Our doctor copied us on the new test orders for our son. He had already sent them to the office where they would be done. I knew there was a long wait for appointments at this new office. So I called to get us booked.
I spoke to the scheduler and read her the orders I had. I tried to impress upon her how quickly we needed to get scheduled and why. She just as quickly told me she couldn’t do it unless she had original paperwork from the referring doctor. As soon as that was received, I could call back.
I "politely informed" her that they should have received such a copy. I was irritated at her dismissive tone. I was put on hold. When she finally came back on the line, she had found the orders. But for some reason still kept refusing to set up the appointment.
Finally, I called our doctor’s office and asked them to intervene. I should not have had to bother my doctor’s staff to help me get an appointment scheduled at another office where he had referred us!
Poor customer service. It’s not uncommon anymore. Health Care offices are really busy. We as customers get the short end of it. So, I got to wondering if I had contributed to the bad outcome. And if so, what should I have done differently?
Thinking back, I realized I was tense calling the office. I didn’t know them but wanted my son to get services as soon as possible. I didn’t mention that the orders had already been sent to them. His doctor had told us there would be a wait. I thought I could maybe change that by telling them what and why.
I missed the “I hear this from everybody” tone of voice the scheduler had. I missed that she told me right off she had to have original orders with no offer to go see if they had them. The tone of voice I used to ‘politely inform’ her probably sounded a bit offensive and demanding. I was frustrated at that point and felt disrespected. There was no way she was going to assist me after that.
I probably could have eased the situation, but I didn’t. So here is the list of ideas I came up with for my one-man customer service improvement project. There are many more.
There are also times when you have to move up the chain to get resolution:
Try to fix it on the front end and maybe you won’t end up like I did, having to make 3 calls to get 1 appointment and waste our own doctor’s staff time to help.
Here’s a video on Talking with Your Doctor Effectively that might also help.