Let’s face it, keeping calm when frantic and insistent moms phone in to reschedule an appointment with just a few hours of notice, takes tact. But there are a few tools you can keep in mind to make your job easier. And keep in mind, you are not alone; everybody plays a part.
1 – Setting the Expectation
“I would be happy to help you. As I look to the schedule, I’m looking for the next available appointment to help keep you on track.” You’ve planted the seed there that you are looking to keep them on track. Keeping them in the rotation might mean that they are offered appointments that are not at these client’s ideal times. That is not your fault. It is what it is.
2 – State the Facts
You are in control of the conversation and the schedule. All TIMES are FACTS and All FACTS are STATEMENTS. No asking questions, unless they are leading questions… questions that lead to a specific answer. “Would that work for you?” “The doctor has availability at 10:30 or 11. Which one works for you?” Pretend that you’re delivering the weather report, there’s no emotion involved.
You cannot manufacture, or fabricate, holes in the schedule. The doctor can only be in one place at a time. If the assistants are rushing to accommodate your ‘squeezing in’ a last-minute reschedule, shortcuts can emerge resulting in less-than-ideal care. We found just that. Looking at a repeat bond failure on the same bracket, we found that most of those brackets that needed more than one repair were put back on after 3:30 in the afternoon. Those appointments were ‘squeezed in.’ We think we are being helpful, but we are not.
“I am happy to try to find you an appointment since we are in the middle of a rotation. The doctor happens to have a 10am or 2pm open. Which one works best for you?” If Mrs. Jones doesn’t want either slot and asks again about the 3:30 time on the following day. Remind her, “If I try to find you a 3:30 appointment, that is going to put us out another four to six weeks, and that could very likely impact treatment time. Do you wish me to look there or would you like me to keep looking for a time to keep you on track?”
3 – VIP List
We know there are moms with direct lines to the doctors. We have found a few successful ways to deal with these insistent and argumentative moms. Provide that great customer service and allow them to have their way.
We do this by: Create a shortlist, with a goal of under one percent of the clients, of VIPs (Very Involved Parents). Put an alert on their chart. Accommodate them rather than going through the steps and giving in at the end. The ruckus they can cause in the office or on social media is not worth the tussle. , just avoid engaging them, and provide excellent customer service.