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Fired by our Dentist – Customer Service 1.0

I generally dislike trips to the dentist office.  Not that I have a fear of drills and needles, just the impatience of sitting in a chair immoble for a couple hours.  It had been a long time since I had good dental insurance, ok…any dental insurance.  When you freelance, contract, and run a small business it’s one of those things that go on the, “I’ll take care of it later list”.  So with a lot of trepidation, I scheduled my first dentist appointment, fearing for the worst.  My wife had found a nice practice a few blocks from our house.  The ambience of the office was Home Furniture / Yoga studio.  It was nice, the employees were friendly, in a midwest Lutheran type of way, but it didn’t take my edge off from finding what the damage was going to be.

We live in an area where there seems to be a lot of stay-at-home moms.  This is not scientific calculation, just something I have observed when visiting my son’s school over the years.  Both my wife and myself do a lot of schedule shifting to make sure, work and kids (we have a 13 yr. old and 1 yr. old) are taken care of on a daily basis.  We share our Google calendars to try and stay on top of everything.  I’m certain we’re not alone.

At the end of the first visit, I was sat down and told what proceedures they suggested be handled right away, how much this would cost, and when this could be scheduled.  Knowing my wife had the same proceedure done the week before, I was happy to hear that my dental insurance took care of most of the cost.

They decided to split the proceedure into two sessions.  The first was schedule for an hour, ended up taking two, and cost me around $200 more due to “changes” in my dental coverage.  The assessment of costs was only a couple weeks previous.  Knowing how sketchy insurance companies can be, I didn’t chastise the dental practice for not telling me of doubling of proceedure cost.  I told them that I would take it up with my insurance company.

The day before my scheduled second half of the proceedure, I came down with a “bug”.  It was probably from the older kid, as my wife caught it the day before.  Knowing that I would be sitting in the dentist chair the next morning, for upward of two hours and 7 shots, I called and cancelled, rescheduling for two weeks later.

Upon my next appointment, I found out that a client meeting had come up, which I had to attend.  The dental practice called and left a message, which they were really good about doing, reminding me of the appointment.  Knowing of scheduling conflict, I called when I returned home, left a cancellation notice on their office voicemail, and planned to reschedule in the morning.

I never had a chance to reschedule, as the dental practice called in the morning, notifying me that I had cancelled the last 2 appointments in with less than a 48 hour notice.  I was unaware of such notice policy.  It must have been in the fine print.  I apologized for the cancellation notices, and calmly explained both scenarios.  The woman on the phone said she would talk to the dentist and get back to us.

A week passed and we received a letter explaining that this dental practice would no longer accept appointments from not only me, but my wife as well.  Due to their 48 hour cancellation notice policy which was broken 4 times, they would no longer take our business, but would gladly transfer our records to another practice.

Wow, we had been fired from our dentist.  Having been a small business owner for upwards of 5 years.  I could relate to the difficulties of scheduling workers that would not be used.  It was totally in their perogative to let us go, as these cancellations (I only could count 2) could cost them money.  Then I thought about it a bit more.  Maybe we just were not their typical soccer mom client base.  Hecktic schedules, last minute meetings, and genernal pain-in-the-ass to nail down clients, probably wasn’t on their business plan.  This brings up another point on health care.  Could our doctor, optomitrist, or pediatrician fire us?  It might make better business sense, but a guess the hypocratic oath gets in way somewhere.

Something to learn:  Give your dentist 48 hours for cancellation of an appointment, or you could end up using a doorknob and string in the future.

  • http://swirlspice.com Erica M

    It’s not unreasonable to have such a cancellation policy in the first place, but I imagine a dental practice could absorb that overhead. I don’t know, maybe their policy developed out of an abuse situation.

    But certainly the best customer service would have been to notify you verbally before terminating service, even if you were in violation of the policy. Or maybe they need to revise their policy to include a warning of sorts. Listing the dates of the alleged cancellations would be nice, too.

  • http://www.invisalignbracesdental.com/ Invisalign braces

    I go to dentist every 6 months. This doesn't mean I'm not afraid. I just don't want to get any bigger trouble with my teeth.

  • http://www.myabsolutesmile.com/ philadelphia dentists

    It is a good practice to visit the dentist once in 6 months to make sure that your teeth are in top conditions and you are not having any teeth decay troubles.

  • http://www.dentistrybyerin.com/ dentist lexington ky

    I do think the dentist should be understood in this case. The dentist might have spent a lot when there are schedules not being followed.

  • http://www.dentistrybyerin.com/ dentist lexington ky

    I do think the dentist should be understood in this case. The dentist might have spent a lot when there are schedules not being followed.

  • http://www.dentistrybyerin.com/ dentist lexington ky

    I agree with the fear of those drills and stuffs about the dentists. But we should should learn to face the fact that it is the way to fix our teeth.

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