Managing newcomers with Address Book Connect

Address Book Connect (My Details) is part of ChurchSuite's Sunday service facing applications, which comprise Child Check-in, My Details, Events and ChurchSuite Donate.

Address Book Connect allows churches to provide a newcomer connect form, perhaps running on a laptop or tablet, at your church's Information Desk. Intended to supplement your existing 'connect cards', newcomers can submit their contact details and areas of interest. Submitted details area added to your Address Book and optional notifications are triggered to alert ministry overseers. Newcomers can also be added into Flows so that you can welcome and follow up with everyone.

In this article

Overview of Address Book Connect
Configuring Address Book Connect
What happens when a newcomer submits their details?

Overview of Address Book Connect (My Details)

My Details is accessed through ChurchSuite Connect. This can be accessed from the quick links section found on your ChurchSuite summary page, or by using the URL in a browser. Connect is secured behind a username and password. Depending on you User permissions, your ChurchSuite username and password will allow you access. Many churches find it helpful to set up a new User account for Connect, with just the essential permissions needed. You might also wish to operate Connect in a browser's "kiosk" mode to prevent unstaffed computers being used for unauthorised purposes!

The My Details functionality is designed for staffed and unstaffed Visitor/Information Desks, perhaps in your weekend services; allowing newcomers to submit contact details and areas of interest. Details are added to your Address Book automatically, reducing the need for printed 'visitor connect' cards and eliminating issues around deciphering handwriting!

An optional "Edit" mode can be enabled, allowing existing Address Book contacts to search for and update their own contact details - ideal for church members who don't have access to My ChurchSuite themselves.

The form can be customised and styled to suit your church's needs. It's also multi-site enabled so that newcomers are assigned to the correct site. Address Book module options give you complete control over which fields and areas of interest show in your newcomer form, which fields are 'required' entry fields, and what happens to newly created contacts when they are added e.g. Notes,Tags, Key Dates, Flows, notifications and success email.

Newcomers can also submit details for their entire family - for spouse/partner (depending on marital status selected) and children - ChurchSuite links the whole family accordingly.

Configuring Address Book Connect

My Details is configured in the "Address Book" module settings, accessed via the cog-wheels button in the top-right corner of the module. You'll need Manage module or Administrator permissions to access this. In the module options, select the Connect tab.

To activate My Details, tick to "Allows new contacts to be added". If you wish to enable "Edit" mode, so that existing Address Book contacts can search for and edit their own details, tick to "Allow existing contacts to be edited". Next, specify one or more contacts to be notified when new contact details are submitted - separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can further customise the appearance of My Details by adding a Welcome Message.

Next, set the "Optional Fields"; enabling or disabling fields and setting those fields that are required. Note that you can also optionally enable "Student Details" to allow newcomers to include student details as part of submitting their contact details and areas of interest.

Next, choose whether to allow newcomers to choose the Site/campus they'll be assigned to (Multi-site enabled churches only), and if so, which sites they can choose from. If only one site is selected, no site-selector is provided to the newcomer and their submitted details will be added to the one site. If multiple sites are enabled, a site-selector is provided on the form so that newcomers can choose which site their contact details are assigned to.

Set any Tags, Key Dates and Flows that are to be assigned to new contacts when they submit their details. This is great opportunity to ensure newcomers get into your integration processes (perhaps a Newcomer Flow) from the beginning, ensuring that no one slips through the net!

Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional, but provides a great way of linking newcomers to their 'next steps' in your church. We suggest keeping the list or interest areas and the descriptions short, to prevent a newcomer having to endlessly scroll - perhaps just two or three "next steps" - rather than listing every area of ministry or service your church provides!

Add an email address of the ministry overseer for each respective Area of Interest, and any Flow you would like new contacts to be automatically added to if they select that interest when submitting their details. You can add multiple ministry overseer email addresses by separating them with a comma. Use the cross-handles to change the order of your areas. You can even duplicate the areas from an existing Address Book Embed form, saving you typing from scratch - although you prefer entirely different areas of interest on your Connect form compared to the Embed form on your website - it's entirely up to you!

Lastly, customise the "Success Message" that displays on the screen when someone submits their details online. You can also send a Preset "Success Email". You'll need to have created your Preset email first - then you can select it from the list. Don't overlook the importance of this 'success email' - it's your first opportunity to respond to a newcomer and extend a warm welcome as they submit their details - perhaps explain what's going to happen next in terms of follow up.

Save all your changes by selecting "Save Changes" before closing the Connect options page. You can now view your finished results and make further adjustments if necessary.

What happens when newcomers submit their details?

This is great question and you should know the answer so that you can engage your newcomer processes accordingly. Here's what happens: -

  • A new contact is added to your Address Book with a active status.
  • Any spouse/partner specified will also have a new contact added to the Address Book with an active status. The couple will be linked. The spouse/partner will share all the contact information of the main contact (except email, telephone, mobile and DOB).
  • Any children added as part of the submission will be added with an active status to the Children module and linked to the main parent contact in the Address Book.
  • Key Dates and Tags will be assigned in accordance with your Address Book Connect module settings (and also to any spouse/partner added).
  • Notification emails will be sent to the contacts designated in the module settings > notifications, and to all ministry overseers designated for Areas of Interest selected. The new contact will also be added to your Flows, as designated in your module settings (and any spouse/partner).
  • A Note will be recorded against the contact that their details were added through ChurchSuite Connect (and any spouse/partner and children).
  • A Preset "success" email will have gone to the new contact (if you have enabled this).

Duplicate contacts

When newcomer details are submitted through Address Book Connect, ChurchSuite does alert you to any potential duplicates in your Address Book. When reviewing newly added contacts, you might see an information message alerting you to a potential duplicate. You then have the option to check this and, if necessary, merge the duplicate contacts.

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