This Facebook post tells an important story about customer service. Clearly, the writer has a genuine complaint – he filled out a leave form to take time off work, had it approved through his boss, made plans for his workload to be covered while he was away, and drove across town to a doctor’s appointment – only to be told upon arrival that his appointment had been cancelled because the doctor had an emergency. “We tried to call,” the receptionist explained, “but you didn’t answer.”
The note under his post that “10 people like this,” plus his friend’s comment that patients are charged when they miss appointments without prior notice, indicates that he is not alone in his plight. Whether or not this actual scenario has happened to his Facebook friends, the perception of how a doctor’s office operates is notorious—patients feel that many medical practices are inconsiderate of patient time, but insistent upon protecting the time of the doctor. Unhappily, the public has gathered enough unpleasant experiences like this one that medical establishments have to face this perception – whether or not they have earned it. Think about it. Patients almost expect to sit in a waiting room far beyond their appointment times, or to be chastised for running in a few minutes late, or to be stood up for an appointment on occasion. The burden is on the medical office to counter that reputation, deserved or undeserved, with patient care that is over-the-top in courtesy and consideration.
But how to do this on a day when a genuine emergency arises, in your medical practice or in any company which uses appointments? It’s understandable that your staff will be stressed and even short-handed in this situation, as they rearrange the day. And it’s entirely possible that in calling clients to cancel or change appointments, someone will get missed.
The answer is so simple! Get an answering service already! A really well-trained answering service can do so much more than answer phones. While you are trying to juggle the multitude of tasks that come up with a last-minute change or emergency, all your service has to concentrate on is making phone calls for you. With a variety of ways to contact your patients—instant messaging, land line and cell-phone calling, emailing—your service can combine state-of-the-art technology with pleasant, courteous voice contact to be sure every person on your list is contacted. Furthermore, they will not stop until the client has confirmed receiving the message. In addition, your service can reschedule appointments, working clients into upcoming schedules so that you can go on with your day seamlessly. The results are satisfied, well-cared for clients and a productive, stress-free day in the office! What are you waiting for? Enlist the help of a really good answering service today!
Challenge: What perceptions do our clientele have about our consistency and courtesy in appointment keeping?