"Is everything good?"
Have you noticed that this question is quite often just a formality? Same as "How are you?" The person actually does not worry about your wellbeing. He/she is rather polite and expects a "Fine. Thank you. And you?"
Recently we had a hotel manager approaching us during the dinner to ask if everything is good. To his surprise we actually had some things to share...:)
We shared both: the points of admiration, and possible points of improvement. First 50 seconds he seemed curious. But that was probably the limit of his attention span...
He started looking how the waiters are performing their jobs, looking at the customers sitting at further tables to make sure he can catch them for a polite chat, etc.
Amazing! Finally you get a client, who wants to take time and share his/her opinion before publishing it on Tripadvisor, or other online media! But somehow you are not excited about it. Because the initial plan was to make a walk around all the tables in 3 minutes, and suddenly you have already spent 4 at the very first.
When we ask a question let's be prepared to hear and actively listen to an answer.
- Be open to hear the feedback
- Take time to ask for creative ideas
- Take time and consider the reasoning behind
- Be engaged
- Ask Why? How? What if not?
While collecting all of the information, you obtain a bunch of more specific questions to ask your other guests. This helps you test if the concept voiced by the first clients is a unique case or it builds up into a trend.
This is hands-on market research.
Extremely cost effective and time saving.
It allows you solving multiple issues before they become troubles. It allows you coming with new concepts, inspired from your customers. And what is going to make them more loyal, than knowing that the way you are today is thanks to the ideas you shared last time?
It may be more time consuming than just a polite chat, but it will result in a tangible impact, rather than a "check mark" on your To-Do List.