Appointment Reminders

With First Choice SMS, you have the ability to schedule and send appointment reminders to your customers ensuring they won’t forget about an appointment they made. Search for your contacts then easily schedule an SMS to go out to them at a specific date and time. A great way for companies to reduce no-shows because their clients forgot about an appointment, which saves valuable time and money. Works great in the medical field for doctors and dentists, and even for salons/spas and restaurants for reservations you have.

Here Are Some of the Appointment Reminder Features

Appointment Settings – You can setup confirm, cancel, and reschedule settings which will determine what to do when the contact texts in your respective keywords. You can create a keyword for each status, a custom auto-reply message which will text back the contact when that keyword is texted in, and a custom email to be sent to whatever address you entered when the contact texts in the confirm, cancel, or reschedule keyword.
This might be an office manager or appointment setter who needs to be notified of the confirmation or cancellation. You can also set a custom appointment color for each status which will set the appointment calendar color and status background color when the contact texts in the confirm, cancel, or reschedule keyword.

Appointment List – A list view of all appointments created in the system. You can create appointments here or in the appointment calendar. Directly from this list, you can schedule appointment reminders which will pre-select the contact while also populating the message field with a default appointment reminder message containing the appointment date/time for that contact and your confirm/cancel/reschedule keywords. Once you have the appointment reminder scheduled, it will then display on the scheduled SMS calendar where you can view all your scheduled SMS.

Appointment Calendar – View all appointments for all contacts in a nice calendar view, much like the current scheduled SMS calendar. Each appointment will display in a different color depending on its status and the color you selected for each status in the appointment settings. However, it’s not just a view only calendar. You can also schedule appointments directly from it by simply clicking on a date and creating a new appointment.

How to Use Appointment Reminders

Watch Your Timing

When it comes to the timing of sending out appointment reminders, there are three things you need to consider. First, there’s the day that you send out the reminder. For appointments like a doctor/dentist visit or for services like a massage, salt cave or haircut, send it out the day before. If the reminder is for a dinner reservation, then sending it the same day makes sense, but at least two hours before the meal time.

Next, be careful of what time of day you send the text! There is nothing worse than waking someone up with an appointment reminder. Unlike email, many people do not turn off their texts, or set them to only notify from a specific list during the “sleep” hours. Its best to wait to at least 9 AM.

Finally, keep track of how many reminders you send. You don’t want to overload customers with too many texts, as this may cause them to simply opt-out of receiving any future message. Initially, only send out one message per appointment, and then monitor the confirmation rate. If your customers are still not showing up at the rate you have hoped for, then consider sending out a second text message.

Use Your Customers’ Names

For a more personal touch, use your customer’s first name on each text. Start off with ‘Hi [Name]’ to get them to read your message. Do not make it looks like your message are simply being auto-generated to the masses.

Keep Your Message Short and Informative

There is no need to be too wordy or conversational with your appointment reminders. Keep them under 160 characters. Include your key points, including your customer’s name, the date and time of the appointment, along with the location. You can also ask them to respond with a “Y” or “N” as a confirmation.

You can also include any specific instructions or details, such as any dietary restrictions prior to any medical appointment, type of clothes to wear, etc. If needed, you can include a link to a page on your site that provides any detailed information that may be needed. One of the services that First Choice SMS offers to our customers is that we will provide you with proven example templates to use when you are setting up appointment reminders in our platform.

Don’t Violate the Rules Regarding SMS Messages

Before you send out any appointment reminders, make sure that your customer has opted in to receive text messages. There are no exclusions for appointment reminders. This consent can be as simple as a form check box on any registration form you have on your website, or by using our opt-in widget to ask them if they wish to receive appointment reminders.

Also be sure to include the appropriate opt-out language at the end of your message.