Monday, July 13, 2009

How to get the best results from an appointment


For many people in the independent consulting business as well as other personal need based occupations there is a growing frustration with people who are out of touch with how we have to work or operate.

Perhaps what is partly at fault are many areas of appointment oriented work that don’t work in the same way, for instance a Doctor’s appointment at 2:00 generally means that even if you arrive a bit before 2, you wont get into see the Doctor till about 2:15 (at least), but many independent practitioners are not the same thing. Lost time, for many of us, is lost revenue and it affects how we operate and in some instances in these tough times, even how we can stay in business.

I know of a lot of colleagues who try to be as accommodating as possible with people when they book, we usually make it a point of trying to arrange a time that is suitably convenient for the client, will offer suggestions for parking as well as how to reach our destination. Many of us also try to book our appointments consecutively. This is especially important as many of us also have other commitments professionally.

So here are some suggestions that can help clients get the most out of their experience as well as helping professionals to keep costs reasonable and to work in an optimum way:
  • Questions about how the practitioner operates and what to expect are reasonable things to inquire about when booking, however in the instances of receptionists or even in dealing with the practitioner themselves it is not reasonable for them to directly address your issues outside of the appointment time.
  • Most practitioners will inform you upon booking of the form of payment they can accept (some may not accept bank or credit cards or cheques) but it is good to check on this before-hand.
  • Bear in mind that this is an appointment as much with your self as with the practitioner. Always try to book an appointment at a time when you can arrive a little early, be comfortable and unhurried. Also try to have some “down time” afterward. Most holistic or intuitive experiences are of less value if you have to be rushing in and/or out.

  • Try to look after other things before your appointment (bathroom, eating).
  • Turn cell-phones or pagers off or to “message”.

  • Don’t bring children along if it is not a child appropriate environment (again if you aren’t sure call ahead and ask).

  • If you are going to be late, please call ahead, nothing is worse than waiting to the last minute to say “I’ll be right there” when you are in fact, miles away. It might be appropriate to reschedule. Most practitioners are very understanding about these things when they are given a reasonable opportunity to accommodate or adjust.

  • People who book appointments and don’t show up and don’t call (“no shows”) are the biggest headache of all, in the instance of group bookings try to insure that everyone is coming, call to confirm and in the instance of any change try to let the practitioner know as soon as possible. Again, most practitioners appreciate a call even if it is to say you cannot make it. In some instances “no shows” can be refused service in the future. If you forget an appointment it is best to call and apologize.

All of these suggestions are of course pretty basic courtesies. I find when I respect how I access a resource I get a lot more out of the experience. I value people's thoughts, questions and comments on this.