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Listen To My Eyes!

, , , , , | Right | August 16, 2019

(I do telephone surveys for patients who’ve recently visited their health center. I work with a headset.)

Me: “We’d like your feedback to improve future care; will that be okay?”

Patient: “Sure!”

Me: *reads the first question*

Patient: “What? What was that?”

(I repeat it louder and clearer and he responds. The same thing happens for the next two questions.)

Patient: “Stop speaking so close into the microphone. You’re spitting and breaking up; I can hardly hear you!”

(I oblige and slightly adjust my mouthpiece so it’s slightly above my mouth, although since I hear some static on his end, I’m not sure if he’s correct that I’m “spitting.” This cycle continues a few more times, with him asking me to repeat, and me gradually moving my mouthpiece farther and farther up to the point where I wonder how he can hear me at all, especially since I have a hoarse throat today.)

Me: *asks another question*

Patient: “You know, if you’re going to work on the phone, you should really get some phone skills! You shouldn’t be talking with your mouth so close to the phone!”

(Sick of straining my voice and fed up with his ridiculous assertions but trying to maintain professionalism and a friendly manner, I say:)

Me: “Sir, my microphone is at my eyes right now… so I’m definitely not talking into the phone. I apologize that you’re unable to hear me well.”

(Cue five seconds of silence.)

Patient: “Well, what was your question again?”

(The rest of the call proceeded smoother, although I did take to bending the microphone even further from my eyes when I had to repeat myself again. Crazy!)

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