A Pope Who Gets Customer Service

A Pope Who Gets Customer Service

Pope Francis is in the air. Maybe you’ve had this experience, too: recently people have told me that Francis has convinced them to take a second look—ever so cautiously—at the Church. Francis makes them feel welcome and, as far as I’m concerned, he is the New Evangelization.

Harvard Business School change guru John Kotter keeps telling bureaucratic leaders what every salesperson already knows: change happens only when there’s an emotional payoff to make the change. Present all the PowerPoints and Excel sheets you want—read Vatican documents and disembodied dogmatic pronouncements—but people will buy into an enterprise only if there’s something personally important in it for them. Don’t label this selfish too quickly: it’s just how human nature works. And by the way, grace still builds on nature.

Here’s something else for Church leaders to think about, something Francis seems to get. In the communication process, only 7 percent of total impact has to do with what is said; how it’s said accounts for 38 percent. The rest—a whopping 55 percent—has to do with non-verbals such as body language and gestures.

In Latin America, if there’s no personal relationship, there’s no business deal. Francis understands that without personal relationships, there’s no church either. He’s not turning doctrine (the what) on its head, but he is helping us look at it all with softer eyes and a bigger heart (the how). He knows how to take care of his customers.


Image: Wikimedia Commons/Agencia Brasil


About the Author

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher, and writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the National Catholic Reporter. His book, "Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places" is available at catalog.franciscanmedia.org. He can be contacted at jjmch1300@gmail.com.
  • WaltChura

    Let us not forget genuineness. We’ve all seen religious pitch men (and women) project all the above characteristics. What distinguished the Poverello, and I think distinguishes Pope Francis, is precisely a life that reflects the message.