I'm in a bad mood tonight. I've been sitting at my computer for 3 hours and have accomplished almost nothing even though I've been trying to accomplish things and have not in fact played a single game of Mumu.
This is the kind of bad mood that would be improved by me making someone else grumpy. Since I haven't got anybody to grump at right now, I would like to share an exchange I recently had with the office of a medical specialist.
I realized in late February that I had lost the piece of paper telling me when I was supposed to see this specialist for a followup to a test that I took. A test that obviously hadn't shown anything serious because it was one of those deals where if it was serious, it was seriously serious and they would call me in right away, but if it wasn't serious, I'd just go in so they could tell me I'm okay but I'd be even better if I cut back on fats and sugars and exercise more.
I'd lost the paper, but I had the doctor's business card. First I tried the phone number. It rang a few times and then I got a message telling me that they were on lunch hour and I'd have to call back between 1:30 and 4pm.
I called at 3pm and got a busy signal.
So I sent an email to the address on the card:
I believe I have an appointment late this month with Dr. Q to review results of a test...
I can't find the paper with the date for the appointment on it.
Would you be able to tell me when it is?
Seconds later, I received a reply:
Sent: February 18, 2009 3:00 PM
To: Scrimshaw, David
Subject: We do not respond to emails
Thank you for your email. However we do not respond to clinical emails.
Please contact the office by phone 613.....
So I replied:
From: Scrimshaw, David
Sent: February 18, 2009 3:01 PM
Subject: RE: We do not respond to emails
Then why do you have an email address?
Just to annoy people?
I felt pretty good about this, but it had two obvious problems.
- Obviously, nobody is actually reading these emails; and
- I still didn't know when I was supposed to see the doctor.
I tried the phone number again. Busy signal.
I set an Outlook reminder and tried phoning several more times over the next two days. Every time I called I got the busy signal or the message about how it was the wrong time.
So I sent a fax.
You'll be happy to know that within a half-hour, a sheepish-sounding woman phoned me and actually apologized because my appointment was supposed to be for the next day but the doctor was out of town and they had to reschedule my appointment. She was kind of sheepish about it all, but I took no pleasure in it. It was really the guy in charge that I wanted to hear apologize.
Here is the fax I sent:
Re: Appointment with Dr. Q
I am faxing because:
- When I call, I either get a busy signal or a message that you're not answering your phone at the time I call.
- When I emailed, I got a reply that says you don't reply to emails.
I think I have an appointment next week, but maybe I've already missed it.
If you are able to, could you let me know when my appointment is? I have lost the paper with the date.
Tel: 613-236-.... [my phone is usually free, and when not, you can leave a voicemail]
Email: david....@....ca [I do reply to emails]
p.s. Given that you deal with people who may respond poorly to stress and tension, perhaps you should investigate some of the modern communication techniques like using the "reply" button on emails and using "voicemail".