This happened to a friend of mine last Tuesday.
My friend went off to her hairdresser for her six-weekly visit, but when my friend arrived at the salon, the salon owner looked a little confused.
The reason for the confusion was that the [computerised] appointment schedule for the salon for that day did not have my friend’s appointment listed….
And worse still, the appointment schedule at the salon was full.
My friend was adamant that she did indeed have an appointment for that day, at that time. And being a busy person, my friend had organised her whole week around this appointment.
Leading up to this Tuesday morning, my friend had thought to herself that it was “strange” that her salon had not sent any SMS reminders, as it usually does…
So here’s what happened…
When this confusion at the salon arose, the first thing that my friend did was phone her husband, who was at home, and asked him nicely to go into her office, and locate her diary.
She told her husband that inside that diary he would find an appointment card for the salon.
And as he did this, she asked him what was written on that appointment card.
“Tuesday 25th July. 11:30am.”
The system that the salon used had let the salon down.
So, it appeared that the system that the salon used for making appointments for clients, had let the salon down.
The salon relied on appointments being scheduled on its computer, and then, once scheduled, the appointment was written on an appointment card which is then handed to the client.
Obviously, in my friend’s case, the appointment card was written on and given to her, but the appointment was not entered into the computer before handing her the card.
Checks and balances.
At our dental practice, we also compiled a daily list of patients who left without a next appointment.
We wanted to know which patients were doing this, who on our team was allowing them to do so, and what was the reason for the patient leaving without an appointment.
This allowed us to address the common reasons and help clients with those reasons. It also allowed us to see which team members were more committed to helping patients schedule their appointments.
Team members were concerned that compiling this “list” might create extra work for them.
But it only created extra work if they allowed patients to leave without an appointment.
If every patient left with a next appointment scheduled, the list would be blank each day.
Back to the salon…
Of course, the dental scenario I just explained would not have helped the salon with my friend’s situation, but if the salon team did just run their eyes over their completed schedule each day to check that everybody who had been in had left with a next appointment, they may have been alerted to my friend’s situation on the day of her previous visit, rather than on the day of her unscheduled appointment.
At our dental practice…
At our dental practice I used to ask for a second report each day that let me know [amongst other things] when each patient had scheduled their next appointment, and what treatment that patient was going to be having at that next appointment.
A daily report like this would certainly have saved this salon from the embarrassment of a client turning up for an appointment scheduled for them, but not entered into the salon’s schedule.
Something like this salon scenario can also happen from time to time at the dental surgery.
Having the correct systems and checks and balance protocols in place can certainly reduce the incidences of these embarrassing occurrences.
When we coach dental practices, we help the team create good systems that help to reduce uncomfortable incidences such as this one.
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