Recently, I had to make the very difficult decision to change dermatologist’s offices. This was hard because I really value relationships with those whom I trust my health, my hair, my home, etc. I will go out of my way to stick with someone who has proven herself to me to be trustworthy, reliable, skilled, and fair. For example, during the 5 years we lived in Morristown, TN, we continued to see our pediatrician in Chattanooga. We drove essentially 5 hours round trip to continue a relationship with someone we know, love, and trust. Currently, we drive back to Morristown to complete Sarah’s orthodontic treatments. Again, its a relationship that is worth the drive and time.
So this brings me to my recent decision to change dermatology offices. First, let me say that I did think very highly of my practitioner. She was skilled and thorough. She was also really personable… no problems there. I believe the care that I received at this office was very good… no complaints in that department. This brings me to the issue that caused this otherwise very loyal patient to call it quits… THE CUSTOMER SERVICE. Seriously, you may not think for a doctor’s office that is important, but for me it is! I have been trying to get an appointment with this office since January… JANUARY! The reason that I couldn’t get one scheduled was not because there were no appointment times (as far as I know). It was because NO ONE ANSWERED THE PHONES… ever! It didn’t matter what time of day I called. What day of the week I called… no matter what, I was lead through a menu of choices that ended with a voice mailbox. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!
This week was the final straw. I really needed schedule an appointment. In one final attempt, I called again and selected a different “option” on the automated menu. I would start by confirming that they accept my new insurance, and hopefully get transferred to a real person for an appointment. Genius, I thought! However, not so fast (and this really may have been what sealed the deal for me), I got a real person and in my enthusiasm to speak to a human, I explained my situation. The real live person on the other end explained that she didn’t answer insurance questions, she couldn’t help me, and brushed me off AND transferred me to a (wait for it) voice mailbox!!! My hope was gone, but I did with a slight glimmer of hope… leave a message. After waiting, more than 48 hours (the owner of the mailbox explained in her greeting that one could expect a 24 to 48 hour wait time for a response) I called another office.
Within moments of dialing the phone number, not only had a spoken to a real live person (who was super friendly), I had an appointment for the next day (due to a cancelation). WHAT? This was madness!
I am happy to report that I went to my appointment and was greeted by a wonderful staff. The practitioner was fantastic. It was an overall awesome experience. With the most important part (the care) of the appointment being equal, the new office has won me over. What did it? Customer service! Being friendly, answering the phones, answering questions… the things that are free… won me over. It wasn’t the location, the fancy waiting room, the modern colors of the office… NO, it was basic skills that are welcoming and friendly. The feeling of being valued as a patient/ customer. When it comes to services I pay for… I will always vote with my time and my money, and if I don’t feel that it is appreciated … I will take both somewhere else.
As a side note: Make sure you are regularly getting your skin checked regularly. Skin cancer is real and it is treatable!