A Different kind of Service

“Arrogance, aggression and cleverness are the major barriers to persuasion. But so is misreading the audience.  Except for coercive persuasion, which some groups use to force their views on others, the audience controls the outcome of every argument” (Sire, 2006)

This quote from Why good arguments fail, by James W. Sire, I think carries a pivotal point to be considered when speaking with any Believer, Unbeliever or Customer.  Consider this not just in a faith or business conversation context, but any conversation that involves making your point, a getting that point across clearly.

Many times the message is “lost in translation”.

In business, we speak in technical terms and the customer listens in a context in whatever they may be feeling that day.  It could be technical (dealing with system issues), personal (home life not going well today), frustration (every customer has been a problem), or a business context, (volumes are down, hence profits are down, we need better marketing).  This is an endless list.

In faith-based conversations, these mental blocks are the same but they could be more deeply rooted.  Any presuppositions about the faith or church the receiver are probably completely unknown to the other party.  Just as it is in a business context, it could be technical (the car would not start this morning), personal (home life not going well today), and frustration (why can’t I make any progress on my personal goals?)

You could be literally walking a conversational “mine-field” at this point and never know it.  The point being that the receiver of your message could have substantial mental blocks stopping them from hearing your message or idea.

How can we deal with this?

  • Read your customer/audience!
  • Always speak with a servant’s heart! You want to serve the other person with love and respect!

Just as the quote above states, “the audience controls the outcome”.  This is the same if you are speaking in regards to a business situation, a technical system situation, or discussing the life saving grace of Jesus.

As the scripture states in, 1 Corinthians 12:5 (NIV) “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.”   Always take a few moments to consider how to best frame the conversation you’re going to have, and remove any potential blocks they may have, thus increasing the percentage for a positive outcome.

The perfect up-sell?

“Would you like Fries with that?”

Who remembers that? Probably every one of us. The perfect up-sell. It is a classic line that has now ingrained so far into our minds that who can imagine a burger without fries?

For those of us who frequent “a major coffee chain that shall remain nameless”, I have noticed that the highly trained barista’s have moved pass this line. Now, the up-sell comment is much more presumptuous. In the drive thru they repeat back your coffee order, and then say, “And what pastries will you be having this morning?”
Huh? I wanted a pastry? How do they know they know I love pastries? Well, now that you mention it, a tasty pastry does sound good…
Without even missing a beat, the barista has used the power of suggestion to entice a greater purchase. The $4.50 purchase has just increased to $7.00. Hello profit!

Why can’t service engineers do that?
After a service call is complete, are we asking the customer, “Is there anything else you need?” “Is everything else running ok?” Alternatively, how about, “Are there any other problems with any other equipment here at the site that I can help with?”

This is opportunity to up-sell, and not in the cheesy way, “insert major coffee chain name here” does it. We can ask the good questions, to genuinely assist the customer with their equipment. If we can engage the customer like this, with semi-regularity, this can open up a world a positive interaction with the customer.

Increased service revenue will naturally fall out of the sky when a customer is engaged in this way.
Even if, the “brick of a customer purchase order” does not hit you in the head, other opportunities might. The opportunities to increase customer trust or an equipment sales opportunity may arise.

At the very least if you do this the other person within the exchange will be left with a positive feeling that someone, on this day, cared enough to ask how they were doing and if they needed any help. That, my friends, could be the key to something much greater then all of this.

Power of an inconsistent worldview and your personal mission to the church.

The inconsistency that can be muddled into a worldview/belief never ceases to amaze me. Not that I have this all figured out, but the lack of seeking truth in the knowledge of one’s beliefs (any belief, not just spiritual) disheartens me a great deal.

This lack of consistency then begins to permeate all other aspects of life. I see it as one small-uninformed choice, follows another small-uninformed choice, after a 10 choices the offending person turns around in udder amazement wondering how they got to where they are. I see this anomaly in my business life far too often. In the book “Who needs Theology” (Grenz and Olson, 1996) they used a quote from Socrates to drive this point home. “The un-examined life is not worth living”. This un-reflective/uninformed living, whether in developing a belief structure or dealing with life’s issues basically creates a mess of things. Deny something because it is truly not true, not because you do not like it or think it has is stupid. In land navigation techniques, you are taught to fix your eyes on a distant point to find your way. In this case, the navigation is life and the distant point would be Jesus.

On to the point a personal mission inside the Church, this is under heavy thoughts and not fully formed to date. I admire someone that has an unwavering love and concern to those who are not intimately close, and see that as a “growth area” within myself. For me, this whole adventure is so far out of my wheelhouse the thought of training or enlightening someone to the power of the Holy Spirit is downright frightening. It is one thing to make business points in a business environment. It is another when you are poking your fingers into someone’s belief/thought/worldview processes.

Any community called a church is Jesus church; we are designed to worship in fellowship with others. He (Jesus) thought of it, he brings tremendous people to it to see that it grows, and he will sustain it through his great providence. Now that being said, and if Jesus brought my family and me to Church community to worship, were rather required to assist with the mission. This concludes too, each member of the body has gifts, and there is only so many staff to go around doing the work. If through my God provided gifts, I can “till the evangelical soil” if you will, and remove or at a minimum create a positive tension for someone coming to Christ, well then I guess that is what I need to do.