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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Answering Machine Messages

Every week I need to call the office of ENT & Allergy Specialists of Virginia, to make an appointment for my son to get an allergy shot. Unfortunately, it is a lot harder than it should be.

This is the message I get when I call (703) 723-8727:

Thank you for calling ENT & Allergy Specialists of Virginia
Please listen to the following menu so that we can best direct your call
If this is a doctor's office or a hospital, press '8' at this time
If you are calling due to a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and dial 911
If you know your party's extension, press '9'
Please note, our office is closed for lunch between 12 and 1pm
If you would like to schedule an appointment, or change an existing appointment, press '1'
For information about our address, website, fax number, or hours of operation, press '2'
If you are a pharmacy or a patient calling regarding either a medication refill or prior authorization on a CT scan and would like to leave a message for our clinical coordinator, press '3'
If you need to speak directly with a clinical coordinator regarding surgery scheduling, pre-op and post-op questions, press '4'
If you would like to leave a message for the allergy department, press '5'
If you would like to leave a message for the audiology department, press '6'
If you would like to speak to the office administartor, press '7'
Please press * to replay these menu options

First of all, they have a full-time receptionist at this small office, who does nothing most of the time, so would it really be that hard for her to just answer the phone? They have a whole separate message that they play when the office is closed, but the above message gets played on all calls that come in when the office is open, even when the receptionist is sitting idle at the front desk.

Now, as far as the message is concerned, I would estimate that 95% of the calls they get are for appointments. Thus, everything shown above in red is a waste of our time. The first thing should be "dial 1 to make an appointment" and then they can put all of that other garbage that nobody cares about after that.