I returned a Home Theater System to one of the major Big Box stores around the end of January for warranty repair. I was informed that they don't do the repair work. It would have to be sent back to the manufacturer. I was not a "happy camper".
I contacted the manufacturer and was told that I would absorb the shipping to them and they would pay for shipping back to me. How nice...what a deal! So I spent $31.51 to send it back. The manufacturer received the shipment on February 8 and I was told to expect a 7-14 day turnaround. Not in this lifetime. After several e-mails asking for a status report and no response, I called them. Now they offer me an exchange and they will send the offer in 48-72 hours. I would then need to accept it, or reject the offer. Not on planet earth.
Today I called back and explained all the details. They looked me up and guess what? The new unit is on its way and is scheduled to arrive Tuesday. Now, do I believe this? Not today...maybe next Tuesday. Was this good customer service? Not from my perspective, but maybe too many businesses are just like this. Will I do business with the local retailer again? Not even when they have a closeout sale this year. I've been reading that they are just about to go under.
I really believe in good customer service. When someone trusts one enough to make a decision to make a purchase, I think that we had better come through. It is true in business and it is true in our spiritual lives. Let me explain.
You build a relationship with a person. Trust develops between the two of you. You introduce Christ to them. The person trusts your judgment and then trusts in Jesus Christ. They are baptized and brought into the church, the community of saints. How many churches provide warranty service to them? All parts and all labor. What do you mean?
Do we tell that precious new believer that this is just the beginning? Do we inform them that there is more after the beginning? Or, do we infer that you can now dive right in, there are really no expectations for you, and you are part of the "club" now...pay your dues and do what you please? Not unless we want the "spiritual consumer" to start shopping somewhere else. If we do, they will all of a sudden disappear and we will wonder what happened.
By mid-year I hope to roll out a Life Track for New Believers at FBCP. Each new believer will be discipled One-on-One for the first 30 days. Then they will have the opportunity to attend two back to back basic courses and then join a small group tailored just for their needs for about 12 weeks. After these courses are completed, we will have developed a Sunday morning study just for them. This latter study will transition them to the mainstream Abundant Life University and other discipleship offerings for the entire church. But, they will have been discipled and protected for about six months before being thrown into the community to learn a variety of behaviors.
Why would we offer such a track? I have watched people for over thirty years enter the church and not receive the guidance they needed. Many were new believers who may have had a spiritual IQ of 50. Others were so-called Christians who had never grown spiritually and would probably disappear inside 90-180 days. Still others were a little more spiritually mature, but were headed for disappointment if they repeated the same old patterns.
I believe in this so strongly because it will guarantee these new believers that they will be under a spiritual warranty program for at least 6 months and the church is dedicated to taking care of them at this important junction in their lives. They will not get lost in the shuffle because mentors will be looking after them. When they need attention, they will get it.
I'll keep you posted on how this develops and the impact it has on the lives of new believers. Does God expect us to provide the best "service" possible? You bet He does!