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Wildly Exaggerated: Dear Internet: Call Me

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dear Internet: Call Me

I am a total dork about the internet. I LOVE the internet. I love that I can order food in my PJs - without talking to a person - then have it magically appear at my door. I love shopping online, I love social media, I love Words With Friends, I love that I'm rarely more than one Netflix/Hulu/YouTube search away from any movie or TV show I feel like watching.  I love the BBC iPlayer! I love email and IMs! I love blogs! I love online check-in for flights and having seen the hotel room from EVERY angle before I even get there! Yessir, the internet is amazing. And I love to see more and more businesses maximizing its potential to make my life awesome, so I was stoked to discover that my doctor's office is now doing Online Appointment Scheduling! SCORE! I assumed it would work just like the Online Appointment Scheduling at my favorite salon. As follows:

1. Set up account/log in
2. Fill in a few fields indicating services needed
3. Search available appointments for one that coincides with a free spot in my calendar
4. Reserve one of said appointments
5. Receive confirmation. Hooray!

But I had forgotten that this was a medical practice, and medical practices, unlike hair salons, know I need them more than they need me. This is not about customer service. This is about holding my time hostage. Here's how their process works, apparently:

1. Set up account/log in
2. Fill in a few fields indicating services needed
3. List 3 dates and rough times ("rough" as in AM vs PM) when you might be available
4. Leave website and go about your business
(24 hour delay)
5. Receive voicemail from "scheduler" who is "calling to schedule your appointment"
6. Return call. Leave voicemail.
7. Receive voicemail.
8. Return call. Leave voicemail.
(24 hour delay)
9. Receive voicemail.
10. Return call. Speak to "scheduler", who has no idea which doctor you wanted to see, when, or why, even though you spent 10 minutes giving the internet all of that information.
11. Schedule appointment over the phone
12. Be accidentally put on hold for 3 minutes in the middle of appointment confirmation
13. Receive confirmation

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this whole fiasco is the way I stumbled on the "Online Appointment Scheduling" in the first place: I had gone to the website to get the phone number so I could call and make an appointment. And had I just done that instead of falling for the "Online Appointment Scheduling", we would've been done three days earlier. Because that was not "Online Appointment Scheduling". That was "A Form to Request a Phone Call". And anything that happens on the phone did not happen online. FAIL.

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