In my haste yesterday to complete the email in between sessions, I realise I wasn’t very clear. Perhaps this is a part of the issue - the brain shift that is required to craft communication vs in session brain …. it will all makes sense below …I hope!
I explained there are 2 steps to the process of cancelling - 1) receiving the cancellation advice, 2) communicating the client re re-scheduling / reason for cancelling. Whilst upon receiving their cancellation advice I might cancel the session in my calendar and want a quick note to go to the client to let them know that I have received and acknowledge their request, I don’t do the follow up re rebooking / reason for cancelling until a later point in the day or sometimes even the next day. This second step doesn’t happen til later b/c it takes so much time.
From a client’s perspective, the tardiness of my initial acknowledgement can result in 1) anxiety that they may be charged a cancellation fee, 2) friction of customer experience as they don’t feel serviced in that moment. As a user / practitioner / group practice owner, I want us all to be able to manage our own diaries and limit the number of in-between steps that are necessary to offer a high level of customer service to our clients. When I receive a cancellation advice, which can come through a multitude of different channels (Cliniko email, practice email, Cliniko text, therapy dedicated mobile text, SM, call to the practice landline, voicemail to the landline, voicemail to the therapy dedicated mobile), my first priority is to manage the diary, so I cancel the session and if there is another client waitlisted for that appointment advise them. I could at that moment also construct an email / send a text / make a call to the cancelling client to let them know that I have received their request, but I note that step can easily get missed the busyness of the practice.
We work as counselling psychotherapists, so many people come to us feeling unimportant / anxious about their place in the world. For this client group particularly, but I would say for a large portion of society, feeling like we matter and that we have been heard is a very important part of feeling well as a human. All I am asking for is a the time of cancelling an appointment, the option to send an automated acknowledgement for request for cancellation, perhaps with the option to personalise in it. For our practice I would want the message to read something like “Dear Client Name, thank you for letting us know you would like to cancel your appointment with Therapist Name on Appointment Date. We have cancelled the appointment accordingly and will be follow up with you soon. Warm regards Therapist Name / Practice Name”.
In the meantime as a work around I have created a series of letters that can be sent to clients depending on the nature of their request to cancel. With this, when I receive a cancellation request, I go to the appointment / Letters / select a pre-constructed letter re cancellation advice / email to client / cancel the appointment in the calendar / note I need to follow up with the client re rescheduling / fill the time from the Waitlist, then at the end of the day, I follow up with clients re next steps. Still a lot of steps, but a manageable brain shift in between sessions as opposed to having to turn on my mind to craft communication and work out the diary availability.
There is then the added layer of contractor therapists who may be at the practice 2 days per week. For these practitioners we help manage their communication and diary. In terms of delivering quality customer service both for the client of the practice and for the practitioner, this process is even more important. As mentioned previously we are a receptionist free practice.
In all honesty, with how intuitive Cliniko is and given that automated appointment confirmations are sent to clients and automated appointment cancellation advice is sent to the practitioner, for a long time we simply assumed that this sort of cancellation confirmation was being sent to the client. We only discovered this by accident, when clients called began contacting us rather agitated, asking to confirm that we had received their cancellation request. As we have become a full practice, this issue has become an issue. Prior to this time, we had the space to receive the advice, act on it immediately including rescheduling the client.
I hope that is clearer. And thank you for making the space to try and understand how we use the platform and what we need as a service providers.
P 03 -9532-4567