I always make my new dentist appointment when I’m checking out of the present appointment, which means I made my new appointment six months ago. The problem with that is that sometimes you have an unavoidable conflict when the appointment rolls around.

Case in point- I had no idea that the day that I booked my appointment would be the day that my daughter was moving into her dorm room.

When I realized this was the case, I called the dentist office and left a message that I had to reschedule.

They didn’t call back.

Then I got a text that said “To confirm, type CONFIRM. To cancel type CANCEL. I typed cancel, assumed that I was done, and tried to log into the system to make a new appointment.

When I went on their website, I dutifully entered all the info that they asked for, but really, the things they needed… I gave up when I couldn’t find the six digit code behind the Holy Grail…

And I called again and left a message.

Next, I got an email asking me to confirm my appointment. Of course, there was only one option: CONFIRM. There was no option to cancel. But there was a phone number, different than the one I’d previously called- so I left another message.

No one called me back.

The next day, I got another text- but this text there was no option to cancel either- just a CONFIRM button. I ignored the text, but I did call again…

No one called me back.

To keep you up to date: I called FOUR times to TWO different phone numbers belonging to my dentist office. I received two texts and a email- which did not work properly.

About five business days before the scheduled appointment, I got a phone call (from a third different number if you’re counting) but it came up MEDICAL- so I answered it assuming it was either my Doctor or my parents (my parents had an appointment that day so I knew there was a possibility)

The scheduler said:

I’m confirming your dental appointment for next Monday

And I just said- “Ah…No.” I explained to him in excruciatingly slow and vivid detail how I have been trying to cancel and rebook for the better part of two weeks… I asked him if they listened to the voicemail messages. He skirted the answer but said they did most things through the online system. I told him there was no option for the type of dental insurance that I have- the sub sub group that the form was asking for, even though they have all my insurance info, including a copy of the card, on file. He stammered just a little bit and I could feel the beads of sweat seeping through the phone…

But I did finally rebook my appointment…

So with all the online and the automation and that whatever…is anything really better? Or did I need to rely on a phone call to fix my issue?

Sometimes new and improved really isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

65 thoughts on “When It Doesn’t Work

  1. I agree. It’s fine to use online as an helpful assist, which can do the trick in most cases. but it’s being used too often as a way of having fewer staff. The online applications are no replacement for being able to speak to someone. And, of course, there are even some customers who wouldn’t be able to access any online service. It’s about money, not about using technology to improve service.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We booked an appointment with our bank manager online. It was confirmed. We showed up on the date and were told she was on a two-week holiday!! Apparently, the system didn’t know she would be away!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Personally, I don’t think it is new and improved. I think it is trying to use online INSTEAD of employees, but then you NEED at least “one employee” who is checking the online messages. I think Dentists are desperate for business right now. This is the FIRST time that my dentist keeps sending me text messages trying to get me in for either a teeth cleaning or a normal checkup. They are becoming salesmen for their business. My observation. FYI — I went for a teeth cleaning last year, but now I don’t want to. THINK ABOUT IT — how well can they sterilized the instruments they put in our mouths, especially the one that sucks up the water. I never put too much thought into this until COVID struck. NOW, I think — what germs are on that from other people’s mouths!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just chiming in here, as a former dental assistant and oral surgery tech- many, many items used are now simply one-use disposable, but anything metal must be sterilized under high pressure steam or chemical sterilization in an autoclave. The instruments are hand scrubbed first, packaged and go through the system, and then not opened until needed for the patient. Offices must do checks on their system on a regular basis to ensure the autoclave is working properly and up to OSHA standards. Your techs and dentist run greater risks of catching stray germs simply by the amount of aerosal spray that flies from our mouths while they work. If you have a good, reputable, conscientious dental office, I would not worry about sterility.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. THANK YOU so much for your message. You are right, if we are going to a reputable dentist, they can be trusted. I think it’s like any business… for example, pedicures/manicures, need to know where you are going. I appreciate your explanation, puts my mind at ease. BEFORE COVID, didn’t think much of these things. I work for a Hospital, so we are careful.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. This blog really hits home. I have apps on my phone for pretty much everything. Most of the time they keep me updated on my doctors’ appointments and help me organize my life. But every now and then things go wacky. I have learned that often I have to confirm appointments myself by speaking to a real person. Because the electronic apps don’t always work. During the pandemic my oncologist upgraded their on line systems as well as their medical apps. And every time they upgrade something invariably goes wrong. Last week I got a new iPhone. My apps were still there when downloading but several did not connect or work anymore. Old info from the cloud came rushing in and would only accept old passwords and not my face recognition apps. It’s been a mess trying to sinc everything. I couldn’t get into my medical Healow app and discovered that the last time the doctors system was upgraded someone from the office misspelled my name. Thus leaving me unable to get into my current records. Before my new phone I would get into the app using face recognition. However, that couldn’t be transferred over thus invalidating my current passwords. It’s been a tech nightmare!! Due to my current medical situation I have blood taken every 21 days and my cancer antigen numbers are measured continually. Not having access to those numbers changes my treatment. So while technology is terrific it’s got to work correctly. And often times the doctor’s office has an app and also an electronic phone call that reminds patients when to come in. Sometimes the electronic call reminder is wrong and not in sinc if you cancelled your appointment on the app. It’s extremely annoying. I admit since I got my new phone I have actually spoken aloud to my medical apps and told them all to F off . I’m not proud of losing my cool and getting mad at my phone. However, when I used a four letter word Seri told me she didn’t understand that word. Hahaha. And last night I told my remote to the TV to find “who do you think you are?” (A genealogy show). My remote answered me”Who do you think you are? I’m your remote control!” Needless to say I wanted to throw my remote at the television! The darn thing was being a smart Alec! 😡

