Some Work Related Rants…

A few small rants for today…. Both of these stem from the regular day job, and the… um, interesting… things that the people come up with.

First off, a question that I always ask in the process of fielding any “message” calls is to ask what kind of number the caller is leaving, usually just by asking if it’s a home phone or a cell number. If they answer that they are leaving a work number, I further clarify how late they are at work, and a possible alternate number if the caller would not be working until at least 5pm. But I get twitchy at some of the answers, especially when the caller just can’t grasp giving a straight answer. When they respond with just, “It’s my contact number” like they have a chip on the shoulder at having the question asked in the first place, I wonder if they just don’t understand the specific words that were used in the question.

Then, when I get people that think they are being smart, like the person I had the other day that said, “Well, so many people use cell phones now that a cell phone and a home phone are the same thing.” Um, sorry, no, they are not. Yes, a cell phone can be primary contact number. Yes, on some forms (especially on line) you have to fill in a “home phone number” field or the website chokes on the missing data. A cell phone, however, can not be a home phone since: a) it is not actually hardwired into the structure of your house (aka, a “landline”), b) carrying the telephone more than a few hundred yards from the house does not cause the device to lose contact with the base (for “cordless” phones).

So, today’s first lesson: Cellular ≠ Home phones.

The other thing, today, that gets frustrating in the calls that I process… People call in, and will leave a call back number, but don’t want to leave a message.

Caller: “I want to talk to my doctor/my doctor’s nurse.”
Me: “Okay. What kind of issue is it?”
Caller: “It’s about my health.”
Me: [Thinking – No shit, you’ve called your doctor’s office.] “Is it about your medication, or something you’ve got going on?”
Caller: “It’s about one of my prescriptions.”
Me: “Which one?”
Caller: [Long convoluted story that goes on for at least five minutes where they tell me that they were just seen in the office three days ago, and they tried to take their prescriptions to the pharmacy, but the copay is too high, because the doctor said it was on the $4 list, and it wasn’t, and I just want my doctor to call me so they can call me something else in, but at no time do they actually mention the name of the drug in question.]
Me: [Repeat back to confirm the basic information of needing a medication changed due to the copay being to high.]
Caller: “Right.”
Me: “Okay, which medication?”
Caller: [They either fumble with the name, or say they don’t know since they left the script at the pharmacy.]
Then we finish getting the pharmacy information and finish with the message.

OR the scenario sometimes plays out like this:

Caller: “I want to talk to my doctor/my doctor’s nurse.”
Me: “Okay. What kind of issue is it?”
Caller: “It’s about my health.”
Me: [Thinking – No shit, you’ve called your doctor’s office.] “Is it about your medication, or something you’ve got going on?”
Caller: “Just have my doctor call me.”
Me: “Okay, what’s it about?”
Caller: “Just have my doctor call me.”
[Repeat a few more times, explaining that it allows the medical staff to be better prepared when they call you back – no specific details, just a basic idea of what’s going on.]

Here’s a tip: if you are calling a place of business (yes, a doctor’s office is considered a business), if you want a quicker call back, leave an informed message. If you provide even just a few snippets of information, then the nurse will actually know, or be be prepared to handle, what you are wanting to discuss when they call you back.

Otherwise, you may have to get something like this:

Caller: “I called yesterday and I haven’t been called back yet… I [am having this issue].”
Me: “Yes, I see that you called but you didn’t specify [the issue]. The message that was left just indicated that you wanted to be called.” [Then commence with taking a note that actually explains why the person wants to be called, so the staff can then better help them.]
So, second lesson: For best service results, if you have to leave a message when you call a place of business, leave an actual message about why you are calling, not just your name and number.
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