Ask the Right Questions to Get the Right Answers

This guest article is brought to you by Mark Scharebroich, speaker at the 2019 Customer Service Revolution.

In the restaurant industry, they refer to it as “Two minutes or two bites”. It’s when the server circles back to the guest and asks, “How is your meal?” 

I have made the point of listening to my fellow guests at countless restaurants and the number one answer I kept hearing was, “Fine.” To which the server responds with, “Great” and walks away. 

I am not a fan of the word “Fine. It is as close to the bottom as it is to the top. It’s generic. Bland. Not good, not bad, just fine. It’s the answer we give when we don’t want to confront. I have been to restaurants with a sign that reads, “Fine Dining” and they are not fine at all. It’s an auto-response as in, “How are you?” “I am fine. Followed by, “How are you? Fine.” Generic. 

When we ask our customer or guest, “How is your meal?” “How was our service?” we get generic answers. Generic answers don’t help us to get better. 

What would happen if every now and we asked, “How was the meal?” and after the answer, “Fine” is given, we follow up with, “Seriously, did everything come out the way you wanted? Does it taste as good you had hoped?” Now we get the real answer! We either receive, “We love it! This is so good!” or “Now that you mention it, the fish was off and it came lukewarm.” 

Ask the right question to get the right answer. Don’t wait for social media to find out what the guest really thinks. Ouch!! 

I have been a loyal customer and fan of National Rental car forever. For years when I turned my car in, I was asked the question, “How was your rental?” I always responded with “Great, thanks.” 

This past year, I started to hear a different question when I returned my car; “Welcome back Mark. I’m Cynthia. I hope you had a good ride. Is there anything we could have done to made your experience any better?” Depending upon the location, I heard variations of that theme. It wasn’t robotic. It was an authentic question wanting to know how National Car Rental could get a little better with each and every rental. 

If you want to get better, start asking the right question.