How the Dentrix appointment history paints an accurate picture

Here is an actual email I received a few weeks ago from a long term patient:Appt Book with Time Blocks and Appts

My husband had an appt on 2/7. He’s been away on business since 1/4 and when we realized that he would not be back until after 2/7, I called and rescheduled his appt. I called on Jan 25. I had joined him on his trip the day before. It was rescheduled for March 6 at 8:30 am. I do not know who I talked to. When we returned on 2/9, we had 2 messages from your office saying he had missed his appt. I called this morning (2/11) and explained the situation only to find out the changes had not been made in your appt book.  I rescheduled him again for 3/7 at 8:30. I did however resent the implication that this was my mistake…it was not. I am sure a lot of your customers do not give you appropriate notice, but this was not the case in this instance. The customer is not always wrong.  We’ve been coming to your office for 20+ years and think you have the best professionals in the business, but I wanted to give you the date that I called to make the appt change and you let you know I was a little upset at how this situation was handled.

Before I responded, I looked up the appointment history – and I was blown away by the information I gathered just from this one screen. Here’s my reply email:

Thanks for your email.  I looked into this appointment history – here’s what I found in our computer:

  • January 10th – appointment scheduled for 2/5 at 8am by Amber
  • January 15th – rescheduled for 2/7 by Marquita
  • January 28th – rescheduled for 2/14 by Nan
  • Feb 6th – I think this was where the mixup occurred – I see an appointment scheduled for 2/6 – and I see you noted 3/6 below. This was done by Jackie (my new hire secretary team member).
  • Feb 11th – rescheduled to 3/7 by Marquita

No wonder you’re frustrated. This is a lot of work on your part to manage appointment dates. Plus, it looks like you’ve talked to half the secretary team.

On my end, I will review your concern with the secretary team, and Jackie in particular, to make sure everyone is as accurate as possible.

One other idea for you – perhaps it would be helpful if you either emailed us the changes – – we check this every day and you’re welcome to use this as a confirmation for appointment time – might save you some time on the phone. Or, if you go on our website, there is a request an appointment tab – and you can request the time/date for appointments here also?

I’m sorry you felt frustrated by our messages when you had gone to the trouble to reschedule. I appreciate your consideration in managing schedules in advance.

I’m open to other suggestions or ways we can make this easier on you. Thanks for taking the time to let me know.

Now, to be perfectly frank, we did misschedule her husband’s appointment. She asked for 3/6 and we scheduled it on 2/6. However, thanks to the appointment history data, it looked like we scheduled this same appointment 4 other times! This definitely paints a much different picture of our performance – and I was amazed that she was complaining about my practice’s customer service when she had scheduled this appointment no fewer than 5 times!

Once I saw this appointment history, I decided not to call her – but instead to send her the above email for a few reasons:

  1. I figured she had no idea she contacted us that many times regarding one appointment.
  2. I hoped that the side bonus might be to prevent any future complaints since she knows that I’m tracking.
  3. I also thought that I might go completely crazy if I had her job – to manage her husband’s dental appointment over, and over, and over, and over and over again, so she deserved some empathy and maybe some other options?

So – thanks to Dentrix for providing the appointment history data that helped to reframe this patient complaint so I could see not just our error, but also gain a stronger appreciation for my secretary team. This was also great information for the dentists in our group who also had the opportunity not to just be upset at receiving a patient complaint, but to realize how much rescheduling craziness our secretary team handles!

Dealing effectively with upset patients is just one way you can run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog:

One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

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AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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