Thursday, December 11, 2014

Appointment Cancelling Etiquette

Last month it snowed, and I've had this post in my drafts since then... so here you go!

Since I work in a physical therapy office, a lot of our older patients don't like getting out in the snow and ice, which I totally understand. Heck if I were 100 yrs old I wouldn't want to leave the house ever, much less when it's like that one time Luke built Lorelai the ice rink outside.

So everyone is calling in and canceling, which is fine, don't come in, come in, it makes no difference to me, because I will probably be here all day anyways. So, for people who don't work in the medical field, here are some tips for calling to cancel your appointment:

First, there are several type's of people when it comes to cancelling appointments.

1. The No-Show-ers: These are the worst. People who just don't show up. I'm sure they got busy and forgot, or they felt bad for cancelling. But please, for the love of God, cancel your appointment. When a bunch of people cancel, I get to go home early. When I'm waiting around because so-and-so might show up.. well then I'm just cranky the next time so-and-so actually does show up.

2. The long excusers: This isn't school, or a job. You don't have to be here. I can't reiterate this enough. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE HERE. So we don't need a list of things you have to do instead, or a saga of how sick you are. Call, cancel, see ya next time. Say it with me. Cancel, see ya next time.

3. The can't make it but I'll miss yous: These are generally the older people. The ones that have been coming for 4 months three times a week, but something comes up and they really can't make it. But instead of just calling and canceling they call, cancel, tell you about their day, tell you they'll see you next time, and try to schedule their appointments 2 months out.....

4. The TMI's: Easily confused with the previous types. TMI's are generally people either lying, or people that just don't care about boundaries. I don't need or want to know about the projectile anything coming out of your body. Keep it to yourself, please. These also include sharers, the people that come in instead of calling to cancel. "I'm sick, I was sick all day yesterday cough cough can I cancel my appointment." At this point I proceed to get out the disinfectant spray. Don't bring your germs to share.

5. And the Easy ones: These people I love. These people are the example that everyone should follow. "Just calling to let you know I won't make it today, I'm scheduled for Wednesday and I'll see you then." Almost like a message, these are the best people.

So here are some tips to become the best appointment canceler ever. People will be overjoyed to hear from you, that's how good you'll be.

Diclaimer: These may seem obvious to most of you because you're smart, but you would be surprised how many of these things I deal with daily. 

1. Always call. Always. Gonna be late? Call. Can't make it? Call. Don't know what time your appointment is? Call.. then go buy a calendar. But, only call once. Think of everything you need to achieve in this one phone call and get. it. done. Need to cancel and schedule an appointment for next week? Do it all in one fail swoop. If you call and cancel, then call because you forgot to reschedule, then call AGAIN because you didn't write it down immediately and forgot the time, I've now had to stop what I'm doing THREE TIMES for the same patient.

2. Start with your name. Calling and saying "Hi I can't make it today" doesn't give me any information. Yes we have caller i.d. but most people don't have their names attached to their phone numbers, or their phone is under someone else's name. Even if you know without a shadow of a doubt that your name shows up, start with your name. "Hi, this is Sarah Rios and I had an appointment at 2:00 today that I need to reschedule for tomorrow."  I now have ALL the information I need for the entire phone call.

3. Last but not least, it's always okay to leave a message. We close for lunch from 12-1 and you have no idea how many people who are scheduled at 1 call us at 2:30, "Oh I called earlier but y'all must have been at lunch and I didn't know if you'd get the message so I'm calling you now." We have an answering machine for a reason, if it didn't work we'd turn it off so it would just ring. Also, thanks for calling an hour and a half later, if you had left a message we could have moved someone to your spot. If we need anymore info we will call you back. I promise.

There you go, follow these tips and you will be the most skilled appointment canceller in all the land!

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  1. Yay I'm #5! But I am a doctor's kid, so I the annoyances of not calling. I usually call before hours too and just leave a message. Way easier for everyone involved.

  2. Bahahahah... I used to work in a hospital and this hit the nail on the head!!!! Especially the excuses and/or telling you their whole life story. BUH-BYE NOW!