[Image by Gerd Altmann of Pixabay]
Communication is all about options. Unfortunately, while many of us know this we don’t always present options to ensure our message is successfully conveyed. Maybe that includes you, your staff, or someone you know.
As an example, I have an appointment card for a return visit with a physician that clearly states that date is August 19th. Being me, I noted that date and time in my calendar and held onto the card. Yesterday, I received a text message “reminding” me of my appointment for August 10th (vs. August 19th). Some people would opt to ignore this text and think it was simply a mistake. I thought about that (for at least a second) and then chose to call the medical practice first thing this morning to explain the issue and receive clarification as to the actual date.
The person who received my call never introduced herself, but was quick to say that the physician was not going to be in the office on August 19th. She also added that they never reschedule an appointment without sending a letter or calling the patient to inform them of the change. When I stated that I had not received a letter or phone call, I felt very quickly dismissed. Instead, I was told that I could reschedule if I was unable to arrive on August 10th. No apology for the confusion was offered by this person nor was my situation ever acknowledged.
In the end, I accepted the new date and time but the point of this post is twofold: first is to always speak to a patient with respect vs. dismissively. The second is to always have options when you alter your message, as not all phone calls, electronic, or postal mail is received (for a variety of reasons). Therefore, this practice could’ve taken measures to ensure there was a response to their letter and/or phone message and when that didn’t occur, keep trying using other options and do so in advance (vs. waiting until 48 hours before).
Please remember that effective communication is always about offering options.
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