Ireland’s health service have made a recommendation to call patients by their first name rather than use generic terms such as love or dear. Do they need to be told! As a professional you always call patients by their name, and in some cases this would be their surname as it might seem more appropriate. This infers that you have read the client’s notes and identified them. If the name is wrong then you will have looked at the wrong notes!
Calling someone love is ageist – both old and young and demeaning. My hair is no longer dyed the vibrant red it used to be, and I am treated differently to the way I used to. People call me dear or love more than they did. Do they consider me as somehow less able than them because I have hair a lovely shade of pewter?
In the unlikely event that I ever have to live in a retirement home, carers who remember that I am Jennie, not Jennifer, might remember that I drink tea very weak and without milk, hate mashed spuds and most green things and prefer University Challenge to Eastenders.
Noticed a few posts suggesting podiatrists get a retired receptionist part-time rather than use a virtual receptionist – REALLY? So many reasons why that isn’t such a great idea.
Retired Part-time Receptionist
We are open 11 hours a day to take calls for our clients. We cover holidays and sick leave, so you don’t have to.
Maybe you can get all your patients to phone in at certain times - Good luck with that.
Starting from £155 plus VAT (£186) per month
£8.21 per hour plus NI and holiday and sickness pay
Understand the business
We work with health practitioners, we understand podiatry, physio, osteo, chiropractic and other therapies.
You’ve got to train them
Know your business
We do learn about your business quite quickly, but we have all the information to hand to be sure.
Again - you have to train them
Our teams are always polite and friendly. We try to be helpful. If we can’t answer a question we send you a message.
When they are there
Bring you coffee
Okay – we can’t bring you coffee
Yep, they can do that
If you have a multi-therapy clinic with a generous turnover then sure, get yourself a full time team, but for small clinics you can have “a full time receptionist at a fraction of the cost”. And don’t forget if you do have an on-site receptionist you can still use a virtual reception team to back-up.
Are you still only using cash or cheques in your practice? Your patients might not be…
I get brought up short sometimes these days when I need change for parking, or I have to enter my pin for something. Free cash machines are disappearing, its more difficult to send patients out to get cash.
We are all using contactless phones and cards to pay for everything, including our services and treatments! You can’t ignore the trend.
So, if you are not already taking card payments in your practice you do need to think again.
I’ve looked around at the current independent payment gateways and done a bit of homework for you. Read more…
So, as a practitioner you can charge in advance for an appointment. If the customer misses the appointment or cancels at less than 24 hours it is not reasonable to expect the appointment to be filled so it is ok to keep all or part of the fee. But if you book someone else into the appointment you should refund all or part of the fee.
If you don’t charge at the point of booking you will have to chase the customer for payment. Good luck with that.
Some clinics run classes for a set period, typically 4 or 6 weeks. Customers book in advance and pay in advance. If a customer misses one of these without notice the practitioner can keep, all or part of the fee.
If the customer cancels in good time and you are able to fill the appointment you should refund all or part of that portion of the course fee.
If you as a practitioner cancel a class or appointment you should either transfer the paid fee to another appointment or give a refund. A credit is only of value if the customer can use it, eg to book in on another class.
A term saying that no refund is available in any circumstances is likely to be unfair.
All or part of the fee?
The government guidance states that you must take into account what your business is actually losing as a result of the cancellation.
Again it comes down to being fair.
You should state your policy on your website and on any written material or email you send to the customer, and inform them at the time of booking. (Which we do for you, routinely).