Receptionist checking in patient because appointment reminder worked

The One Thing Your Appointment Reminder App Needs to Do

For healthcare offices and other appointment-based businesses, appointment reminder apps are a lifesaver. Not only do they save time and money by reducing no-shows, they also automate tasks that cause hassle and confusion to both staff and clientele. The result is happier people and a thriving business.

But not all automatic appointment reminder apps are built equally. When assessing which reminder app will be a good fit for your office, here’s the one thing you need to make sure it does:

Deliver reliable, timely, relevant, and actionable messages based on your client's preferences.

In this post, we’ll go through each of these aspects to unpack exactly how high-quality appointment reminder software should work to serve your business.


Notifications for upcoming appointments—via text reminders, email reminders, and/or phone calls—can reduce your no-show rate by 90% or more. Most patients will send their confirmations (and thereby avoid forgotten appointments). A smaller number will send cancellations (which can be filled by others). The responses to these client reminders should immediately sent to you so that you can quickly fill these cancelled appointments.

But it only works as well as the underlying reminder service: if the reminders don’t come, the process breaks down. So, when it comes to appointment reminders, reliability is the foundation.

Here at Reminderly, we work hard—24/7, 365 days a year—to make sure your messages are delivered as they’re supposed to be. For instance, we work with telecom providers to make sure that our messages are getting delivered even when networks are under stress due to high volume. And we’re constantly improving our system to adapt to new circumstances and demands.

Whether your client sees your reminder on their iphone or android, on outlook or another email program, or receives a phone call, your message will come through seamlessly and will look or sound exactly as it should.

You’d think that reliability would be the top priority for all reminder services, but apparently that’s not the case. We regularly have clients come to us because their own patients or customers were complaining that they weren't getting reminder messages, or were getting them at the wrong times or with the wrong content.

For automated appointment reminders, you want to set ‘em and forget ‘em. And that’s exactly what Reminderly allows you to do.


The importance of timeliness for appointment reminders becomes clear when we consider two of the main reasons why people miss appointments:

  1. They forget, or have the wrong date or time in mind
  2. They face an unexpected challenge, like a work issue or a transportation hiccup

With Reminderly, you have the ability to customize the timing of your reminder messages so as to catch these common scenarios. Let’s take an example—a standard dental cleaning appointment. When people book appointments weeks or months in advance, there's the possibility that they won't be able to keep the appointment due to unforeseen circumstances.

A good appointment reminder app will automated the process for you and ensure that you have enough notice from your patients to fill cancelled appointments. Here’s how a custom set of sms messages or email reminders might work in this case:

  • 5 days in advance: a message is sent that includes the name of the dental office and the date and time of cleaning, and asks the patient for a simple confirmation or cancellation. Because most people don't look at their calendar five days in advance, they usually won't realize that they may have a conflict with their dental cleaning. A simple reminder nudges patients to look at their calendar a few days early to make sure that they can still make their cleaning. If they need to cancel and reschedule, they have the immediate ability to do so and they will give you enough notice to fill the appointment with another patient.
  • 1 day in advance: a quick follow up text repeating the pertinent information. If the patient has had an important work meeting scheduled or their child has become sick, this reminder gives them the chance to cancel while there’s still time to refill the appointment. Often times patients will double book and think, "oh I'll cancel this later." Inevitably many forget (myself included), so this reminder is the nudge they need to notify you now.
  • A few hours prior to appointment: a last reminder is sent repeating the pertinent information. This last reminder can also include your address, parking, and payment information.


In surveys, over 85% of people respond that they want appointment reminders. So, using an appointment reminder app means offering your patients or clients something they already want.

That said, we’re all inundated with communication these days, so it’s extremely important that your reminders be relevant to the person receiving them.

That means one thing above all: customization.

With Reminderly, you have the ability to completely customize the text of the messages you’re sending so that your clients can quickly digest the information they need. This doesn’t mean writing each message from scratch but rather having a carefully curated set of templates that you can use for different customer types and tweak as needed. A well-customized message means your patients need less time to confirm their appointment, or cancel and reschedule it, leading to a sense of ease in the process.

Different age groups have different preferences regarding reminder messages. For instance, more than 90% of adults in the 18 to 49 age range use text messages. And overall, 67% of people say they would prefer to exchange text messages with a business than to do phone calls. That said, only about two-thirds of those in the 50 to 64 age range text, and that number is less than 50% for those in the 65 and up category.

Effective customization can take these age group differences into account, leaning toward text message reminders for those 50 and under, and toward email reminders and/or phone calls for those 50 and older.

Reminderly also allows you to customize content based on the type of appointment. A new healthcare patient or wellness client, for instance, likely needs to get a different message than a returning one. The new patient can receive a custom reminder that includes links to any needed paperwork, prompts to bring their insurance card, information about where to park, and so forth, while the returning one can receive a simpler set of messages.

Actionable (aka two-way communication)

When it comes to functionality in an appointment reminder app, the key element is that your patients or clients are able to take effective action. You need them to be able to send confirmations or cancellations, to reschedule when needed, as well as to be able to ask questions.

Whether you run a small business or a larger one, it’s critically important that your clientele can get its questions answered. Indeed, one survey found that 75% of people feel frustrated when they receive text messages from a business and can’t text back.

Reminderly’s two-way communication allows your patients or customers to send updates or ask questions in real-time. And our software aggregates these communications for you in our customer portal and it also sends you emails when new messages come in. This makes it extremely easy for your staff to see the messages and respond.

And our system goes beyond reminders, too. You can use Reminderly to alert your customers to important updates such as special events, discounts and sales, staff changes, location changes, and more. And we’re always open to customizing our service to best fit your business’s needs.

Free trial

If you think that an appointment reminder app might be right for your business, or that your current reminder service could be better, try Reminderly’s free 14-day trial. No credit card is required at sign up, and we are sure you’ll be pleased with the results!

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