signed on and it you know goes "ping" right onto the desktop and there it is. And so you are having a direct conversation with someone at Visualmediachurch or Stokhub when you use that icon. And what is so great about that is people will message in a question or sometimes they have an issue or something isn't working and we are literally having a conversation with them as we fix it. And it can be fixed often within 30 seconds. And that is so amazing because in today's day and age people expect things to happen fast. And we are also expecting that customer service is really slow. And so people are often really surprised when we one respond within 30 seconds. And even more surprised when two or three minutes later their problem is solved and we can say thank you and we have a personal conversation. We try not to be robotic. We don't have any bots set up on our system. You are just having a conversation with someone here in the office and we try to just have a conversation. I hope we have a great day. Hope your Easter is going great. You know we're gonna solve that problem. We're gonna message you back here in five minutes. We go solve the problem and then "ping" it comes back to their computer or their phone. And why I think that is so great for churches is I think churches have the same problem where a contact form. You kind of expected to be slow and wouldn't it be great if we could implement this on church websites where you can actually ask a question about a church and have it answered by someone at the church right away because one that gives you contact with the person you also find out who that person is because in order to sign in you have to use a Facebook account. And what's great about that is you know that they live in your area. You can ask them if hey can we sign you up for our e-mail newsletter we'd love to tell you about upcoming events. It's a great way to make a personal connection with someone right on your website.

Joanna: And often the questions that they would be asking there are those quick turnaround questions. I would imagine it would be rare for them to write a long paragraph of their concern. Like we've been talking about this week like larger concern kinds of things. And if it is you can move it along into another kind of communication form. But if it's like hey what is your church services starting or do you have child care or what's your address I can't seem to find it you know these kinds of these kinds of quick questions that I know that I've used. We were talking on another day about these major telecom companies that we were talking to them. We expect a high level of response to their little chat forms that we have that they have on their websites but actually the same thing can happen for smaller organizations and you're not getting these like a thousand times a day I would imagine?

James: We get anywhere from 20 to 25 messages a day. And I think it's great just to make a good first impression with people that hey this is this is a place where I can have a conversation. If I have a problem it gets solved and they're easy to deal with like you want people to leave your website feeling positive about it rather than oh that was so frustrating. Maybe someone will respond to me tomorrow. And I think the same is true for a church and yet I think a lot of the questions people would get through this would be stuff that's probably available on your website but sometimes people can't find it they can't see it there on mobile. Yeah I would bet that the the most popular question be what time is services. And imagine if someone typed that in and they got a response you know one minute later they're more likely to come because they like wow they're really responsive. That's actually really good. They left with a good feeling about interacting with your church as opposed to a frustration.

Joanna: So really practically we're going to link in the show notes some places where you can find these kinds of widgets and you can figure out how to add them to your own sites.