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

Geoffrey Cooling is an Irish hearing care blogger and the author of The Little Book of Hearing Aids and Audiology Marketing in a Digital World. He has been involved in the Hearing Healthcare Profession since 2007 when he qualified as a hearing aid audiologist. He has worked in private practice and for a major hearing aid manufacturer. He has become recognised as an authority within the field of hearing care and hearing aids.

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