You know what makes me truly crazy?  People who just redial any missed call they have instead of listening to messages.

I don’t like listening to voice mail either.  But I don’t understand the call back mindset.  What if it was a wrong number?  What if it wasn’t important enough to leave a message? What if it was a telemarketer?  And why on earth would you call back before listening to a message if there is one?

This is what happens over and over in my office.

Some fool calls in and says, “Someone just called me from there.”  Ok, dear caller, you now know you called a business.  Don’t you feel stupid making this call?  We think you are stupid.  Here’s what has to happen next.

1.  We have to find out who you are.  That can be hard.  It is surprising how many people don’t know what name they used at the vet.  The number of aliases some people have is staggering.

2.  Once your account is located we hope that there is a note on it saying who called.  There should be.  But some people aren’t good about logging everything.  That’s our fault not yours.  For those people who call back immediately though, the note may still be being typed and not be available to be seen.  In these cases, we need to consider everyone who may have called you.

  • One of the doctors trying to tell you about your bloodwork.  If it is a doctor, that doctor is probably seeing an appointment right now and can’t talk to you because we make calls during our spare seconds when the next patients are being taken into the exam room.
  • A technician calling you about not so bad lab results.  They are probably in a room or on another call too.
  • Surgery techs calling with status updates for patients
  • Receptionists calling with reminders for surgeries scheduled in the next few days.
  • Receptionists calling about overdue vaccines

It’s ok, we’ll take a guess at who called you.

3.  The receptionist is now paging around all areas of the hospital trying to figure out who called you.  If the missing doctor or tech is in a room and not near a phone, no one knows who called you.  Oh yeah, we have 2 hospitals with connected phone service so we are doing this at two hospitals trying to find your caller.  It’s ok, we don’t have anything else to do or have 15 other patients waiting to talk to us.

4.  If it was me and I’m near a phone I get pissy if I can tell you didn’t listen to the message.  If I left you a long message and there hasn’t been enough elapsed time for you to listen to it, I know.  If the message said, “Hi.  I just wanted to let you know that there has been a delay at the lab with getting Fluffy’s results.  I didn’t want you to think that we had forgotten about her.  I will call you back as soon as we get them in” I know you didn’t listen.  Now I have to repeat myself.  I also have to work in some time to cuss you out before picking up the phone and using my sweet and professional voice.

So, you’ve wasted my time, the receptionist’s time, and your time because you didn’t take the time to listen to the message.  As you can tell this is becoming one of my major pet peeves about my job.