If you've read, "The Voice" you are well aware that I am recovering from laryngitis and have been on vocal rest for at least two weeks. Well this episode of "The Voice" I would like to elaborate on my experience on finding, what I thought was a quality ENT office, and using their services.
“Why is she contacting me via phone?”
After deciding that I did want to stay within my hometown to receive services of an ENT provider I had only a few options and decided upon Sterling Ear, Nose & Throat. I googled the provider and based upon their positive reviews was rather excited to receive good service in the area amidst all the bad service that I and others had received from various businesses in the past. I utilized their website's online contact form thinking, "this is great! Especially for me who is on vocal rest and am not speaking." Within no more than two hours I received a response from the provider inviting me to come in for services on Wednesday, April 13th at 4PM. Well this just works out great since my business day usually ends right around 4PM.
I quickly responded, excited that their online presence was not a form of ?, but was actually a functional tool used to excel their patient base and communication technology - boy was I wrong. Anyway, having just confirmed my appointment online without the need to communicate through phone given my current situation, I couldn't have been happier. Well, this was short lived as the receptionist of the practice, having received the email between the doctor and I that he forwarded, decides it's best to contact me by phone. Why is she contacting via phone? Is vocal rest a term not used frequently in their office or surrounding area? Well needless to say, I didn't check the voicemail at the time because I was busy and not in an area to do so. Tuesday went by and the day of my appointment arrives, Wednesday, April 13th. I decided to give the voicemail a listen and that's when I learned not only did she contact me by phone, but invites me to come into the office on Tuesday, April 19th at 3PM. Now, unless I have a sever case of dementia I could have sworn that I confirmed an appointment for Wednesday, April 13th at 4PM. She also, in an accent that I can't confidently identify, encourages me to give them a call back or email them my particulars. Well this bothers me for two reasons. Let's take a look at those reasons now, shall we.
1.) If there was additional information needed why wasn't that information requested during the email correspondences sent between the doctor and I?
2.) If indeed the doctor was not able to request such information, which I would presume he wasn't due to his responsibility to providing efficient healthcare to his patients, why wouldn't the receptionist then just reply to the forwarded email to request that I then in return forward her my particulars?
“Are they doing their part to save on energy in honor of the approaching Earth Day?”
It seems to me that efficiently is not one of this businesses' goals or was there a missed opportunity for them to exercise this goal? Who knows. I just know that I was very displeased with the communication that I received. I concluded my business day at 3:30PM to ensure that I arrive at the office on time as well as to give myself time to complete the new patient information that all providers require. I arrive at 3:50 and enter the office and proceed to the front desk to sign in. The same receptionist that contacted me via phone is in the office and asks me if I was there for the sleep study. "Uh, no. I'm not", i replied. By this time I thought it was a good idea to speak since I was going to be speaking with the doctor shortly anyway. Plus this would speed up the communication time between me and an already challenged communicator. She then decides to elaborate on the sleep study and other forms of the service that is provided and again I reply, "no mam. I am not." I tell her my name and she recognizes it from the communications and says, "oh, you're the one from the email? I called you and asked you to email us your information." This was my response.
"Mam", I start to explain, "I was on vocal rest. Why would you call me?" "Well", she begins, "I needed your information to help speed up the process." "I understand that", I said, "but couldn't you have received the information through email?" "I asked you to email me", she explains. For some reason it doesn't appear that a person that is on vocal rest would have much use for their phone unless it's for the purpose of text messaging, which is all I've been doing with it since I've been on vocal rest. That and checking my emails. She asks for my ID and insurance cards and states that she'll "return them when I return the paperwork" she then hands me. I find a location in the office and sit down to complete the paperwork when I notice, "it's quite dim in here". To my surprise there are no office lights on with the exception of the the back office areas and receptionist's desk. "Are they doing their part to save on energy in honor of the approaching Earth Day" I questioned. Anyway, I complete the paperwork and return to the front desk expecting the even trade because after all, that's what she said. Well she doesn't give me back my ID or insurance cards and tells me, "we'll call you back to see the doctor once your insurance is verified." "Okay", I'm thinking, "no worries there. I sit for sometime and she calls me back up to the front desk. "Sir, I can't seem to get in touch with the insurance people to verify", she explains. I'm thinking, "unless their all out on a coffee break I don't see any reason why this would be a challenge. Plus, it's only 4:20PM and the business day doesn't end until 5PM." She continues to tell me that unless you want to pay the $150 to see the doctor today, given the time it is, "already 4:30", we would have to reschedule you. Are you available on Tuesday? "Excuse me, what", I'm thinking. "Isn't that the time you were already trying to schedule me in on? This was a setup!" I share with her that, "no. I would much rather get this taken care as soon as possible as I stated in the email that you apparently did not read." "Well, let me see if we have anything for tomorrow", she says. During this time I decided to contact my insurance company myself, but am interrupted by the receptionist as she states, "even if you reach someone its too late now for me to verify and the office closes at 5PM." Imma just leave this right here...
By this time, I'm completely upset and dissatisfied with this whole experience not to mention the receptionist who is clearly not the best at office/administrative support or customer service for that matter and to say the least. I exit and return to my car for the ultimate vent to this establishment.
"Good evening. I was just in your office and there for 40 minutes without being seen. I just want to express my displeasure in how my situation was handled and to let you know that I will be leaving a review on social media as well as Google to share my experience.
After confirming the appointment with you, I was expecting to be seen on the appointment date of 3/13/2016 @ 4PM, which is what was agreed upon based from the communications below. I'm not sure why the receptionist would contact someone by phone if that said person they are contacting is on VOCAL REST. I have not used my phone at all with the exception of texts. It would have been more feasible and professional to have the receptionist contact me by email. Especially once she shared that you forwarded the email to her. And further more I don't see why there was so much trouble verifying insurance when I would expect this to be practiced daily in your establishment. I also wasn't pleased with the excuses I received as opposed to making me, a first time patient, feel as if I was understood. This could have all been resolved as opposed to me wasting my time on today to leave work early and sit in an ENT office. I could have made an appointment elsewhere and received the results I was expecting to receive on today. If your not going to commit to the email function I don't see any need for it to be continued on the website.
I surely hope this establishment provides better service to their other patients than it has to me; I won't be returning."
I have since sought other providers to care for my needs outside of the area as I should have done initially and am pleased with my decision.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!