New Kid on the Block
So recently, my family and I decided to visit a new church. Nothing was wrong with our old church – we just wanted to go somewhere closer to our house and with more activities for our kids to be involved. We did some research of churches in our area we might like to check out, and made plans to visit one a few weeks ago.
It came time to drop my four-year-old off in his new Sunday School class. Words can’t describe the look of sheer fear/panic/shyness/anxiety our son exhibited at the thought of being left amongst a group of small strangers (although he was intrigued at the prospect of trying out some new toys). I chalked it up to his being on the shy side and left him there with a, “You’ll do fine! We’ll see you in an hour,” speech. It helped when I saw one little boy put down his blocks, march right over to our son, stick out his little hand and introduce himself.
But the moment we walked into our new class, I was also overcome with fear/panic/shyness/anxiety. I was the new kid. I didn’t know anyone. Everyone else seemed to be laughing and enjoying catching up, and I felt left out. I knew exactly how my son felt.
Soon, though, people started introducing themselves to us and striking up conversations. We felt a little better. We went back the next week. People were nice again. Our son, while still shy, had an easier time, too. We felt like we were becoming part of the group.
This whole experience left me thinking about how hard it is to be the new kid on the block. Or the new employee. Or the new agency on the team. It’s hard to be on the outside of a group looking in. It’s so much more fun to be on the inside where you get the jokes and you know who’s who.
People want to be part of something, they want to belong. It’s what keeps them coming back for more and builds loyalty.
I’m going to keep that “new kid” memory fresh in my mind for a while. I hope I can use it when I see someone else who’s new and make sure I’m doing all I can to make them feel welcome and included.
As a brand, what are you doing to welcome new customers, clients or fans into the fold? Are you inviting them in with open arms and transparent communication? Or are you holding them out at arm’s length? How are you helping people become part of your team?