Apologies for beginning this entry this way, but I am not sure what else to say…
Since this is MY online journal, bear with me while I rant, question the universe and feel better for doing so. Possibly you will get something from this, hopefully if you work in a office that makes appointments for a specific time you will be enlightened in some way or another. Otherwise I have no doubt all of us can relate to my experience.
I found myself questioning not only customer service yesterday, but common courtesy in itself. I will do my best in as little words as possible to paint a picture of my morning. C had an eye specialist appointment scheduled at 945am. We arrive in the waiting room at 942 (yes, a few minutes to spare – OMg! I know). We have visited this place a handful of times, so I have come to accept the general wait to see the doctor (15-45 minutes in our past). As per usual, we get called in to see the general eye gal about 10am, approx. 10 minutes later we are back in the waiting room to see the specialist.
Now envision this waiting room…this is a pediatric doctor’s office, there are 12 chairs placed in an ‘L’ shape along the wall and there is a small enclosed nook for kids to play. There are two gals working the front desk, and 3 rooms to tend to patients. From the moment we arrived the waiting room was packed! Most patients waiting had 2 adults with them, they were between the age of 1-4 yrs, a few 6-10 yrs, and a couple teenagers. Standing room only (or floor sitting for some of the little ones) for the entire visit.
Like I mentioned before, I have come to expect to wait at this office. I have learned to park in the parkade, not the meter parking, as you never know the length of your visit. I feel for the parents sweating it out, wondering is their child next, should they risk the meter, rummaging for change, do they dare interrupt the receptionist to ask the wait time until their child is seen??? I find myself piping in to give them the ‘totally do it, make a break, I am sure you have time’. They usually bolt and return will plenty of time to spare.
So get this, Cs name is called again – yeah, it’s now 1030’ish! Only 25/30 minutes wait for round 2. Low and behold, one of the receptionists take a picture of her eyes and asks us to return to the waiting room, we will be called again shortly. Of course we have now given up our seats and the only wall space is directly across from the reception desk, directly across from the pile of pink patient folders waiting their turn to see the doctor. C is on top of the pile, we have now been at this doctor’s office for one hour. I am not yet heated, more so feeling sorry for the mom trying her best to keep her squirmmy 14 month old entertained, the dad who has run to plug his meter 2 times already, and the ‘less than impressed’ energy filling the room.
Jump ahead another 30 minutes (1115am, we have now been at this PEDIATRIC doctors office for 1.5hrs), which entailed me seeing other patients pink folders pulled from beneath Cs folder, patients who arrived after us placed into the rooms before us. I am a fairly patient and understanding person. I had had enough…
COMMON COURTESY would have gone a VERY long way in this waiting room. Every person in there would have greatly appreciated a heads up that the doc is ‘blank minutes’ behind, if you want to go get some fresh air, let your child run off some steam, grab a coffee, plug your meter, OUR APOLOGIES. BuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuT, Noooooooooooooooooo, you approach the desk and you receive somewhat of a stink eye. I proceed to question ‘Hi there. When booking appointments, I am curious what time you alot for each patient?’ She chooses to ‘answer’ with something along the lines of ‘yes, I know we are a little behind today.’ ‘A LITTLE? I have seen people who arrived less than 20 minutes ago, just go into the room. We have currently been here for an hour and a half. This is a pediatric office, children can not be expected to wait this long. I know every person in this room feels the same way, we are all extremely frustrated with the lack of communication, this is unacceptable.’ ‘I will be sure to speak with Dr. blank.’ ‘I too will be sure to speak with Dr.blank.’ ‘well, C’s file should be right up, it’s on the top of the pile’. ‘I have been watching it on the top of the pile for a few patients now. I EXPECT to be next’. (I had already taken inventory prior to approaching the desk, that we were not budging)
Sure enough the door opens, Cs pink folder is scooped up and put in front of the other pink folders in the door slot and were we called in. Moments later, the doctor walks in. She is truly wonderful, always cheerful, friendly, and respects the kids like they are adults! She quickly made me forget the the rage I had just had less than 10 minutes ago. She concludes with ‘any questions’ and because I had told the receptionist I would speak with the doc as well, I had to follow thru. ‘Thanks very much. I dont have any pertaining to C, but I am curious how you schedule your patients? the time you alot for each?’ (I was slightly rattled, as I hate being the ‘mean’ person) She was shocked to find out the length we had waited. She was extremely apologetic, and she will speak ‘again’ to the receptionist, as I was not the first to bring this to her attention. We spoke how common courtesy could revamp the vibe for the entire waiting room. Afterwards I thought possibly having the receptionist validate/cover the parking, she may be slightly more attentive to booking achievable appointment slots. LOL
I know this doctors office is not the only place that makes you wait. Unfortunately it way to common. Too many disrespect people’s time, just because the patient/client ‘needs’ to see you, shouldn’t de-value our time. Life is made to be lived, not wondering how much longer past our appointment time we will ACTUALLY be seen…
I want to believe common courtesy is here to stay, respecting time and communicating can go along way!