Client is happy because they received an automated reminder phone call

How Reminder Phone Calls Can Reduce Your No Shows

A wide variety of businesses use reminder phone calls to keep their clients aware of upcoming appointments and scheduled meetings. As consumers and patients ourselves, we’ve all gotten phone calls like this from time to time, from medical practices and hair salons checking to make sure we’re still available. Much of the time, we appreciate these messages, even if they end up in our voicemail, as they keep us aware of things we might have otherwise forgotten.

But more often than not, we haven’t gotten calls like this from businesses and medical practices where we’re scheduled for an upcoming appointment. We’ve simply been expected to remember our appointments and show up at the right time. Sometimes, it works. Other times, we forget.

Often, businesses don’t call clients to remind them of upcoming appointments because they believe reminder phone calls will take up too much of their time. But these reminder phone calls are different now from how they used to be. In the past, many businesses and healthcare practices relied on administrative assistants and other front-end staff to make hundreds of phone calls, draining precious time and resources that could have been spent elsewhere.

There’s no need for this anymore. Today, convenient appointment reminder software can make reminding clients or patients incredibly simple. These services automate phone call reminders and integrate them into a business’s existing workflows, all without disrupting any staffer’s busy day. Here’s why automated reminder calls can be a game changer for your business.

The proven effectiveness of appointment reminder calls

No shows can majorly reduce a business’s revenue, especially when a missed appointment causes a business to lose out on the patronage of a potentially important client. In healthcare, studies have shown that these no shows have caused the industry to lose approximately $150 billion a year. But, of course, plenty of industries beyond healthcare rely on appointment scheduling to meet with clients. It’s likely the amount of actual missed revenue on account of no shows across industries is much higher. It’s worth noting, too, that one missed appointment can be worth more than the fees lost from the potential visit – a missed appointment can be a missed opportunity to connect with a client, who could have been considering recurring visits or services.

Automated reminder calls can significantly reduce the chances that this happens. According to the American Journal of Medicine, the no-show rate for patients dropped by half when the patients received automated reminder calls. Appointment reminders not only keep clients abreast of upcoming things on their schedule; they also increase their sense of connection with the business their planning on visiting, fortifying the client-business relationship and keeping your business top of mind.

How call reminders work

A variety of businesses can employ automated appointment reminders to boost their clients’ show rates. The ways these call reminders work can be customized to an individual business’s needs. But all of these ways have one thing in common: They’re remarkably easy to implement.

An appointment reminder service today will feature a variety of integrations. That means it can be synced with a business’s existing software of choice, whether that’s Google Calendar, iCal, Microsoft Outlook or something else entirely.

After the desired customizations are selected, call reminders will be automated. That means a business’s workers won’t need to think about making phone calls at all, or even scheduling times for them to go out. Previously, making individual calls placed a large burden on these professionals, who spent a significant portion of their workday placing phone calls one by one. Now, the appointment reminder service can automate these calls using the firm’s existing call list, meaning the phone calls will go out automatically. That saves major time for busy employees, who can then focus their attention elsewhere.

These phone calls, then, meet clients where they are. When a client is away from their phone, the automated reminder will leave a message on their answering machine, or a voicemail on their cell. Ultimately, whether or not a client picks up the phone at the time of the call is irrelevant, because seeing a notification for a voicemail alone does what’s most important: reminding the client of their upcoming appointment.

Utilizing call scripts

At this point, a business owner or manager of a healthcare practice might have a logical question: When these phone calls go out, what do they say? The answer to that depends on who sets them up.

Appointment reminder systems offer call scripts that are highly effective and easy to use. These call scripts are written to get the important information across as quickly as possible, and are easy templates for users to plug key details into. In fact, office managers don’t need to plug in appointment times or contact details for each one; rather, the template automatically finds that information thanks to the appointment reminder system’s integration into the company’s existing scheduling software.

Of course, call scripts are highly customizable. Medical practices often like to include information about steps to prepare for certain procedures. An eye doctor might note that a patient ought to bring their glasses or contact lenses. Fitness centers might like to share details about what to wear or bring to a coaching session. No matter what the call script says, it can be set so that managers don’t have to change it every time.

Phone calls or text messages: which is better?

When it comes to automated appointment reminders, many patients prefer a call. This is particularly true of patients who feel less technologically savvy, or prefer using a home phone, which might not have texting capabilities. While some people like text messages and email reminders, certain clients may prefer hearing a voice on the phone, or receiving calls at a landline.

The good news is, a study published in BMC Health Services Research found that the rate of missed healthcare appointments for patients who received phone call reminders versus patients who were reminded via sms was roughly the same. That means healthcare providers and other businesses can choose their reminder strategy for clients based on what best fits their needs, and not worry about the effectiveness of the type of reminder.

Automated appointment reminders are flexible in terms of the format they take. They can be set to perform phone calls, but also text messages or emails, and the format is not set; it can changed based on client preferences. This ensures that every patient or client is being reached in the way that is best for them, thus reducing the chances of pesky no-shows.

How to test call reminders out

It’s very easy to get started with an appointment reminder service. Reminderly offers a convenient 14-day free trial for business professionals looking to try this out for themselves. If you have any further questions, you can reach out to us and we’ll get back to you with answers shortly.

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