Coaching & Development Solutions

The Magic Question Which Improves Your Customer Experience



Like many businessmen and women I travel and will often find myself in a new city with an evening to kill. As a food lover I go out and find a reasonable restaurant and have settled on a method to get a decent meal, and realised that it really improves the customer experience I have.

When I started travelling I'd find something on the menu which sounded interesting and order it. This was hit and miss, and sometimes I would regret my order. One night in northern Italy I tried a different approach with the waitress which has become my standard method:

  1. Tell them I only have a short time in their city and I want to taste something special to their restaurant and region. Why travel somewhere new and order what you've eaten many times?
  2. Describe the sort of food I normally enjoy most.
  3. Ask them the simple and powerful question: could you choose for me?

In a recent trip to Poland the sequence sounded like:

This is my last evening in Krakow and I'd like to taste the traditional Polish dishes you and your restaurant are most proud of – the ones I couldn't find somewhere else. I normally like strongly flavoured meats like venison and rabbit, and I'm really hungry. Could you choose for me?

Asking the waiter or waitress to select my dinner uses their local knowledge, and puts the ownership of my meal enjoyment on them. The first two steps give them the knowledge to do this, and when I ask the question I often see them talk with pride about the best dishes their chef creates, or what I must taste before I leave their country. I haven't had a bad meal yet using this approach, and the roast duck with pickled red cabbage and cranberry sauce I ate that night was excellent. On another evening a couple sitting nearby asked what I'd ordered, and then ordered it too.

This approach can be applied to other services. By informing someone what you look for, and then asking them the best solution to your needs they see that their views are important, and you've placed your trust in their judgement. It's natural for them to step up and deliver.

About The Author

Alasdair Graham is the founder of Apex Discovery and a coach who helps leaders and businesses grow. If you found this blog post useful then please share it.

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