On the surface, appointment reminders are simple, and that is true to an extent. Create a reminder and send it out. There are a handful of mistakes that can attenuate appointment reminders. In this post, we will provide helpful tips and explanations to avoid making three of the most common appointment reminder mistakes.
In the modern technological age, we are inundated with information and details. Much of these come from technology, including phone calls, SMS messages, and emails. Because we are bombarded with information at all times, it is easy to overlook a single message. Especially if the message is received when we are already multitasking or distracted.
Sending more than one appointment reminder is more likely to catch the attention of the client, so that if they forgot about the first reminder, there is another chance to catch their attention. Additionally, this is effective because when clients receive a second reminder, after forgetting about the first reminder, they are significantly more likely to take another step, such as creating a calendar appointment event in their phone, setting an alarm, or adding an appointment to their to-do list.
There is a plethora of information that appointment reminders could contain, but not all of it is necessary for each patient. The opposite is also true: there are necessary pieces of information that may be overlooked. This is especially important because there is a 153 character limit per SMS message. Although you can send multiple messages for each reminder, we strongly discourage sending more than 2 messages or 306 characters. We recognize that this is not much, but it can be used to provide all of the critical information succinctly.
An effective appointment reminder text message needs to contain three main details:
1. The business or person who the client is going to see
2. Date/Time of the appointment
3. A call to action if the appointment needs to be rescheduled
These three pieces of information are critical to avoiding no-shows. Without letting a client know who their appointment is with, a client may easily forget the importance of the appointment or may not remember what the appointment is for at all since they may not recognize the phone number or email address that the appointment reminder is coming from. A client also needs to know the date and time of their appointment so that they can quickly check to see if they have any conflicts that would prevent them from making the appointment. Lastly, it’s important to tell your client how they can easily reschedule their appointment. Making this as quick and easy as possible will encourage them to notify you immediate if they can’t make the appointment any longer. With these three key pieces of information, no-shows are significantly reduced.
Depending on your business and appointment needs, you may want to include additional information, such as:
Some examples of optional information
1. Location and parking information
2. Paperwork to be completed before the appointment
Some businesses have multiple offices, so providing the address of the appointment may be necessary to ensure that a client goes to the right place. You may also want to remind people to bring some additional information and paperwork to your appointment. The trick is to keep the information concise so that people can quickly skim it and that it stays within the limited character count. Using common abbreviations helps.
This mistake may seem easy to correct, but like many things, finding a middle ground frequently yields the best results. While appointment reminders are not like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there is a comparison we can use. Too few appointment reminders frequently miss the client or are lost in the shuffle. However, too many appointment reminders may sour the client against your business. No client wants to be inundated with SMS reminders and/or email reminders leading up to their appointment. Not only can it be frustrating, but the client may feel that too many reminders is impersonal, implying that your business is treating them like every other client.
At Reminderly, we are happy to work with you to find the sweet spot of appointment reminders that are perfect for your clients. For some businesses and sectors, two reminders is perfect. An example might be a dentist office that provides two reminders for a biyearly dental cleaning. However, providing two reminders for a client who attends physical therapy three times a week may feel like overkill.
As easy as these mistakes are to make, they are just as easy to fix.
Every industry has a different need for client reminders. As addressed above, physical therapy or a tri-weekly office meeting do not need the same number and tone of appointment reminders. With the Goldilocks analogy, every business needs to find the message that is “just right.”
The first step to finding the sweet spot of appointment reminders is to take stock of the number of visits a client makes per week or year. An annual visit will likely yield the smallest number of no-shows with at least two reminders. This is an important distinction because many clients may forget about an annual appointment over the course of the year and need additional reminders. By sending one reminder a week out and one again the day before helps to ensure that you get plenty of notice if your clients need to cancel. For clients that attend personal training sessions at their gym or a daily or weekly office meeting do not need as many reminders because they occur with such frequency. The most simple answer is to know your client. But not everything is simple, which is why we at Reminderly are here for you. If you have any questions about the number or tone of appointment reminder messages, our customer service staff is fully prepared to help you.
Sending an SMS appointment reminder can be challenging for a number of reasons, but the main hurdle is to craft a message with appropriate tone, the crucial information, and within 160 characters. While you're at it, please pat your head and rub your stomach! Reminderly is here for you. We are experts in appointment reminders. While our blog posts and our software provide nuanced guidance for writing an appointment reminder, we are also here for you with our customer service team.
Let’s talk details: your reminder message should contain several key points of information to ensure that clients remember and are able to attend their appointments. You should include the date/time of the appointment, the phone number of the office, and with whom/where you are meeting. Certainly, it would be nice to provide a friendly greeting, or additional paperwork reminder, but it does not take much to reach your character limit so being succinct and including abbreviations helps.
When inputting client contact information, it is crucial to find out the client’s preferred method of communication. Text reminders, voice reminders, and/or email reminders vary wildly in efficacy depending on the client. A senior citizen may not be receptive to a text message reminder, while someone in college may not be receptive to a voice call reminder. However, your clients' preferences may not fit into these general rules, so when possible, asking your clients what method they prefer and sending them a reminder that way is most effective.
This list provides insight into common mistakes and easy solutions for the mistakes. What is important to take from this post is that communication and personalization is integral to meeting the needs of your client, and you don’t have to do the legwork alone. Reminderly specializes in sending appointment reminders, so we are well versed in different industries and the changing needs of clients. While you know your clients the best, we are happy to support this endeavor with the years of experience and success that we have accumulated. You know your clients and we know reminder messages.