Questioning Skills and Techniques


We can use questioning to learn, build relationships, persuade people, handle difficult situations, avoid misunderstandings, Manage and even coach people. In today’s busy world our customers have less time on their hands, and a limit to the number of questions we can ask them. Ask too many questions and our customers could think we are incompetent or alternatively they may feel slightly ‘interrogated’ for information.


On the contrary, asking too few questions may cause customers to think we have a lack of interest in their issue or they may doubt we have enough information to resolve their issue. So how do we find the right balance?




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Choosing The Right Questions To Ask


Our questions will be influenced by these factors

• The nature of the enquiry
• The details needed to handle the enquiry
• The person’s willingness to volunteer information
• Time-scales set by your organisation or the person


Open Questions

Open questions allow your customers to give their knowledge, thoughts, opinions and usually begin with “what”, “why”, “how”, “describe”. Open questions are suitable for extracting information as they encourage people to answer questions using detailed sentences. Open questions avoid people giving a short answer like “yes” or “no”.


What can we achieve by asking open questions?

• Qualify customer’s and Establish needs
• Gather detailed information
• Establish rapport
• Generate conversation
• Give control of the conversation to the person
• Get the personal opinions of people
• Gain trust and credibility


Examples of open questions

• Why is this important to your customers?
• How did this happen?
• What did you get up to on your holidays?
• Describe the desired outcome?
• Tell me about your holiday



Closed Questions - Customer Service Training


Closed questions allow your customers to give you a short factual answer and usually begin with “where”, “are”, “is”, “does” and “can”. Closed questions are suitable for gaining confirmation from clients and factual information. Closed questions encourage people giving a short answer like “yes” or “no”.


What can we achieve by asking closed questions?

• Confirming information and your understanding of people’s needs
• Probing a “yes” or “no” answer
• Closing or opening a conversation
• Great for gaining facts


Examples of closed questions

• Does this meet your requirments?
• Can I take this as confirmation?
• Where did this event take place?
• Are you ready to make this order?
• Are you satisfied with the level of service?
• Is there anything else I can do for you?



Vague Questions - Customer Service Training


Vague questions are suitable for probing customers if the following circumstances arise

• You think there might be some Grey areas in the information you have been given by the
• The customer sounds unsure with the information you have provided them
• You are unsure of the customers intended outcome.


Examples of vague questions

• What do you think?
• What else?



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Questioning Skills Techniques

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Questioning Techniques