Are You Missing The Cues? Open Questions And Understanding The Patient.

I was in a shop recently and witnessed a really angry customer giving it socks. The shop assistant in fairness wasn’t helping matters. This girl had probably never heard of customer service, let alone have a deep understanding of the concept. It was not pretty to watch so I did what any red blooded Irish male would, run away, run away!

It, however, made me think back a bit to a situation where I found myself on the end of a similar diatribe from an angry customer. My customer arrived with her daughter in tow, she had been a difficult rehab and what she was reporting to me was not supported by her daughter. When she arrived for rehab there was always an issue, she reported little or no benefit but her daughter was consistently contradicting her.

I was finding it really difficult to deal with, I was practically driving myself crazy fine tuning these problems. In anyway, my Patient had arrived and wanted to return the instruments. Her daughter did not, I asked the daughter to wait in the waiting room while I had a private word with her mother.

I spoke to the Patient in my office, discussing the instruments and her experience with her. As we spoke I realised something, I had been narrowly concentrating on what the Patient was telling me and not really listening. By that I mean actively listening and watching the cues. Not just that but I also failed to ask open and defined questions.

I spoke to her about her experiences with the instruments, I quickly found out that she was receiving benefit, always had been. So I asked her, what or how did she feel we could give her more benefit? She said that her friend had a set of in the ear instruments that she thought were great. My Patient was wearing a set of BTEs, the light dawned.

So I asked her did she feel she may get more benefit from in the ear instruments, she said that she felt she might. I had just wasted quite a bit of time and stress fine tuning a cosmetic issue. We took impressions and got her a set of customs, she was ecstatic and continued to be until I left Practice. She in fact actually sent me a lot of referral Patients over that period, but I had nearly lost her.

So the moral of this story is simple, continuously ask open questions and listen, really listen. Because if you don’t you will miss those cues, you may like me end up spending a lot of time on a problem that does not exist. Or worse you may lose a Patient for no good reason.



About Geoffrey Cooling

my name is Geoffrey Cooling and I am the author here at Just Audiology Stuff. I have been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession for several years now. I initially worked as a Hearing Healthcare Professional for a large national retailer in Ireland.

After several years in Practice I was approached to work for a manufacturer, where I was employed for five years. I am now the Co Founder of a business called Audiology Engine. We design websites, undertake content marketing and generally look after everything digital for audiological practices. I am also a contributor to many hearing profession periodicals and websites.

I have written two commercially available books, The Little Book of Hearing Aids which is written for hearing aid consumers and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World which is written for Audiology Practice Owners. They are both available in Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. I also write for consumers on the website Hearing Aid Know, which is a website with the mission of demystifying hearing aids, their types and their technology.

I have a great interest in commercial strategy as it applies to Healthcare in general and specifically to Hearing Healthcare. I also have a great interest in the psychology of sales and human interaction. I have been involved with social media for some time, both personally and professionally. I find the engagement and discourse on some social media channels fascinating.

I instituted social media strategy for the company I worked for as an experiment. That experiment soon spread throughout the company and I am proud to say that the company is probably one of the most active in the industry. I would like to point out that all views, opinions and thoughts here are mine own. Unless of course they have been planted by the pod people, you just can’t take your eyes off the pod people. Those views do not necessarily reflect upon any views or opinions held by my employer, if I ever get another one.

I think that our industry is in the middle of a time of huge change, I think that the change will be forced by both internal and external pressure. I think that private Independent Healthcare Practices will have to be smart and lithe of feet in order to meet these changes. I hope that some of my blatherings are of benefit to those Practices, Independent Hearing Healthcare Practices need to survive. I believe that if that occurs it will be of real benefit to Patients.

I hope that I, and my writings will play a small part in their continued success.

Let me know what you think