What’s Your Customer’s Panic Question?


After three weeks in the hospital, we got the news that Dad would be released and that he would go to a rehab center eight miles away. Mom called me frantic, “He’s so weak, I have no idea how I’ll get your dad into the car to take him to rehab.”

In my customer service workshops, I improve the customer experience by challenging employees to consider, “What else does my customer need to know?” And then meeting that need without the customer having to wonder, fret, or even ask.

If you’re a hospital case manager, and you’re telling a 71-year-old spouse that her husband needs to check in to rehab tomorrow, what questions might the wife have? The name and address of the rehab facility, indeed. An estimate of how long rehab will last, sure. She’d also need to know how she’s going to transport her husband to the facility.

It turns out Mom had been stewing in fear of how she’d get Dad to rehab for several hours before she called me. She knew Dad couldn’t walk – he could scarcely stand at that point, which is why he was going into rehab – to learn to walk again. “Mom, the rehab center will send a van to transport Dad from the hospital to their facility. All you’ll have to do is make sure Dad’s bag is packed and ready.” On the phone I sensed mom’s anxiety fall off her, like a sack of onions.

Answer Your Customer’s Most Pressing Questions Before They Panic

Hospital staff must know the top questions families have when a loved one is being transferred to the rehabilitation center. Why not preempt questions and fear by stating up front that the hardest part, that the transport from the hospital to the rehab center is taken care of? That would put the family at ease and make the patient and family experience far more peaceful.

What’s Your Customer’s Panic Question?

Think about everyday interactions with your customers. Imagine you’re recapping things and wrapping up the conversation. What do you think would be helpful for your customer to know at this point? Is there some detail or tip you can offer that will make your customer’s life easier? I have my workshop participants go through this exercise for at least ten issues. Do this exercise in your company, and you’ll instantly improve customer interactions.

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