Sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office yesterday, way past my appointment time, of course, I started thinking about all the times this has happened. I don’t mind it once in awhile – one person with a big issue who needs extra time with the doctor can throw off the whole schedule, but if that person is having that much trouble, I certainly wouldn’t begrudge them the extra time or get upset with the doctor. So it happens sometimes, and I don’t sweat it at all, from a service standpoint.
It’s when it consistently happens with the same office that drives me bat-shit crazy.
I realize that, with the way insurance works these days, doctors need to cram in as many appointments as they can during the day in order to make money. I get it, I really do, but things have gotten out of hand.
I’m in the waiting room, it’s 10:15, which is 45 minutes past my appointment time and people are huffing and puffing. I asked everyone what time their appointments were scheduled for. Three of them said 9:30. Surely not with the same doctor in the practice as mine? Yep, same doctor. So four people were booked with the same doctor at the same time. This has nothing to do with a patient needing more time with the doctor. They’re setting themselves up to fail from the very first appointment of the day.
So I started thinking about my business and how things would fly if I worked like that. Commit to doing a project that will take 8 hours to complete. For four separate clients. By the end of the day. Hmmm. I certainly wouldn’t get paid. I’d lose the opportunity to do any work for those clients in the future. All because I didn’t say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any room today but if you can wait until tomorrow, I can get that done for you. If you really need it done today, I can refer you to someone else”.
Would they be disappointed that I couldn’t work on their project? Probably. Would I risk losing the client forever to the person I referred them to? Maybe. Would they appreciate and respect me for not taking them on and then letting them down? Absolutely.
I’d much rather have things go down that way, as would my clients.
Oh! About the appointment – I asked the woman at the desk where I should send the bill for my time. Yeah, that didn’t go over well at all.