Monday, August 6, 2007

There are wrong questions

My wife and I just spent a weekend in Santa Barbara. I do highly recommend wine tastings, can’t recommend any of the restaurants. I can’t say the food was bad or even terrible. It was just not good enough for the asked price: too salty, too complex for its own sake, not surprising enough.
Service was pretty good but the current service model in restaurants has major flaws:

During our various visits, we were constantly asked:

“Is everything good?”
“How’s everything?”
“Are you having a good time?”

Now, everything was good and we had a good time. As a customer you're in a tough place: You can either start to explain your issues with the food and look like a petty jerk. Or you just smile not to ever come back.

Questions like "Is everything good?" don't allow room for a real answer.

Instead, restaurants should ask questions that allow for honest answers, such as
"Did the food meet your expectations?"
"What did you think about the food?"

Good, open-ended questions will lead to informed discussions. Good questions can help moving through issues - to clarify, expand, and engage. Good question establish an atmosphere for meanignful discussions.

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