receiving sms appointment reminder on phone

2 Simple Tips for Crafting Effective SMS Reminders Messages

Every time my phone or smart watch buzzes, I am excited at the thought of hearing from family or friends. Then, I’m frequently annoyed because many of my text messages are spam. These messages are sent by political campaigns, online petitions, weight-loss scams, etc. 

Although I truly appreciate receiving text message reminders for my upcoming appointments, if they are not well crafted, they can be a nuisance as well. Below we outline ways you can use Reminderly to delight your customers with text message reminders and reduce no-show rates by over 65%.

Why Appointment Reminders Are Critical for Your Business

Without using appointment reminder software, no-show rates skyrocket. According to recent studies automated appointment reminders reduce no-show rates by over 65%, after controlling for other variables. Depending on the size of your business, this can easily translate into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in lost revenue every year. To maintain client relationships and reduce revenue loss, appointment reminders are critical.

1. Make your appointment reminder messages concise

Because most people only spend a couple of seconds reading appointment reminder messages, it’s important to make sure that your messages are as concise as possible. Text messages are limited to 160 characters per message, and we discourage sending more than two messages per reminder. Using abbreviations and sentence fragments are standard and accepted when sending text messages.

Start with the basic information that your clients need.

Always include the name of your business, appointment date and time, and what you want your clients to do if they need to reschedule.

You may want to include additional information.

Additional information that you may want your clients to have are: meeting location, masking requirements, and paperwork needed in advance. Providing some additional information can also strengthen the communication between client and service provider, leading to greater patient engagement and patient satisfaction.

2. Establishing the Right Tone in SMS reminders

Despite the limited space, it’s possible to add additional text to strike the right tone.  Some businesses want to come across as fun and energetic, while other businesses want to make sure to deliver a more formal tone. Your reminder app should allow you to customize your messages so that you can craft the tone that is right for you and your customers.

Examples of how to improve appointment reminder messages

Original message:

  • “Hello! It’s almost time! As a friendly reminder your appointment is at 3:00 PM on Tuesday February 5, 2023. Acme Dental’s Office phone number is 555-555-5555. In order to keep all of our patients safe, we continue to meet CDC and OSHA requirements. If you have COVID-19 related symptoms, please call us to reschedule.

Updated message:

  • “Your appt. with ACME Dental is on 2/5 at 3:00 PM. Call 555-555-5555 to reschedule. Please wear a mask or reschedule if you have COVID symptoms. See you soon!”

Both messages contain the same information, but the second one is more concise and only uses one text message since it is less than 160 characters. To keep your reminders below 160 characters, we encourage using common abbreviations, such as “appt.” instead of “appointment.” 

How to Establish a Positive and Friendly Tone in an SMS

A spa or salon manager may want to establish a warm and welcoming tone while an oncologist’s office may want to keep the message as succinct as possible. 

Opening salutation: To begin, not all appointment reminders need to contain the client’s name, although some businesses may opt for a more personal and friendly tone.

Be direct: We recommend getting to the critical information quickly, for example, opening with a salutation and then providing the date, time, and location of the appointment. 

Closing: Many of our clients also prefer to end on a short but friendly note, such as “We look forward to seeing you!” 

Your appointment reminder app should provide you with the flexibility to customize your messages for your clients so that you can strike the right tone for your business. 

Other considerations: Choosing the Right Method for Reminder Notifications

While we have been focusing on text message reminders, SMS isn’t perfect for everyone.  For example, many older clients may prefer voice reminders (though we have seen more and more people using text messages regardless of their age). Your appointment reminder app should offer the ability to send text, voice, and email reminders to your clients. At Reminderly, we offer flexible appointment reminders which can be customized for each client, whether they want to receive SMS reminders, email reminders, phone call reminders, or all three.

Appointment reminder software should give you the flexibility to meet the needs of your clients

Accounting for Differences
Patients and clients need information and reminders, but they do not need to be inundated by these messages. Understanding industry specific needs of clients is invaluable in establishing effective communication practices. Many Physical Therapy offices see the same client multiple times each week. Dentists and primary care physicians predominately see patients for their annual visits. These two categories require the ability to customize the number of reminder messages sent to clients. Another useful example is a family where multiple family members see the same physician or dentist. Keeping track of which patient is seeing which doctor can be overwhelming and confusing, resulting in higher no-show rates. 

Managing different timeframes
For an annual physical with a primary care physician, appointment reminders are necessary to keep no-show rates low. When booking one year in advance, many patients easily forget about their upcoming appointment, so an appointment reminder several days ahead of time and another reminder one day in advance may be a perfect reminder rate for sending messages. For physical therapists, however, sending two reminders leading up to each appointment can easily overwhelm or discourage a patient from booking. At Reminderly, we offer easy customization for different industries, so that patients receive the information that they need, when they need it. 

Accounting for multiple family members
As is especially common with healthcare practitioners, many family members may see the same provider or providers in the same office. This may take the form of a parent with multiple children, or a multi-generational household. Customizing appointment reminders so that clients can easily keep track of whom the appointment is for can greatly simplify scheduling for families. At Reminderly, we offer customization for providers to send reminder messages that are tailored to different client needs. 

Easily create different reminders based on the types of appointment
Clients may need different information based on the appointment type. For example, clients may need to fill out different forms or come in early if they are a new client. Your reminder application should be able to easily send different reminder messages to different clients based on their appointment type.

Reminderly Makes It Easy for You to Automate Your Appointment Reminders

We specialize in automated appointment reminders so that you can do what you do best: take care of your clients. We offer an all-in-one appointment reminder system which is easily customizable to meet the varying needs of differing industries and clients. This can be in the “set it and forget it” model, where an office uploads their schedule to our system and lets our automation do the rest, or messages can be crafted and honed throughout the day as circumstances and needs change.

How to Get Started with Reminderly

Signing up for a free 14 day trial is easy. After the trial, we offer flexible pricing, to make appointment reminder software affordable for every business no matter the size. We offer many different ways to customize messages for your clients while also providing the ability to amend or change messages in real-time. 

Need Additional Assistance?

Reminderly offers customer service that can help you through this process. We can help you get your account setup and we are happy to help you shorten your reminder messages. If you have questions feel free to contact us, we are here to help!

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