Your receptionist is an important first impression to your service.

I want to book an appointment with a local optometrist to check my daughter’s eyes. My older daughter has had an appointment a year ago so it is time to have her eyes checked again. My younger daughter has not seen an optometrist. I want her eyes checked soon because she continues to have some twitching that concerns me a little.  So I sent a request via the optometrist’s website to request an appointment. I left my contact number, my details and reason for the appointment request. This was done at the beginning of May.  I haven’t heard from them since.    All of a sudden, I got a phone from the receptionist, confirming an appointment for this Thursday at 845 am.

I was shocked. I don’t remember anyone calling me about this appointment date. I asked if the office has ever called me earlier of this appointment. In addition, I am not available to take my daughters this Thursday. So I kindly asked if I could have this appointment rescheduled.

So she proceeded to inform me the next available appointment would be in 2018. I asked if there would be another optometrist who would be able to see them sooner. She then told me the earliest appointment for another optometrist would be in Sept 2017 – 4 months away. I felt she didn’t try very hard and really in a way, told me to either take the date or forget about it. I didn’t want to start begging for an appointment sooner. So I told her I would not be able to come this Thursday and ended the conversation.

Are they that busy that they can’t fit two appointments sooner? It’s not an urgent appointment, so I don’t expect to get an appointment immediately but I do expect an appointment within next month or so.  Or perhaps it would be too much work to re-look at the appointment book to see where she can fit me in.

I don’t think that was very nice of the office to call me without much notice of my appointment date. I suspect whoever scheduled the appointment earlier this month forgot to notify me. And whoever called me today wasn’t very pleasant.  I really dislike experiencing this poor quality of service, especially in healthcare. People may be sick, frail and not all “put-together”.  It is indeed upsetting and disheartening to experience the the first contact with the health care service to be so insensitive. I hope health care providers have a way to assess how their front line staff members are interacting with their patients – whether that be a comment box or another avenue to express their feedback.  They may be excellent health care providers but if their front line staff members are rude, inflexible and lack the heart to deal with sick patients, then they are not really accessible to the public who may otherwise benefit from their excellent service.

That’s just too bad. I have to look for another optometrist now.


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My name is Cynthia Leung and I am a practicing pharmacist in Kingston Ontario, Canada. This blog is for me to share my ideas, opinions and perspectives on how medications are used in our health care system. Note that these posts are my own opinions and do not represent the opinions of my current or former employers and / or organizations that I may belong to. Any possible case scenarios described in my posts would be modified to maintain patient confidentiality. This blog is not a platform for professional advise for patients or health care providers and the content is not meant to support any clinical decisions or replace professional opinions. Also the images are either taken or created by the author, or adapted with permission. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts!

2 thoughts on “Your receptionist is an important first impression to your service.”

  1. Lots of US optometrists and dentists set automatic appointments off in the distance — which they don’t tell you about to begin with and then remind you of at the last second. I HATE THAT. When will these guys figure out that you can’t just make an appointment and expect folks to show up!

    Oops. It’s one of those touchy areas for me! Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s not right. It also shows no respect for people’s time. How hard is it to book an appointment and inform the patient? I get that there are people who don’t respect their appointment and don’t show up and it hurts their practice but it is just common courtesy to inform people of their appointment dates in advance and then to confirm few days before.

      Liked by 1 person

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