Companies that deliver great service and keep their customers ‘Ask Affirming Questions.’
If you ever want to read a really good book some day read, “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins. Robbins teaches us that the quality of our life is based on the questions we ask ourselves–the problem is we ask bad question.
In another great book, “Psycho—Cybernetics”, Maxwell Maltz teaches us there is something in us to help us find the answers to the questions we ask. A theologian may call it God, a scientist may call it DNA. Maltz calls it a ‘servo-mechanism.’ He says our bodies are designed to look for the answers.
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 maybe you pay on-line. Or maybe you’re paying by phone. Or maybe you’re doing it the old fashioned way and writing out a check.
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 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?” Don’t ask, “Why am I always in debt?” Ask instead, “What can I do to manage my money better?”
During a recent workshop I asked the group to change this question to an affirming question, “Why won’t my husband listen to me?” A woman raised her hand and answered, “What hammer do I need to hit him with to get him to listen to me?”
The rephrasing leads to re-framing 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? But if you ask, “How can I help?” what are you going to hear?
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