I was working to make an appointment the other day to take my car in for a service appointment. When I called the dealership their voice recording touted being able to schedule one’s appointment on-line via their website. Being fond of web scheduling, I immediately hung up and went to the website. The site was clean, neat, and easy to read. I easily stepped through to selecting my date for my appointment. Suddenly, no dates were available. As far out as I could go on the calendar all I got was an NA for the date.
Not to be deterred I logged off and re-entered the site. Again, everything went smoothly until it came time to select a date. Again, only an NA would appear.
Needing to schedule an appointment I resorted to 20th century technology and dialed the service number. This time I waded through the menu options and arrived at a message asking me to leave my name and number and they would return my call to schedule. I did this. All of this activity took place right after Noon. As of 5:00 p.m. the same day, the time the message said the service department closed, I’d yet to receive a return call. The next day I waited until 10:00 a.m. before calling. This time I maneuvered through the menu to a live person and was able to schedule an appointment, but I was left feeling that spending money with a business should not be this difficult.
I am a frequent advocator of on-line appointment scheduling. In my experience fewer and fewer people like having to dial the phone to buy something or make an appointment. I’m bewildered why more dentists are not moving to on-line scheduling. The excuse I’ve heard is that the patient can’t know how much of the doctor’s time their procedure will require. I understand this; however, even though I own a car I have no idea how much time changing the oil or replacing the timing belt requires and yet dealerships seem to be able to move to on-line scheduling for their service departments. I continue to believe that the delay in moving on-line is merely procrastination and not founded on any viable argument. Any business, or dental office, that wants to offer a truly client oriented experience needs to be adopting the technology that their clients use every day. Failure to do so will cause their business to be left in the dust.