It’s not only frustrating when a client doesn’t show for their appointment; it’s also expensive. Missed appointments lead to revenue losses, not to mention much time wasted (which also indirectly costs money). An effective way for service-based businesses to reduce no-shows is to use text message appointment reminders, as this post explains.
How text message appointment reminders help your business
Text reminders are generally more efficient and effective than phone call reminders. Phone calls can often go unanswered, and even if you leave a voicemail, it may not get listened to in time for the client to take note of their appointment confirmation. (One in ten people ignore voicemails.)
Additionally, texts have a significant impact. It’s widely known that they have a 98% open rate, which means you can be confident your SMS reminders will get seen. Compare this to other communication tools - like email, which only has around a 20-30% open rate - and the difference in effectiveness is crystal clear.
Furthermore, text message reminders are convenient. Clients can briefly acknowledge them and get on with their day without major interruption. And if they need to get back in touch with a business to rearrange an appointment, they can do so a little later if they’re in the middle of something.
Types of text message reminders
Text reminders are ideal for reducing missed appointments and no-shows across a range of industries.
In the healthcare industry, no-shows directly affect patient care and clinic productivity. SMS reminders are often used in these settings to remind patients about upcoming consultations and procedures. Read how, during a 2016 randomised controlled trial, text message reminders increased appointment attendance at a pediatric clinic.
The beauty and hairdressing sector is another that frequently deals with no-shows. This Hairdressing Journal International article explains that missed appointments cost salons an incredible £1.2 million every year.
Many salons now rely on automated text message reminders to avoid no-shows. In the same article, one salon owner said that their clients rely on those reminders too, and if there’s a blip, clients tend to get in touch to double-check their appointment.
Another salon owner said they send an automatic text to clients that don’t show for an appointment to check if everything is ok (sometimes followed with a courtesy call). This comes across as a softly-softly approach, yet it seems effective, with the owner saying that their no-shows have reduced dramatically over the years.
As well as appointment reminders, text messages can also be used for other business reminders too. Take a look at these examples:
Event reminders - can be used to remind delegates that they’re booked onto a face-to-face or virtual event, along with brief instructions on how to join.
Meeting reminders - used to remind employees about internal meetings or conference calls easily. These are particularly useful if the workforce is spread out across different offices or sites.
Accommodation booking or travel reminders - hotels, B&Bs, airlines and taxi services can use text message reminders to benefit guests and passengers.
Payment reminders - financial services providers can text customers to remind them about loan payment due dates. Other businesses can use payment reminders to chase outstanding invoices (or rent arrears in the case of estate agents).
Abandoned cart reminders - e-commerce businesses can text potential buyers to remind them to revisit their shopping cart and complete their purchase.
Delivery reminders - both e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers can remind customers what date and time their order is expected to be delivered, so they can plan to be home. This is ideal when special delivery packages are sent and need to be signed for at the delivery destination.
How to start using text message reminders
Before you can start sending text reminders, you’ll need to sign up for a bulk SMS messaging service. Messente is one such platform, and it can integrate with your existing business systems to allow you to set up automatic text appointment reminders and other text responses.
Once you’ve chosen an SMS provider, you can create the text message reminder campaign you need. Bear in mind that your reminder text should be brief and precise. A text message consists of only 160 characters (if you go over that amount, it counts as a second message and will cost you twice as much).
Follow our top text message reminder tips for success:
Short and sweet - capture the main facts that clients need to know; the venue, date and time of their appointment.
Include a URL - to allow the client to rearrange or cancel the appointment, you may want to link to your online booking portal or a relevant landing page within your message. Use a link shortener to save character space.
Personalise your text - using the recipient’s name can grab their attention and make your message even more effective.
Include a call-to-action (CTA) - tell the client what action you want them to take. For example, ‘call to cancel’ or ‘click to rebook’.
Text reminder templates to help you get started quickly
Now that you know the merits of appointment reminder text messages and what you should include when you create one, check out these templates which you can copy and paste into your campaign.
Healthcare appointment reminder
Hi [First Name]. This is a reminder for your appointment with [Doctor] at [Time] on [Date]. Need to cancel? Call asap on [Number].
Dentist appointment reminder
Hi [First Name]. Your appointment with [Dentist] is at [Time] on [Date]. To cancel or rearrange, click here: [URL] Cancellation/no-show fees apply.
Beauty salon appointment reminder
Hey [First Name]! We’re looking forward to seeing you for your [Treatment] at [Time] on [Date]. Not convenient? Rearrange or cancel online: [URL]
Car servicing appointment reminder
[Company name] here. Your car is booked in for a service on [Date] at [Time]. Come 10 mins early to drop off keys. Have questions [First Name]? Call [Number].
Sales call appointment reminder
Hi [First Name]. A quick reminder that I’ll be calling you on [Date] at [Time] to discuss your [Insurance] needs. Need to rearrange? Rebook here: [URL]
Veterinary appointment reminder
Hello [First Name]. Remember [Pet Name] is booked in for [Treatment] on [Date] at [Time]. We look forward to seeing you both then. Call [Number] to cancel.
Start sending text message reminders with Messente
Messente can be used for sending appointment reminders in two ways. You can either import your client list to Messente’s online app and manually send or schedule reminders as and when you need them.
Or, you can integrate Messente into your CRM system (or other business software, such as Google Calendar) and configure text message reminders to be sent automatically by our SMS platform. The latter option is ideal for businesses with lots of clients and appointments to manage on a calendar app.
Why not try out Messente for yourself today? It’s free to create an account. Sign up here.