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah my smart remote is a brat! So is Seri . For a while I switched Seri to a British male voice. He was polite. On my new phone it went back to that female voice and she’s a snotty millennial! Even technology is agist . Lol

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I also book next appt. at the end of the current visit, and this system sends me a confirm text 1 day later- which I ignore. I get another (that makes sense) about 1 month prior and confirm then. I will never use the text system or any number associated with it if I have to reschedule. I call the office directly during business hours and talk to Heather, the long-time front desk admin. My office charges $75 if you don’t call 48 hrs. prior to change an appt. I understand why, but I won’t trust an online system to get things right!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My dentist has bought into the automated “annoy the heck out of the patient” scheduling system. I have an appointment next week that I’ve been reminded of for weeks now, with no way to confirm or cancel. You’re not alone. It’s stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was working in an internist office in the late 80s and we were one of the first to get an automated answering system. There were 7 doctors in the practice plus the business office. I was in charge of getting it to work properly since I was the office manager. My voice was the one you heard when you called and I directed you to “Press 1 for Dr. S, Press 2 for Dr. T, Press 3 for the nurse’s station, etc.” We were having a horrible glitch in the calls until I figured out that the system wasn’t allowing a long enough time between when the person pushed the number and sending it to the phone. Once I figured it out, it went smoothly. When I left the office on not the best terms, I insisted that they re-record the whole thing because I didn’t want my voice to be associated with them any longer. I had been with them for 18 years so most patients knew my voice. It took them about 2 weeks to figure out how to do that – LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  8. OMG this is great. As everyone will agree, it is a common experience. I don’t even bother, I make a special trip into the office. The recepionist usually are annoyed that I do this but hey, at least I get results. Which is what I normally tell them. Tellt hem no offense but I know you are buried so this is one less VM or text msg you have to deal with. Bringing chocolates also helps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It reminds me of a cartoon I saw of someone getting one of the automated phone routing messages that said “if you want to press 2, press 4” 😀

      So much for good customer experiences we were searching for…

      Liked by 2 people

  9. My tech frustration is not with my dentist, they answer my phone and texts. Just a little thing but when I go to the garage – I get texts and emails for about a week thanking me and asking me to rate them and give feedback. I have done it twice but get tired of doing it every time.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think we are better off that way….we can still call up the Doc or assistant and talk. It can be very irritating going through the whole line of options before coming to the one you are looking for….sheer waste of time and energy. But according to the automation backers it is labour saving and efficiency.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s not just with doctors and dentists, but they are usually the most critical. Many issues are more complicated than yes and no. I want to talk to a person–one that lives in the U.S. and doesn’t have a heavy accent. I have trouble hearing and that complicates communication. I like E.A. Wickham’s suggestion of choosing someone based on who or what answers the phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had an issue the other day with a customer service rep. I asked a question that he wouldn’t answer, and I said…this is recorded right? And I proceeded to say what rule they were violating and how I intended to write to people about it and I was glad I had verbal proof that they wouldn’t answer a simple question

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m with you about tech. It’s only as good as the people behind it. Tech is rigid. It can’t make judgment calls…yet. Sometimes only another human being can help out. This kind of service aka idiocy is in part what is stressing this world out! When you’re dealing with this kind of s##t on a daily basis…well, just put me in a loony bin now. Seriously, we are making things harder on ourselves than it ever needs to be. I just read about a cyber attack on a hospital and their two affiliate medical centers in our area. They were hacked and now hundreds of people have had their identities, medical histories, diagnosis and treatments, insurance information and social security numbers compromised aka stolen. They’re alerting people to be on the look out for suspicious activity on their accounts. That’s it. OH MY GOD!!!!! Don’t tell me the company that owns the hospital and medical centers didn’t think it would or could happen to them! They just don’t give a damn. Sorry. I’m taking a deep breath. Rant now over. 🙂 Mona

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree, and this is one of those things that makes me feel a little bit like “kids today,” or something like that. I loathe automated systems. They never work, and from what I can tell, it’s almost like businesses DON’T want to talk to or help anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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