Benchmark Business Group

Don’t Ask If You Don’t Care

January 14, 2020

Think about the last time you bought groceries. It’s very customary for the cashier to ask, “Did you find everything you need today?”

What would happen if you said no? In a business with great service, the cashier would pause, ask what you needed and help you find a solution.

Questions like these are designed to add value to a customer’s experience. They can spark conversations, uncover unknown issues, and create a friendly environment for your customers.

However, in many businesses questions like these become what we like to call, “throw away questions:” questions that are asked, but not listened to or acted upon. Thus, losing their value.

In this situation the question would become a throw away question if the response was, “I’m sorry to hear that.” There is no value to the customer or your business if there is no action to correct the customer’s experience or learn from the answer.

Falling into the habit of asking “throw away questions” is extremely easy. It can happen when someone is trained without understanding WHY they are asking a certain question. Or when your team gets so busy, they can’t imagine adding one more thing to their plate. Or even if there’s a focus on creating a faster checkout time and thus the cashier is worried that stopping and helping a customer would hurt their results.

The truth is that throw away questions are not uncommon. They happen in just about every industry. In fact, how often do you answer the question, “How are you today?” It’s become common to ask a question without caring about the answer. If you truly care about and act upon the answer, the question will retain its value. In addition, your level of service goes from okay or the dreaded “fine” to exceptional.

Our challenge for you today is simple. Stop and observe your interactions with your customers. What questions have turned into throw away questions for your business? What questions are you asking without taking action?

Once you’ve identified the questions, start to ask:

  • Why are we asking this question?
  • What experience should our customers experience?
  • What information needs to be passed along to someone?
  • What action do we need to take?

Getting back to the root of WHY you ask your clients questions will help improve their experience, increase business knowledge, and improve service. It’s a small, but impactful step to ensure your business doesn’t fall victim to “throw away questions.”

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