Using Questions - The Rationale For Use With Customers
The final cooperative language ( What Is Cooperative Communication?) approach involves replacing harder sounding statements with questions.
If you have ever been stopped by a police officer for speeding, like as not, one of the first things they did was to ask you a question or two. A common one is “Do you know how fast you were going?”, or a variation, ‘Are you aware of how fast you were going?” Why do they do this? There are three reasons. Questions are less likely to provoke a person if they are phrased in this manner. Second, asking a question or two at the beginning allows the officer to assess your state ... do you sound stable, do you sound upset, do you sound intoxicated.
The third reason has to do with control. By asking you the question, the officer is asserting control over the interaction, and encouraging you to respond to him/her. You can use questions in this manner, too.
Tactic 22: Replace Some Statements With Questions (From If It Wasn't For The Customers I'd Really Like This Job: Stop Angry, Hostile Customers COLD While Remaining Professional, Stress Free, Efficient and Cool As A Cucumber.)
Asking questions helps you in your ability to control the interaction, shows you are interested in the person, and may help you gather information that will help you with the substance of the person’s problem. Questions can be used to replace some statements, so that what you have to say is perceived as more cooperative.
It is important to use a very calm, quiet voice when questioning, so the questioning doesn’t sound like an inquisition.
Examples For Using Questions WIth Customers Rather Than Statements:
Rather than: “It’s not our policy to handle complaints. Go to the manager’s office at the back of the
store if you want to complain. “
Try: “Did you know that you can speak to our manager to voice your concerns? “
Rather than: “We require you to conform to our policies which are posted by each cash register. “
Try : “Were you aware that we have some policies in place so all of our customers get a fair deal?”
Notice the last example. It allows the customer to say they were not aware of the policies. This gives them a face saving way of explaining why they have not followed the regulations
(Note: You can learn more about cooperative communication from our 100 page book, called Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication.