8 Lessons Learned from Making 2,005 Phone Calls

Easter at our church was stunning. We had over 5,000 people attend our services – a new record for our little church – but even more incredible is we had almost 200 people stand and make a commitment to follow Jesus! That never gets old … I’m so thankful to be a part of the local church.

We did a number of things leading up to Easter this year to help drive our attendance and ensure that our people were inviting their friends for our special services. I’ve been thinking a lot about friction in church communications these days and so rather than just relying on all digital or social media we went old school and organized a phone blitz campaign during the week leading up to Easter. We called over two thousand households who had been to our church in the last six months but had yet to register for our free tickets online. The goal of this calling was to add a personal invite to all of our other communications and make it as simple as possible for people to register to come to our services. Here are some the lessons we learned …

  • Getting the Ratio Right // Think through the number of calls your team can do in a given timeframe. I’ve found that for “online registration calls” like we did … a person can do about 60-90 calls in a 3 hour time frame. We had 13 team members which each were assigned 150 homes to call over a two evening timeframe. Some of the team members got all the calls done in two evenings while others needed to finish up on a third evening.
  • Write Simple Scripts // Make sure to provide a straight forward script for your team so they know what to say. You’ll need to anticipate a number of different scenarios that they will encounter when they call. [Click here to see our script from our Easter calling.]
    • Voice Mail // What do you they say if they get voice mail?
    • Ask // What are you calling to ask for from the people you are calling? For us it was to register them online for free tickets for our Easter service.
    • Questions // What happens if they ask a question that your team member can’t answer? Then what do they say?
  • red_phoneOnline Spreadsheet // Put all the phone numbers and names of the people that you are calling on a Google Drive Spreadsheet. This means that all your callers can be working off the same information at the same time regardless of their location. Provide columns for them to write “notes” for each call … have them track what happens during each call on this spreadsheet so we can see how the calling is going in real time and so you can take action based on the calls you need to follow up on.
  • Question Form // Provide an online form for the calling team to fill out with any questions that they bump into that they can’t answer. Follow up the next day with the questions that are being generated. You can see the questions form we used for last week’s calling here. This form greatly reduces the stress for the people doing the calling and it helps you focus on the people that need immediate follow up.
  • End of Night Form // We provided a simple form for each caller to fill out at the end of the evening of calling. The goal of this form is to quickly tabulate what happened in the calling and get their feedback on the evening. This surfaced any issues that we needed to address right away with the calling team. [Click here to see our “end of night” form.]
  • The 1% // I’ve found that 1% of the people we call are upset that we called them for one reason or another. I don’t know if this is because we’re in New Jersey where sunny personalities aren’t as widespread as in other parts of the country … or if that will hold true in your area as well. There will be some people who will be upset that you called them … make sure your team is ready for this small group and just move on!
  • Record a Video Talking Through The Process // Using a piece of software like Camtastia to talk through how the calling process will roll out. Talk through how you want people to act on the calls, read the scripts … make it simple for your team. [Click here to see an example of the video we used for this Easter calling.]
  • Part of a Bigger Plan // Direct phone calls like this need to be a part of a broader communications plan … we need make sure that the people we’re calling aren’t hearing about this item for the first time with these calls. This phone call is about “closing the deal” not explaining what’s happening. Each of the homes that we called received the following communication before we made our first phone call:
    • Direct Mail // postcard explaining our Easter services and asking them to get their free tickets online.
    • Multiple Emails // direct links to where they could register.
    • Sunday Announcements // we talked about Easter 3 times before these calls on Sunday mornings.

1 Comment

  1. Hey Rich! Very interesting. We did a large call list in 2020 to care for folks-little different goal. But it seemed to be received well. I’d love to know the success rate on those calls. How many resulted in registrations?

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.