physician working on appointment reminder software

Your appointment reminder app should integrate with your scheduling software

Why data integrations are important

Sending daily appointment reminders is critical to ensuring that your customers come to their appointments. These client and patient reminders should be straightforward to implement. Regardless of the integration option you choose, the process should take your staff less than 3 minutes per day (if that much). Picking software that offers you the right integration choice will ensure that the process is fast and painless for your staff.


Types of data integrations

Fully automated

Fully automated integrations don't require additional daily steps for you and your staff. The appointment reminder system can directly integrate with your existing calendar or scheduling software and get all of the needed information for the reminder messages in real-time. If your clients reschedule, the reminder app will automatically be updated by your appointment scheduling software.


Pros of fully automated integrations:

  • Requires zero effort on a daily basis. Once set up, it just runs and works in the background.

Cons of fully automated integrations:

  • Some scheduling systems can't connect with 3rd party software. Some scheduling software intentionally limits their ability to integrate with 3rd parties.
  • The fully integrated software solutions are costly. If the number of fully integrated software companies is limited, these companies may charge a very high price.
  • Limited customization. For some fully automated integrations, the appointment reminder system may limit what the messages can say and include. These limitations may be too restrictive for your business.


Semi-automated

Semi-automated integrations usually involve uploading a file, such as an Excel or CSV file, to the appointment reminder system. Depending on how often your schedule changes, you may want to upload a new schedule daily or weekly.


Some appointment reminder systems make this extremely easy on your staff, while others are very time-consuming. Your team should be spending less than 3 minutes every time they upload a file. If it is less than 3 minutes a day, your appointment reminder system can deliver all of the reminders in the time it would take your staff member to make one phone call or send one SMS message.  


To ensure that this process is quick, you should make sure that your automated appointment reminder system:

  1. Doesn't require your staff to update the scheduling file. Your scheduling software will create a report of the upcoming appointments. This report should include the date and time of the appointment and the patient phone number. However, your scheduling software may put this information in different columns. Avoid appointment reminder apps that require your staff always to have the name in the first column, the phone number in the second column, etc. Instead, your appointment reminder software should be able to handle whatever file your scheduling software creates. This will save your staff tons of time every day.
  2. Doesn't require your staff to "map the columns" every day. Most software will require you to identify which columns contain the date, time, and phone number. Although this is necessary for every software you use, some software will remember your choices, and others will make you reenter this information every time you upload a file. To save your staff time and headaches, pick a solution that will remember how your schedule file is formatted.

The key to semi-automated systems is that they should be extremely quick and easy to use and fit in your daily workflows. The purpose is to have the app send your SMS messages and phone calls with minimal effort.  If you and your staff have to put too much effort into it, it won’t get done — this will lead to many more no-shows.

Major calendar Providers

Fully automated integrations

Google Calendar

One of the most common calendar providers is Google Calendar. Many software companies have fully automated integrations with Google Calendars. Any solution you choose should allow you to send texts, voice calls, or emails based on your Google Calendar appointments. Reminderly has one of the only Browser Extensions which enables you to choose text messages, voice calls, or email for each client. You can also use Reminderly without any extension at all.  


Office 365 and Outlook 365

Another popular calendar software is Outlook 365. Most providers will also provide fully automated integration with Outlook. However, Reminderly has the only Microsoft-approved Outlook add-in. This add-in works on all of your devices. It allows you to choose text reminders, voice call reminders, or email reminders. It also allows you to use multiple languages. Reminderly currently supports English, Spanish, French, German, Nepali, Russian, Somali, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Burmese.


Other calendar systems

Most other calendar programs support the "CalDav" standard. CalDav allows your calendar program to automatically share your event details with different calendars and 3rd party software. Reminderly supports this standard, making it easy to integrate with other calendar programs.


Google Sheets

Many companies keep track of their schedule in a spreadsheet. The most common spreadsheet programs are Excel and Google Sheets. The main difference is that Google Sheets is cloud-based, so your file is always connected to the internet, while Excel stores your files on your computer. Unlike other appointment reminder programs, Reminderly can connect directly to your Google Sheets, offering a fully automated spreadsheet solution. Using Google Sheets is the only fully automated spreadsheet solution. It is convenient for those who use spreadsheets but don't want to upload a file daily.


Calendly

Calendly is the most popular scheduling software. It allows your clients to sign up for appointments with you. Many of our competitors created Calendly knockoffs as part of their offering. We thought about doing that at Reminderly, but we realized that Calendly's free option is better than what our competitors have created. So instead of building our own, we decided to integrate with Calendly. You get the best scheduling features combined with Reminderly's best reminders. To be completely transparent, Calendly offers automated reminders, but our clients have found that they are too limited, so they come to us instead. You can easily integrate Reminderly with Calendly to send completely customized SMS and voice reminders.  Our clients have found that customizing their reminders has significantly decreased their no-show rate.


Zapier

Zapier allows you to integrate over 3,000 apps. The chances are that Zapier has built integrations with many of your favorite apps. If your scheduling software or CRM connects to Zapier, then you can use Reminderly to send out appointment reminders from your schedule. Set up your "Zaps" (Zapier's name for its integrations), connect Reminderly, and your reminders will automatically send.


API integrations

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a way for two programs to talk directly to each other. Some scheduling software has this functionality built-in. Or, if your company has built a custom scheduling software, it may also have an API. At Reminderly, we created an API that allows other programs to connect to us and send us your schedule. We can also develop custom integrations into your scheduling software if it has an API. If you need access to our API or you need us to build a custom integration to your API, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at https://www.reminderly.com/contact-us


Semi-automated integrations

Excel

Most modern scheduling software can generate reports that include the date and time of the appointment and the clients' phone numbers. Upload this file to your appointment reminder service, and it should send out the reminders for you. At Reminderly, we have worked hard to make this semi-automated integration easy and quick for our clients. Using Excel is often the only option for many companies because of the limitations of their scheduling software.


Summary

Whether you’re in healthcare or construction or retail or any other business, appointment reminders and automated follow-ups are critical for reducing your no-show rate.  You need the ability to send SMS messages, voice calls, and emails with ease. To simplify the process, make sure that your reminder app can automate the process of sending reminder notifications and confirmations.  Fully automated integrations can connect to your scheduling software in real-time, while semi-automated solutions require some minimal effort on an ongoing basis.

Get started today

Begin your 14 day trial and access all of Reminderly’s products.
Start your free trial