Ask Questions That Serve Rather Than Self-Serve

My wife and I just finished our almost annual retreat to Maui where we relax, refresh, and re-focus on our goals for the upcoming year.   In the course of those retreats, we’ve experienced some amazing sights and some wonderful customer service.

One instance of great service  just happened to us at Gerard’s Restaurant in Lahaina.  Like many places, they recommend making reservations in advance, which we did.  But in the course of making the reservation over the phone, the host asked me a question I’ve never been asked before.  He asked, “Could I please have your cell phone number just in case you leave something behind?” 

I thought, “Wow.  What a cool way of getting someone’s phone number.”  We all know that they want your phone number so they can hunt you down if you don’t show up for your reservation.  But that approach is self-serving, and it often makes us feel stuck … like “What if we change our mind and don’t want to go there to eat?” 

By contrast, the way Gerard’s asked the question was serving of me, the customer.  They wanted my phone number so they could help me if so needed.  And I felt all the more willing to share that number with them.

The point is simple.  Phrase your questions in such a way that people want to answer becasue they feel served by the question.