Is your company striving for OK or better than that? Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But it happens every day in many companies and in most restaurants in America. It kind of irks me when a waiter or waitress comes striding to my table and asks the question, “Is everything OK?”
“Everything.” And “OK.”
What’s wrong with this picture, you ask? Not much. . .and everything.
Let’s take a look at the everything part. Everything. Big word. Big meaning.
Are they asking if I am satisfied with the political or economic status of the United States? Or maybe they perceived that I was not enjoying the meal and was attempting to offer help?
What about the OK part? By definition OK means the minimum acceptable level. I doubt seriously if the mission of any company is to strive for the minimum level of customer service. So, when the eager manager eagerly receives the expected yes, knee-jerk answer to the knee-jerk question, the manager goes away pleased. But should the manager be pleased?
You see and hear this every day. From Kohls to Target, from Denny’s to Yoshi’s.
What’s so wrong with wanting to get the opinion of all your customers?
It is difficult to listen to your customers in a business. You can only make it a formality, like the greeting of “How are you?” You don’t really expect an answer, except the polite “Fine”. You don’t get “well I just got out of major surgery and….”
How about “Find everything that you wanted?” Or maybe the plain old “Can I hep you find something
The concept is good, but the execution and results not only cause the effort to suffer but actually cause it to be doomed. It is like the owner of a hotel demanding that the hotel manager keep the hotel full. All the hotel manager has to do is keep reducing the price of the room until the owner’s results are accomplished. Never mind that the owner lost money. The hotel is full.
Here are some guidelines to follow when asking about your customer’s perceptions of your service:
* Allow time to listen, don’t just go through the formality of asking!
* Ask specific questions, not general.
* Use a superlative that you want to be identified with to the customer. Was your service excellent or fantastic or outrageous? Set your sights high not low. Never just OK.
* The quality of the effort is worth far more than the quantity of effort.
It’s time that the overused expression “Is everything OK?” was finally laid to rest.