Companies that deliver great service and keep the customers they have ‘Ask Affirming Questions.’
Think about this, maybe you’ve done this, I know I have. You’re sitting at your kitchen table, you have all those bills spread out in front of you, and you’re writing out all of those checks. And when you’re done you look into the registry and see there’s still some month left at the end of the money! And you ask yourself that very bad question, “Why am I always in debt?” Or, “Why can’t I get ahead?” Or, “Why do I always live check to check?”
Our bodies are designed to look for the answers. So in your mind, when you ask why you are always in debt, your mind thinks the answer is, “Well, your credit cards are maxed out, you only pay the minimum, and every day on your way to work you stop and buy a $4.00 latte.
It’s not, “Why am I so fat?” because your body is going to say, “Well, because you’re like the average American sitting around watching four hours of television everyday eating cheese puffs.”
Here’s your hint, most affirming questions start out with, “How can I” or “What can I.” So it’s not, “Why am I so fat?” it’s “How can I lead a healthy lifestyle?” Or, “How can I eat right every day?”
The rephrasing leads to reframing in our minds. We begin to look for solutions instead of looking at the problem.
Companies that deliver great customer service are continually asking their customers, “How can we help?” “What can we do for you?” “How can we do better?”
Companies that deliver poor service ask the upset customer questions like, “What’s wrong?” Or, “What’s the problem?” Or, as we say in Minnesota, “What’s the matter?” If you ask an upset customer, “What’s the problem?” what are you going to hear?
The first step in changing the types of questions you ask yourself is in observing; listen to the quality of questions you are asking yourself and the people around you. Make sure you’re asking affirming questions that look for solutions. Observe the questions your staff is using; remember, it’s not, “What’s the problem?” It’s “How can I help?”