Ahhhh...back to real life. I spent the last week riding my motorcycle 3,000 miles through six states all by myself. It should be noted that I am a cheapskate who hates being on the phone to begin with — so I have been having a love affair with Virgin Mobile for the last five years, enjoying a contract-free cell phone plan on the network-less-traveled (Sprint). Which meant being pretty much SOL for the last nine days unless I landed somewhere with Wi-Fi access.
It was great.
So naturally, I return to the real world to deal with the voicemails, text messages, and e-mails that have piled up over the last week. And while I’m taking all the notes of who needs to make an appointment, who needs to cancel an appointment, and who needs to reschedule their appointment, it occurs to me that my attitude toward people who cancel their appointments with short notice has changed over the years.
Maybe it’s because I have the luxury of not panicking when it happens now that I’m established, but it used to be when someone gave me less than 24-hours’ notice with her, ‘Oh! I forgot, I can’t make my appointment... can I reschedule for later this week?’, I used to use the tactic of pointing out how these last-minute cancellations and reschedules hurt me. Pleading the ‘If you need to cancel or reschedule, please give me at least 24-hours’ notice so I can fill your space’ tactic.
These days my reaction is more about them. ‘Oh. I’m sorry. I don’t have anything open until next week...’
If someone forgets her appointment or doesn’t plan in advance, it’s likely to be more inconvenient for her. Sure, a lot of times I still end up with a gaping hole in my schedule where that person was supposed to be. And often, that hole could have been filled by someone who’s been waiting for an opening if I’d gotten more notice. But I take comfort in knowing that, NO, the person who left that opening in my book will not be able to simply get in a few days later at her convenience.
Nope. It’s gonna take at least a week before I can get them rescheduled. Sometimes the next opening isn’t until their next regular appointment in two weeks.
This sort of realization tends to make for more alert clients down the road. The next time their appointment conflicts with another event in their lives, they are far more likely to call me first and make arrangements to reschedule while there’s still hope.