A year ago, I wrote about our use of mystery shoppers to help guage whether we were meeting standards of customer quality in our clinics. We still do this and find it a good way to help the staff at the front desk staff do better and better for our patients. Here's a call, though, that shows exemplary service. (The call lasted 11 minutes. You can't rush quality.) Note the immediate feedback to the staff member from the secret shopper, too.
After one ring, Kerry Falvey answered my call by enthusiastically stating the name of the practice, her own name, and asking, "How can I help you?" I explained that I needed to make an appointment, but I had never seen a Nephrologist before. I had seen a Urologist recently because of recurrent UTIs who said I had high creatinine levels. My PCP and this Urologist both suggested I see a Nephrologist. Kerry said that she could definitely help me with scheduling an appointment, and asked for my name and date of birth. She confirmed that I had never been to BIDMC then explained that as a new patient, she would need to start a profile for me. She then collected all of my demographic information and confirmed that my PCP was the referring physician. She also asked if there was a particular doctor I'd be interested in seeing, and I said there was not. Kerry then explained that she would check for the first available appointment. She mentioned that their new patient policy was to provide an appointment within seven business days. The first appointment she found for me was for Tuesday, February 26th (6 days) at 10:30a with Dr. Walter Mutter, whose name she spelled for me. She confirmed that this appointment date and time would work with my schedule and confirmed that the reason for my appointment was because of high creatinine. Kerry then explained that she would check if I needed a referral. She clearly explained that depending on my insurance and PCP, I may not need a referral because of certain agreements between BIDMC and certain insurance companies. She explained that since I had Harvard Pilgrim insurance and my PCP was a BIDPO doctor, I would not need to obtain a referral. She then explained that she would check if they could access my PCP's records. Since she discovered that they could not electronically access the records, she said that they would contact my PCP, with my permission, to obtain any pertinent notes. Kerry asked if I knew where their office was located, and I said I did not. She explained that there would be a letter coming in the mail with details on directions, parking, etc, but that she would give me the location anyways. She provided me with the address, name of the building, and floor on which I could find Medical Specialties, which is where their practice is located. She asked if I needed directions to the medical center, and I said I should be fine. Kerry then repeated the date, time, and doctor I would be seeing for my appointment. She provided me with the practice phone number and explained that I could call with any questions and that any of their three staff could help me. She asked if she could help me with anything else before transferring me to registration.
Kerry's facilitation of my call was nothing less than exemplary. I mentioned to her that her tone of voice was very pleasant, and she was easy to speak with, making for an enjoyable conversation. I also commended her clear explanations throughout the call, including why she needed to collect my information, the fact that she would schedule me an appointment then transfer me to registration, and her description of the referral exception which my insurance allowed. I also thought she was very accommodating, since she was able to check right then and there whether I needed to call my PCP for a referral and since she offered to obtain the medical notes from my PCP. I also mentioned to Kerry how helpful it was that she repeated the reason for my appointment, indicating she understood my request, and that she repeated my appointment date, time, and doctor at the end of the call. I also mentioned to Kerry that it seemed like she provided me with all the information I needed and asked all the questions she should have. The only suggestion I could think of for Kerry was for her to mention something about parking along with the location of the practice.
It was very uplifting speaking with Kerry, even for something as mundane as scheduling a doctor appointment. Even on this Friday afternoon, Kerry's spirits were still high, which certainly lifted my own mood. This call truly sets the bar for the customer service that all of our schedulers should aspire to reach. Kerry received a 5 (excellent) out of 5 for this call.