The story I’m about to share with you really just happened to me.
And I bet you’ve probably been guilty of doing this yourself… I know that I have.
Let me explain… here’s what happened:
I had an upcoming medical appointment that I needed to reschedule.
Please don’t judge me…let me explain.
My upcoming medical appointment was fast approaching…. In fact, it was only twelve days away.
And the reason I know this is because I had a handwritten appointment card in my wallet with the day, date, and time of my next appointment.
And as is the case with appointments like this made way way in advance, occasionally something else can come up for us to do that means we may need to reschedule that appointment.
As an aside, my hairdresser always makes me an appointment for my next haircut with him as I am leaving his salon. And I’m notorious [to myself] for not making a physical note of that next appointment date, but rather just relying on my memory and then waiting on the phone SMS confirmation to arrive.
Well actually, this year I’ve taken to making an entry about the haircut appointment on my phone calendar while I’m at the salon [and that’s working fine for me so far]
But there are at least three electronic calendars on my Mac.
You see, I still like the paper diary, with the pen or pencil entries. Call me old fashioned then, but there is something nice about paper.
Actually, I still like reading paper books, rather than electronic books, and audio books.
Anyway, I needed to change my medical appointment.
So I phoned the medical practice to do so.
Well, much to my surprise, when I called, I was told that my appointment was not in their schedule.
Now, the receptionist was very apologetic, and immediately was able to find me an appointment that did not clash with my schedule.
So no harm done at all. Of that I would like to be clear.
But what could have happened?
Well, what if I had turned up for my appointment on the day, with my handwritten appointment card in my wallet, only to find that someone else was in my time and I could not be seen?
Would I have been happy?
[Actually, I think all dental practices have done this once or twice. I know that this occasionally happened in my own dental practice, unfortunately.]
I know that I thought it was odd that I had not received a courtesy SMS or phone call about my upcoming appointment. As I have said, I kind of used to rely upon those SMS messages from my hairdresser.
I know these things can easily happen.
I get that.
An error like this could happen because the appointment scheduler, or receptionist, may have been distracted by a ringing phone, a front door arrival, or a question from a clinical team member.
After all, we all make mistakes now and then.
Well, anyway, in this case, because of my own schedule and availability, a disaster, or an incident, was averted.
Because when these mess ups do occur, there is always an embarrassment for one party.
We’ve all had dental patients turn up on the wrong day, either early, or late. I remember once phoning my hairdresser apologising that I was going to be late for my appointment that day with him due to a traffic incident, only for him to tell me that I was already a day late for my appointment!!
Here’s my take on all this
What if I’d turned up for my medical appointment at the time written on my card, and not have been able to be seen?
If I was a D-type highly stressed fully booked, not a spare minute type of company executive and had driven out of my way on an already very busy day just to see my doctor, then I might have been a tad upset.
What would have happened if I had driven a long distance just for this appointment. After all, some patients do travel a long way to their doctor, or dentist, or other medical professional.
Fortunately for this doctor, these days I’m able to accommodate an unexpected change like this in my schedule. Even if I had actually turned up at the practice, it really wouldn’t have been too much bother. After all, according to Siri, I only live twelve minutes from that doctor, and I probably work a similar distance away.
But here’s a tip
Because I phoned to change my appointment, I probably did not need to be told by the practice that my appointment [that I had written on a card] was actually not in their schedule.
They probably could have simply and easily just gone ahead and offered their next available appointment without alerting me to the fact that they had suffered a process or procedure failure.
After all, really, how was I to know?
And there are other things you don’t need to overshare with your patients….
While I’m on the topic of oversharing, here’s a few things in dentistry that you need to not tell your patients.
I’ve heard some dental practice staff tell patients that their dentist is always running late.
I’ve heard dental practice staff tell patients that their practice always gets cancellations.
Have you heard dental practice people put down their lab, their supplier, their hygienist, their cleaner?
Other staff tell patients about fixtures and equipment that is faulty, damaged or overdue for repair or replacement…
There are a whole long list of things that don’t need to be shared ever with patients.
You could probably add some doosies to this list…
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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
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