Miss Appointments?

March 23, 2009

Jim and I set our next appointment time, but he didn’t write it down. He just agreed to the appointment, collected his cell phone and keys, said goodbye and headed out the door.

As soon as he was gone I grabbed my cell to make the call before my next client. I quickly looked up the number and dialed. I got his machine – good, he’d remembered not to answer; I punched “1” and said, “Hi, this is Szifra. We have an appointment on Thursday at 2:30. See you then. Goodbye!”

With that one phone call I cleared my responsibility before I could forget, and had given Jim an appointment reminder that he could replay again and again all week long. That’s right; my quick phone call was to Jim as he walked out to his car. It was an arrangement that we had devised to help him remember, and it worked great for the entire time he saw me.

Before my first appointment with a client ends, I ask them if they need a reminder for appointments. Each client has a different need. For some, despite the fact they have ADHD, they never have any difficulty remembering when we’re getting together, as long as they have a card with the time.

Some clients prefer an email the morning of their appointment and others request a phone call to remind them as they start their day. A few clients, who need some time to make the drive to my office, ask for a call about 90 minutes before they’re supposed to be there.

If possible, I try to accommodate whatever approach works. With Jim that means calling him as he leaves my office and leaving the reminder on his cell phone where he likes stumbling across it all week. Jim thought of this idea when I was offering the list of possibilities.

If you have trouble remembering appointments, be a good observer of what works well for you. Once you find a system don’t be afraid to tell your dentist, accountant, personal trainer or other service providers. They may appreciate knowing what will get you to your appointment on time and on the right day. You may even teach them to ask other clients who sometimes forget.

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