Are you currently sending an SMS reminder to your clients to shore up appointments? If not, why not?
Using SMS reminders is one of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid missed appointments and increase your bottom line.
If you can recover business from missed appointments due to forgetfulness, your cash flow will increase, and your valuable time won’t be wasted.
Here’s a few of the key reasons you need to set your business up to send automated appointment reminder text messages.
What is an appointment reminder text?
An appointment reminder text is simple in its nature.
As soon as your client books an appointment on your website, you simply collect the client’s details, including their phone number.
You then designate a time (usually the day prior during business hours) and create a basic text to remind the client that they have an upcoming appointment with you.
You can send a reminder text in three ways:
- Send a manual text message the day prior to remind your client they have an appointment. This is overly time consuming.
- You can also use an external appointment reminder app, but this is an unnecessary and convoluted process that is overshadowed by inbuilt tools already in your booking software.
- The best option – use your booking software such as Better Clinics to automate the reminder process on your behalf.
Does my business need SMS appointment reminders?
Do you need to send reminders? Well, that depends. If you are in the business of booking clients into your calendar to provide health services and wish to keep your appointments – yes!
A missed appointment has a number of ramifications:
- If a client is a no-show you have clearly missed out on the business you would have clocked had they shown up.
- You have wasted your own time by waiting for a client to show up. This may mean you have already spent time and effort setting up the space or equipment specifically for that person.
- You may have missed out on alternate business, as another client may have wanted that timeslot an saw it was booked out.
- You now need to contact the client and reschedule, meaning more time on your future calendar and more wasted time and effort.
Why SMS is the best way to remind your clients
The main reason to send SMS messages is your open rates. Research has shown that SMS can have up to 98% open rates. That’s huge.
This is compared to email, which research has shown has an average open rate of a mere 20.4 %.
Do clients opt in to SMS text messages?
You do not have to gain permission to text a client as they have already taken up your services and supplied you with a mobile number.
This is not necessarily so if you use their number for marketing purposes. In this case, its best practice to have an opt out option.
How do you write an appointment reminder text message?
Writing an appointment text reminder is a straightforward task. If you’re using your booking software, you will have fields for their name and appointment time that will be automatically filled in according to the booking.
The aim is clear – remind your client that they have an appointment with your business, with a certain employee, at a certain place and time.
The trick is to be concise, friendly, to the point, and with all necessary information. That’s it. Cut out any fluff and keep to the task at hand.
An example of a reminder SMS:
‘Hi Julie, a quick reminder that you have a physio appointment with Jared from Insight Physiotherapists tomorrow at 2pm. If you need to re-schedule, please use the following link.’
Hot Tip: having a link to re-schedule is a must. In fact, research from the Journal of Medical Systems has shown that one of the primary benefits of SMS reminders (apart from reducing no shows) is that your client can re-schedule easily – and often do.
How do you send appointment text reminders?
Far and away the best way to go about this is to use your booking or practice management software, such as Better Clinics.
Inbuilt in your practice management software is a tool which will look at your calendar and client information then fire off a pre-decided text to your customer at a designated time.
It’s that easy – you won’t need to lift a finger once you have this set up.
In this way, you can concentrate on providing services to other clients or tick off other business tasks, safe in the knowledge that your client has been reminded.
Other appointment reminders
There are alternate appointment reminder messages to SMS – namely email or phone calls. Let’s have a look at why SMS is the prime option.
Email reminders are beneficial in that they can also be automated in your booking software, as with SMS. With email you can also provide a lot more information and include attachments such as patient information forms or other documentation.
The downside is that the open rate of emails is incredibly low. This means your patient will unlikely see or open your email as opposed to an SMS.
Manual phone call reminders
Another option is to call your clients and remind them of the appointment. While this has a personal touch and a high contact rate – the effort and extra administration involved in phoning people multiple times makes it untenable.
The choice is clear – by spending a few minutes setting up an automated SMS appointment reminders, you’ll radically reduce no shows, allow clients to reschedule easily and spend more time doing your job and running your business.