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How was your meal?

Or, “Everything OK over here?”

…and we always say “Fine, thanks,” even though the potatoes were lumpy and the gravy cold.

Ritual exchanges do not elicit real information, and too many of the exchanges between people who serve and customers now fall into the category of ritual exchanges.

So, ask real questions instead of getting people to go through the motions. As Ken Blanchard puts it:

“Ask them questions they can answer. If you are a restaurant manager, this doesn’t mean “How was your meal?” as the answer will always be ‘Fine’. It means ask them ‘What is one thing we could have done differently that you’d expect us to do better?’ Then look for commonality in the answers.”

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