As we move, slowly but surely, to a post-pandemic world, it is more evident than ever that there is an immense amount of jobs and companies that can operate fully remote. E-commerce businesses, digital agencies, managerial sectors, and others.
As contradicting as it may sound, however, it was amidst the same global condition that it became evident that many companies simply can’t go remote. Healthcare practices, beauty salons, dental clinics, barbershops, and similar. For these service-based businesses, delivery can only happen if the customer is present and this is where the biggest trouble lies: no-shows. A reminder text message is a great way to counter that.
In today’s article we are going to see:
- The reason why people don’t show up to their appointments;
- The best way to reduce no-show rates;
- How to send SMS appointment reminders;
- How to schedule SMS appointment reminders.
- Appointment reminder templates;
Let’s get it started:
Why do people miss their appointments
There are many reasons why people make an appointment and don’t make it to it, resulting in a no-show. The best studies in the field are from a healthcare perspective.
One such study showed that the most common reason why patients missed their appointments was simply that they forgot or had no appointment reminder available:
|Reason for a missed appointment||Number of clients||Percentage of clients|
|Forgot/Did not know/No reminder call||82||37.6%|
|Problem with transaction||15||6.9%|
|Too sick to come||12||5.5%|
|Problem with insurance||11||5.0%|
|Not satisfied/negative emotions regarding practice||9||4.1%|
|Used another service provider||8||3.7%|
|Thought the appointment was not essential||6||2.8%|
Even though this is medical-oriented research, it is very plausible that the results can be extrapolated to other appointment-based service businesses.
With that said, a whopping 37% of all no-shows could be mitigated with a simple reminder.
It is also not a far-fetched assumption that clients from other no-show reasons would come had they received a reminder: maybe a “transportation problem” could have been solved beforehand had the client had the time to find a way around it.
Fine. But how to actually get that message across? How to send effective appointment reminders to your clients?
SMS is the best way to send appointment reminders
When it comes to reducing your no-show rates and guaranteeing your clients come to their procedure/service, the best tool is SMS.
As we discussed previously in our SMS marketing for beginners’ guide, a text message is the best resource to get a straightforward message to a directed customer about a direct topic.
SMS has enormous open rates
SMS has a colossal open rate of 98%. For reference, emails have open rates that average 20% across multiple industries.
Thus, a client will most definitely see your SMS appointment reminder and interact with it, whether to confirm, cancel or make changes to the appointment.
SMS are private
Not everyone is keen to state in an open office space or public transport that “yes, you can confirm my very intimate private procedure for tomorrow”.
As much as calling your customers sounds professional, people simply dislike receiving phone calls, especially from unknown numbers.
A recent study from Pew Research found that only 19% of adult Americans answer incoming calls from unknown numbers. In this case, it is not even a matter of availability to answer the call, it is simply ignoring it altogether.
Sending SMS appointment reminders not only supports your clients’ need for privacy but also creates a more considerate and delicate atmosphere.
SMS can be saved for further reference
Another major plus that SMS has in contrast with regular phone calls when it comes to appointment reminders is being able to save for further reference. Who carries a pen and paper to write down unexpected appointment reminder calls?
SMS are also easily accessed on a mobile phone, meaning the chances that it will get lost in other social media notifications, for example, is low.
How to send SMS appointment reminders
Firstly, the one way you should not send text message appointment reminders is with your phone. A mobile phone is a great way to receive text messages and send a few others to friends, but it is a dreadful one to manage conversations with larger audiences and groups of people.
The best way to send SMS appointment reminders is with a dedicated text messaging service for businesses, like Appointible. With Appointible it is easy to set up a free account and send your first SMS appointment reminder.
Inside Appointible, you can register your client’s contact details and send out the first text appointment reminder.
How to schedule SMS appointment reminders
Another major benefit of using a professional text messaging tool, like Appointible, to send text appointment reminders, is the possibility to schedule your SMS to be sent at a specific time.
This way, you don’t have to access the platform every time you wish to send a reminder and can even create a work routine in which, for example, once a week you insert all the SMS appointment reminders to be sent out for the next few days.
Two-way messaging with your client
Because of the chat-prone nature of SMS, clients will likely reply to your text message. And whether they are scheduled or not, you can always maintain two-way messaging with your clients and receive all of them in your inbox at Appointible.
Let’s say, for instance, you sent an appointment reminder with an address and time, but the client wished to know what are the parking possibilities around your area. By replying to your SMS, you will get a notification and will be able to manage a two-way conversation with the client through text.
In case you wish to go one step further in your SMS reminder strategy, you could ask your customer to confirm their presence for the upcoming appointment with another text message.
Appointible provides this functionality. Take a look at the example below: